Akureyri is often called „the Capital of the North“. And it sure is. Akureyri is the largest town outside of the greater Reykjavik area with a population little less than twenty thousand. Akureyri has it all, or mostly so. It has a university, two high-schools, a professional theatre, a down-town, a city hall square (no city hall, though), and a harbour. Its main landmark is a beautiful church that can be seen from almost anywhere in the area. Leading up to the church are around one hundred steps that all children, and many adults, have to count every time they go there. Akureyri has one of the best swimming pools in the country and also some of the best summer days as the weather conditions there can be very favorable.
The authorities in Akureyri have taken good care of preserving their historic houses. There are a few small museums in these preserved houses dedicated to local authors and poets, such as the museum of the writer Jón Sveinsson, Nonni, and the museum of the poet Matthías Jochumsson, who wrote the lyrics to the national anthem. These are all located in the “old town” of Akureyri and a walk through there is well worth it as well as down to the shore where there are various species of birds. The locals like to take their fishing rods down there and try their luck and so can you.
Akureyri is beautiful all year round but the springs are particularly nice. There is a very well maintained botanical garden in Akureyri, with a special section on the botany of Iceland, that is particularly enjoyable in the summer. In the winter the main attraction is the Hlíðarfjall mountain which has one of the best skiing facilities in the country. People from all over come to Akureyri to ski and the people from Akureyri are very proud of their skiing facilities.
I like Akureyri and I often stop by there. When I was a kid I often visited distant relatives with my parents and later on I visited friends of my husband. I always seem to know somebody who lives there and that’s a good feeling.
How to get there:
Akureyri is on ring road no. 1. There are also direct flights from Reykjavík.