Akureyri – the capital of the North and Iceland’s largest town outside the capital area. Akureyri has a wonderful mixture of culture, adventure and nature. The 18.600 inhabitants enjoy their thermal swimming pool, university and selection of good restaurants. Akureyri has a river running through it called Glerá, along which there are lovely walking trails.
The renowned botanical gardens are ensconced in the town, providing a space of tranquillity and beauty. The visually-interesting Hof Cultural and Conference Centre on the waterfront plays a vital role in cultural events in town. The Art Museum and Art Alley indicate the strong art culture of Akureyri. A new wonderful walking path stretches along the shoreline from the Cultural house all the way to the Akureyri airport.
There are a number of museums in town, which are all as interesting as the other, such as the Art Museum, Aviation Museum and Memorial Museum, to name a few. Akureyri is the perfect base for trips and tours in the area, being a short distance away from the main attractions, which has contributed to it becoming the cruise destination capital of the north. There are two main shopping areas in Akureyri: Hafnarstræti, which is a pedestrian-friendly shopping street filled with quaint coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques and Glerártorg, a shopping centre 1,5km from downtown with 34 shops. It is the only shopping centre of its kind outside of Reykjavík area.
The main feature of the town centre is the Akureyri church with its two towers and daunting steps rising above the town. The view from the church makes the climb worthwhile. The high mountains around Akureyri provide excellent ski slopes, making it the skiing capital of Iceland.
Being a seaside town, activities in Akureyri include whale watching, diving and fishing. However, other activities such as horse riding, hiking, skating and bowling are also possible in Akureyri. The 18-hole golf course is the most northerly and hosts the Arctic Open.
The layout is varied, interesting and challenging and many a game of midnight golf is enjoyed here during the summer. Deep into Eyjafjörður lies Hrafnagil, home of the Eyjafjörður Christmas Garden, open all year round and host to the well-known Arctic Handcraft and Design Festival in August.
The beautiful and peaceful island of Hrísey, within 30 minutes drive and 15 minutes sailing from Árskógssandur, is a part of the municipality of Akureyri, and so is the island Grímsey, which has the Arctic Circle running right through it. A new artwork, Orbis et Globus, was placed on the Arctic Circle in 2017 and draws attention from journalists, art lovers and tourists from all around the world.