5 Unmissable Things to Do in Akureyri: Iceland’s Hidden Gem


Welcome to the picturesque town of Akureyri, Iceland’s hidden gem nestled in the heart of the North. While Reykjavik may get most of the attention, Akureyri offers a unique and charming Icelandic experience that you won’t want to miss. Surrounded by stunning landscapes and filled with cultural treasures, this town has something for every traveler. In this travel blog, we’ll take you on a journey through 5 unmissable things to do in Akureyri. Want the best flights to Iceland? Look here.

Akureyri Botanical Garden

The Akureyri Botanical Garden, often referred to as “Lystigardurinn,” is one of Akureyri’s most enchanting attractions. This botanical garden is a horticultural oasis nestled in the heart of Iceland’s northern town. Here’s a more detailed overview of what you can expect when visiting the Akureyri Botanical Garden:

History and Establishment: The Akureyri Botanical Garden was founded in 1912, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in Iceland. Its establishment was a collaborative effort by local enthusiasts, led by Jón Sveinsson, who was passionate about gardening and plant cultivation. The garden’s primary purpose was to introduce and acclimate foreign plant species to Iceland’s challenging climate.

Location and Size: Situated in a serene location just south of the town center, the garden covers approximately 3.6 hectares (about 8.9 acres). Its location in the sheltered and sunnier microclimate of Akureyri allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants.

Plant Collections: The Akureyri Botanical Garden boasts an impressive collection of both native and exotic plant species. Despite Iceland’s harsh climate, the garden has succeeded in creating a diverse and thriving ecosystem. Some highlights include:

  • Arctic and Alpine Plants: As you explore the garden, you’ll find a range of Arctic and alpine plants that are uniquely adapted to the local environment.
  • Rhododendrons: The garden is renowned for its collection of rhododendrons, which bloom in vibrant colors during the summer months, creating a stunning visual spectacle.
  • Herb Garden: There’s a dedicated section for herbs, showcasing a variety of culinary and medicinal plants.
  • Rock Garden: The rock garden features plants that thrive in rocky and alpine environments, including beautiful and hardy succulents.

Seasonal Changes: The garden undergoes significant transformations throughout the year. While summer is the peak season for blooms and vibrant colors, visiting during spring or early autumn offers a different but equally charming experience. In spring, you can witness the awakening of the garden as the first flowers start to bloom, while autumn brings vibrant foliage.

Educational Opportunities: The Akureyri Botanical Garden is not only a beautiful place to visit but also an educational one. There are informative signs and labels throughout the garden, providing visitors with insights into the various plant species, their adaptations, and their cultural significance in Iceland.

Events and Activities: The garden hosts various events, workshops, and exhibitions, especially during the summer season. It’s a great place for families, nature enthusiasts, and anyone looking to connect with Iceland’s unique flora.

Accessibility: The garden is easily accessible by foot from the town center, making it a convenient stop for both tourists and locals. Its tranquil atmosphere makes it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

Visiting the Akureyri Botanical Garden offers a peaceful and educational experience, allowing you to connect with the natural beauty of Iceland while gaining an appreciation for the resilience of plants in challenging environments. It’s a delightful destination that should be on your itinerary when exploring Akureyri.

Akureyri Botanical Garden

Akureyri Church (Akureyrarkirkja)

Akureyri Church, known as “Akureyrarkirkja” in Icelandic, is an iconic and striking landmark in the charming town of Akureyri, located in northern Iceland. This modernist church is a prominent symbol of the town and holds cultural and architectural significance. Here’s a more in-depth look at Akureyri Church:

Architectural Style: Akureyri Church stands out for its unique architectural design. It was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, one of Iceland’s most renowned architects, who was also responsible for designing the iconic Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik. The church’s architecture is characterized by a modernist, Expressionist style, with a nod to the Gothic Revival.

Construction and History: Construction of the church began in 1940 but was delayed due to World War II. It was finally consecrated and opened to the public on December 19, 1943. The church was built from concrete and is adorned with beautiful stained glass windows that contribute to its aesthetic appeal.

Location and Views: One of the most notable features of Akureyri Church is its prime location on a hill overlooking the town and the Eyjafjörður Fjord. This elevated position provides visitors with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. It’s a popular spot for tourists and photographers seeking scenic vistas.

Interior Design: The interior of Akureyri Church is simple yet elegant. The church can seat up to 1,000 people, making it one of the largest churches in Iceland. The warm wooden interior, combined with the natural light filtering through the stained glass windows, creates a serene and inviting atmosphere.

Stained Glass Windows: The church’s stained glass windows are one of its most striking features. These windows were designed by renowned Icelandic artist Jón Stefánsson. They depict scenes from the life of Christ and are known for their vibrant colors and intricate details.

Concerts and Events: Akureyri Church is not only a place of worship but also a venue for various cultural events, including concerts and recitals. Its excellent acoustics make it a popular choice for musical performances, adding to the cultural vibrancy of Akureyri.

Religious Significance: The church serves as the primary place of worship for the local Lutheran community. It plays an essential role in the spiritual life of Akureyri residents and is often the site of important religious ceremonies and celebrations.

Accessibility: Akureyri Church is easily accessible from the town center, and its hilltop location makes it a prominent and recognizable landmark. Visitors can walk up the hill to explore the church and enjoy the panoramic views.

Akureyri Church is not only a religious institution but also a cultural and architectural gem that adds to the character and charm of Akureyri. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply taking in stunning views of the town and fjord, a visit to Akureyri Church should be on your itinerary when exploring this beautiful part of Iceland.

Akureyri Church Akureyrarkirkja things to do in Akureyri

Akureyri Art Museum

The Akureyri Art Museum, known as “Listasafnið á Akureyri” in Icelandic, is a cultural institution in the town of Akureyri, Iceland, dedicated to showcasing a diverse collection of Icelandic art. Here’s a more detailed overview of what you can expect when visiting the Akureyri Art Museum:

Location: The Akureyri Art Museum is located in the heart of Akureyri, making it easily accessible to both locals and visitors. Its central location makes it a convenient stop for those exploring the town.

History: The museum has a rich history that dates back to 1954 when it was first established. Over the years, it has played a vital role in preserving and promoting Icelandic art and culture, becoming an important cultural hub in northern Iceland.

Collections: The museum’s primary focus is on Icelandic visual art, and it features a diverse range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more. The collections span various artistic styles and periods, from traditional to contemporary art. Visitors can expect to see works by both established and emerging Icelandic artists, providing a comprehensive overview of the country’s artistic talent.

Temporary Exhibitions: The Akureyri Art Museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, allowing visitors to explore different themes, artistic movements, and artists. These exhibitions often feature works from both local and international artists, adding an element of variety and freshness to the museum’s offerings.

Educational Programs: The museum is committed to fostering an understanding and appreciation of art among the public. It often organizes educational programs, workshops, and lectures, providing visitors with opportunities to engage with art on a deeper level.

DiscoverCars.comiunyh71e?a aid=nesa&a bid=61a4ac81

Cultural Events: In addition to its exhibitions, the Akureyri Art Museum is a venue for various cultural events, including musical performances, poetry readings, and film screenings. These events contribute to the vibrant cultural scene of Akureyri.

Architectural Significance: The museum is housed in a building of architectural significance. Its modern design complements the artistic environment, and the museum itself is an aesthetically pleasing structure in the heart of Akureyri.

Gift Shop and Café: The museum often has a gift shop where visitors can purchase art-related merchandise and souvenirs. Additionally, some museums have an on-site café where you can relax and reflect on your museum experience.

Accessibility: The Akureyri Art Museum is wheelchair accessible, ensuring that all visitors can enjoy the cultural treasures it has to offer.

Museum Shop: Many museums have a shop where visitors can purchase art-related books, posters, and other items as souvenirs of their visit.

Visiting the Akureyri Art Museum offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich artistic culture of Iceland and gain insights into the creativity and talent of Icelandic artists. Whether you are an art enthusiast or simply appreciate cultural experiences, the museum is a must-visit destination when exploring Akureyri and northern Iceland.

Akureyri Art Museum

Hiking in the Eyjafjörður Valley

Hiking in the Eyjafjörður Valley is an exhilarating outdoor experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of northern Iceland. The Eyjafjörður Valley, with its dramatic landscapes, diverse terrain, and scenic trails, offers hikers of all skill levels a chance to explore this magnificent region. Here’s a more detailed overview of what you can expect when hiking in the Eyjafjörður Valley:

Diverse Trail Options: The Eyjafjörður Valley boasts a wide range of hiking trails that cater to hikers with varying levels of experience. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker looking for a challenging multi-day hike or a beginner seeking a short, scenic walk, there’s a trail for you.

Breathtaking Views: The valley is surrounded by towering mountains, lush valleys, and the shimmering waters of the Eyjafjörður Fjord. As you hike, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of this picturesque landscape. It’s an ideal setting for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Summer Hiking: The summer season, from June to September, is the most popular time for hiking in the Eyjafjörður Valley. During these months, the weather is milder, and the trails are more accessible. Wildflowers bloom, and you can enjoy long daylight hours, allowing for extended hikes.

Winter Wonderland: If you’re visiting during the winter months, the Eyjafjörður Valley transforms into a winter wonderland. Snow blankets the landscape, and you can partake in activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Keep in mind that some trails may be closed or require specialized equipment during the winter.

Notable Hiking Trails:

  • Sulur: This mountain, often called “Akureyrarfjall,” is a prominent landmark near Akureyri. The hike to the summit provides spectacular views of Akureyri, the fjord, and the surrounding mountains.
  • Húsavíkurfjall: Located near the town of Húsavík, this mountain offers hiking opportunities with views of the charming town and the ocean.
  • Kjarnaskógur: This forested area near Akureyri features numerous trails suitable for a range of hiking abilities. It’s a great option for a leisurely walk among the trees.
  • Tröllaskagi: Known as the “Troll Peninsula,” this region offers some of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in northern Iceland, including multi-day treks through remote wilderness areas.

Safety Considerations: Before embarking on a hike in the Eyjafjörður Valley, it’s essential to be well-prepared. Check the weather forecast, inform someone of your plans, carry appropriate gear, and follow safety guidelines. The weather in Iceland can change rapidly, so be prepared for varying conditions.

Guided Tours: If you’re not comfortable hiking independently, consider joining a guided hiking tour. Experienced guides can provide valuable insights into the local flora and fauna, as well as ensure your safety on the trails.

Hiking in the Eyjafjörður Valley is an opportunity to connect with Iceland’s rugged natural beauty and experience the tranquility of its remote landscapes. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging backcountry adventure, this region has something to offer every hiker and outdoor enthusiast.


Akureyri Swimming Pool (Sundlaug Akureyrar)

The Akureyri Swimming Pool, known as “Sundlaug Akureyrar” in Icelandic, is a popular recreational facility and a must-visit attraction in the town of Akureyri, Iceland. It offers a relaxing and enjoyable experience for both locals and tourists. Here’s a more detailed overview of what you can expect when visiting the Akureyri Swimming Pool:

Geothermal Relaxation: One of the most appealing aspects of the Akureyri Swimming Pool is that it is heated by geothermal energy, a common practice in Iceland. This means that the water in the pools is naturally heated by the Earth’s geothermal activity, providing a warm and soothing bathing experience, even in the chilly Icelandic climate.

Multiple Pools: The facility features a variety of pools, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and preferences. These include:

  • Main Pool: The main pool is the heart of the facility and is kept at a comfortable temperature for swimming and relaxation.
  • Hot Tubs: Several hot tubs with varying temperatures are available for soaking and unwinding. These are especially delightful on cold winter days or under the midnight sun.
  • Children’s Pool: There’s a dedicated pool for children, complete with playful features like water toys and slides.

Steam Bath and Sauna: In addition to the pools, the Akureyri Swimming Pool has a steam bath and sauna, providing visitors with an opportunity to enjoy traditional Icelandic bathing practices and further enhance their relaxation experience.

Panoramic Views: The location of the swimming pool offers stunning panoramic views of Akureyri, the fjord, and the surrounding mountains. Relaxing in the warm waters while taking in these breathtaking vistas is a unique and memorable experience.

On-Site Amenities: The facility provides various amenities to enhance your visit, including changing rooms, showers, and locker rentals. Towels and swimwear are available for purchase or rental if you forget to bring your own.

Accessibility: The Akureyri Swimming Pool is easily accessible from the town center, and it is typically open year-round. Whether you visit in the middle of winter or during the long summer days, the pools are a great way to unwind and socialize with locals.

Local Culture: The swimming pool is not just a recreational space; it’s also a social hub where you can meet and mingle with the friendly residents of Akureyri. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience Icelandic culture and make new friends.

Events and Activities: The facility occasionally hosts events, such as swimming competitions, water aerobics classes, and more. Check the local schedule to see if any exciting events are happening during your visit.

Health Benefits: Bathing in geothermal pools is known for its potential health benefits, including relaxation, improved circulation, and stress relief. It’s a therapeutic experience that many find rejuvenating.

Visiting the Akureyri Swimming Pool offers a unique way to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of Iceland while immersing yourself in the local culture. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, social interaction, or a break from your travels, the geothermal pools of Akureyri are a welcoming and rejuvenating destination.

Akureyri Swimming Pool Sundlaug Akureyrar

Things to Do in Akureyri: Conclusion

Akureyri, with its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, is a destination that should be on every traveler’s list. Whether you’re exploring botanical gardens, hiking in the fjords, or indulging in Icelandic cuisine, this charming town has something to offer year-round. Travel with the best travel insurance. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Akureyri, Iceland’s hidden gem.

DiscoverCars.comiunyh71e?a aid=nesa&a bid=4414fbe0

Check out the other blogs.