Visit museums and a magnificent church and stroll leisurely in the botanical garden of what has been nicknamed “the capital of northern Iceland.”
One of the best places in Iceland to learn about rich Nordic culture is Akureyri. Visit its museums and tall, iconic hillside dominating the cityscape. Mountains enclose the quaint buildings of the city center, in which a folk culture prevails. People have inhabited the area since the 9th century. Learn of its role as a base for the Allied Forces during World War II.
The most famous site of the region is the Akureyri Church, which stands atop a hill. Climb steps to reach its portal and head inside to see religious treasures. Marvel at the angel statue and central panel of stained glass. A boat hangs from the ceiling, marking the Nordic tradition of praying for the safety of those at sea.
For a sense of local culture, visit the Jón Sveinsson Museum, dedicated to a writer and Jesuit priest. The black-and-white wooden cottage is also known as “Nonni’s House,” in reference to his nickname. It is an example of typical 19th-century Icelandic homes. Watch clips from the 1940s of the writer and learn about his children’s books.
Add a bit of color to your trip at the Akureyri Botanical Garden. Bring a book to read while sitting on a bench in the presence of pretty floral displays. The park contains a mix of native Icelandic species and imported plants.
Capture photos of Súlur Mountain, an ever-present giant looming over the city. Follow the path from Glerárdalur Valley up to the peaks.
Geographical factors in the region ensure a surprisingly warm climate compared with the rest of northern Iceland. Winter snow decorates the charming buildings. Attend one of the events taking place in the city, such as the annual medieval festival.
The only international airport in northern Iceland serves the city. Take a taxi for the 2-mile (3-kilometer) journey north to the city center. Reykjavik is 235 miles (378 kilometers) west, a drive which should take 4 or 5 hours.
Visit Akureyri, one of the country’s major urban areas, for a sense of Iceland’s culture, geography and natural beauty.