Akureyri is known as the capital city of the north, and as one of the biggest cities in the country, Akureyri attractions do not disappoint. You will find plenty of things to do in Akureyri, so we highly recommend that you spend at least a couple of days in the city to soak up everything it has to offer.
In this article, we will dive into Akureyri’s top attractions and give you a few ideas as to what you can add to your trip itinerary. So, without further ado, let’s dive into some of the best Akureyri tourist attractions.
Best Things to Do in Akureyri in Iceland During the Summertime
Many visit Akureyri during the summer months, since the northern parts of the country get hit by the worst of the winter weather. Just remember that summer is considered the peak season here on the island, so you’ll need to book your spot well in advance when it comes to guided tours. Here are some of the best things to do in Akureyri in Iceland during the summertime:
Explore the Area on Icelandic Horses
Okay, so technically this is one of the best things to do near Akureyri. If you don’t already know, the island boasts its own breed of horse called the Icelandic Horse, and they are fascinating creatures.
They look more like ponies than full-grown horses and have an incredibly friendly nature. Going on one of the Akureyri horse riding tours means that you can get up close and personal with these magnificent animals whilst taking in the breathtaking landscape. Some tours even add a dip in one of the local hot springs or a meal made from fresh local produce.
Go to Kjarnaskogur Forest
This is one of the most interesting places to visit in Akureyri. The forest is located just south of the city and is an absolute favorite amongst both visitors and locals. Here you will find biking and hiking trails, you can enjoy a picnic, or have the kids run around and play on one of the playgrounds.
With everything there is to do inside the 800-hectare forest, it’s hard to believe that there wasn’t even a single tree in the area before the 1950s. https://www.northiceland.is/en/place/kjarnaskogur-woods Kjarnaskogur Forest is part of Iceland’s attempt to reverse the island’s severe deforestation.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
During the warmer months, there’s nothing better than to take a stroll around the Akureyri Botanical Gardens. The park that was established in 1912 now boasts over 7000 plant species! The park is open from pretty early till late (09:00-22:00) and won’t cost you a cent to visit. If you get a little hungry, you can stop by Café Bjork and grab yourself something to snack on.
Experience History at the Laufas Turf Houses
This is yet another must-visit spot that can be found just a few kilometers outside the city borders. Here, you can experience first-hand what locals used to live like. These Turf Houses, built in 1865, are incredibly well-preserved and a fun way to dive into the history of the area.
Go on a Whale Watching Tour
Akureyri is one of our popular whale watching places here on the island. Eyjafjordur has plenty of food for these giants of the ocean, so it’s no surprise that one can spot many of our local species such as Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, and even Blue Whales here.
Best Things to Do in Akureyri in Iceland During the Wintertime
Although some are scared off by the cold and harsh winter conditions, others flock to experience the winter wonderland and all the unique things it allows one to see and do in Akureyri. Here are a few things to do in Akureyri in Iceland during the wintertime:
Take on the Ski Slopes of Hildarfjall
Hildarfjall is a ski resort that caters to all, irrelevant of age or experience. This resort boasts such a thick blanket of snow that it can sometimes remain open 180 days of the year! You can also look forward to slopes of up to 700 meters.
Go to Church
Whatever your religion, you cannot visit Akureyri without stopping by Akureyri Church. The church is almost like the focal point in the middle of the city, and it has become somewhat of a mascot for Akureyri. Consecrated in 1940, the church is still in use today and there’s even an annual race held on the church stairs.
Go Northern Lights Spotting
The north is a pretty remote region of the country, so if you drive just a short-distance away from the bright city lights, you have great odds of seeing the Northern Lights under the right conditions. You will find plenty of Northern Lights tours in Akureyri if you don’t know how to take on the search yourself.
Stop by Jolahusid/the Christmas House
Even though Jolahusid is technically open all year round, it is especially one of the fun things to do in Akureyri during the festive season. This Christmas-themed gift shop really gets one in the Christmas spirit, and is a favorite amongst children, since the shop looks like a combination of Santa’s house and a gingerbread house. Here you can shop till you drop for Christmas gifts, decorations, and traditional festive season foods.
Relax in a Tub of Beer
Yes, your dream to lie and soak in a tub of beer with more beer on tap next to you can finally come true when visiting Bjorbodin Spa. Just remember to only drink the beer on tap and not the beer in the tub. The warmth of the beer soothes all sorts of aches and pains, and the yeast has all sorts of health benefits, especially when it comes to the skin.
Start Ticking Off Some of the Best Things to Do in Akureyri!
Now that you know how much there is to see and do in Akureyri, it’s time to plan that trip and start ticking off some of the things mentioned in our article. If you rent a campervan in Reykjavík upon arrival, you’ll be able to explore the country as well as drastically cut down on accommodation costs. There’s no better way to do and see all these things in Akureyri for yourself!