Iceland is one of the hottest travel destinations right now, but while most people head straight to Reykjavik, there’s an entire nation waiting to be discovered. Akureyri is the largest city outside the capital, and it’s a whopper of a travel destination. It’s a laid-back and welcoming city that places an emphasis on the natural wonders that make this nation such a draw. If you’re ready to enjoy the natural splendor of Iceland without distraction, you’ve come to the right place.
Akureyri
EDITION 43 | 5:13 read time
Akureyri | @pergidulu
Iceland is one of the hottest travel destinations right now, but while most people head straight to Reykjavik, there’s an entire nation waiting to be discovered. Akureyri is the largest city outside the capital, and it’s a whopper of a travel destination. It’s a laid-back and welcoming city that places an emphasis on the natural wonders that make this nation such a draw. If you’re ready to enjoy the natural splendor of Iceland without distraction, you’ve come to the right place.
Akureyri, Iceland
N 65.68° / W 18.10°
Map of Akureyri
Repeat After Me
Akureyri = Accu-ray-ri
(Icelandic is a confusing language, so for a clearer understanding of how to pronounce popular places, watch this.)
When to go
@flohoferpicture
March-September
Akureyri has a typical Arctic climate. Read: long dark winters and short bright summers. Both seasons have a lot going for them. Winter = great skiing and a stronger chance of seeing the Northern Lights, though at the cost of occasional snow storms. Summer = more opportunity to explore the outdoors during near 24 hours of sunlight. We recommend heading over between March to September. If you visit in the fringe months you might catch the Aurora Borealis.
Discoveries
Goðafoss  | @hisnameisflorian
Where Do We Start?
If you don’t know about Iceland’s incredible natural terrain, you must be living under a rock. The country is home to some of the finest outdoor adventures in the world. From hiking up Mt Súlur, to kayaking through the Eyjafjörður fjord, and breathing in the mist of the thundering Goðafoss waterfall, prepare to be amazed everywhere you go. One of the top activities in the region is hopping on a boat and whale watching. Get up close and personal with the gentle giants of the deep. The stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains and the fjord aren’t so bad either.
Myvatn Nature Baths  | @asasteinars
Peace and Tranquility
All that outdoor activity got your body aching? Schedule in a little “me” time at one of Akureyri’s spas or hot springs. Akureyri has a fantastic outdoor geothermal swimming pool that’s one of the most popular places in the city. Then, if you head out of the city towards Lake Mývatn, check out the Nature Baths. Far less crowded than the famous Blue Lagoon, these geothermal springs are perfect for unwinding for a couple of hours. And if that’s too tame, you can also try Bjorbodin, a beer spa outside the city where you can immerse yourself in a fine Icelandic lager and watch your stress slip away.
#akureyri  | @jhillfelt
Just Around the Corner
Despite being the second-largest city in Iceland, Akureyri is only home to around 18,000 people. But that small town charm is what makes it a wonderful place to explore. Visit Akureyrarkirkja church, a smaller take on the famous landmark in Reykjavik, and catch a local event at the Hof Cultural Center. The Lystigarður Akureyri Botanical Garden is also worth a visit, with Arctic flora you can’t find anywhere else.
#northernlights  | @einargudmann
Keep Looking Up
Akureyri is one of the best places in Iceland to see the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights. If you’re in the area from September to April and the weather is clear, you’re in for a show. Grab some blankets and hot cocoa, and drive out past the city lights to find a prime spot to view the heavens.
"When we arrived at night, the first thing we did was go to a nearby spot to search for the Northern Lights. We headed north on Route 1 and parked here. We got to see the amazing lights dance in several colors! We were there from 7:30 pm to 9pm. It's best to get a bit away from the town lights to have a better view... Also the My Aurora Forecast app helped us track the lights!" -@mayalas
Ekaterina's Discovery
@lopanchik
"The city center reminded us of Christmas with the warm lights between the houses. It was lovely to walk around the center and watch people rushing home through the snow. In the morning, we visited the church on the top of the hill, from which you can see the mountains and the city in general. I would recommend visiting the church on a Sunday service accompanied by an old organ. All in all, Iceland is the best place to visit if you want to see every season of the year."
instagram Follow Ekaterina
Eat This
@grassowhat
I Scream for Iceland
Akureyri offers a wide variety of delicious food options, from fine dining to good old fish and chips. Strikið and Rub23 top the list for nicer dinner options, both offering delicious dishes for a fancy night. Wherever your taste buds take you, follow up your meal with a cone from Brynja, a lip-smacking ice cream shop. No matter how cold it gets outside, you can’t go wrong with a scoop of this sweet treat.
Stay Here
Sunnuhlíd Cottage  | @ryanlhp
Tiny House, Big View
While there are hotels and hostels (Akureyri Backpackers is one particular favorite) we really recommend checking out Airbnb. Many of these gorgeous rentals are outside the city, perfectly positioned under the starry sky. Enjoy the peace and quiet in one of the three tiny houses at Sunnuhlíð farm or an apartment in this spectacular villa. The modern architecture in the quiet natural landscape will give you the perfect Iceland experience.
guide me
Akureyri | @fieldinghorizons
Sun Icon Eyes Open
Pay attention to details. Every stop light is special, the red light is a heart and the green light is a smiley face. Iceland is so small, but has so much depth. -@shelbypine
Bus Icon Park It
If you park in Akureyri you need to display a 'clock card' in your windshield. Parking is free but limited. When you park in one of these locations, you need to set the clock card to the current time and return before the time limit for the zone has expired. Clock cards are available for free in banks, shops & petrol stations. - @siddharthandshruti
Friend Icon Watch the Skies
Renting a car in Iceland is essential to be able to explore and enjoy all the sights. Always check the road conditions before heading out of town. The weather can change drastically within few minutes, so always be aware of the weather forecast. - @selma.kjartans
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