Akureyri is Iceland’s second city, and makes an ideal base for trips to the nearby fjords and some of the country’s most photographed attractions.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to go to Akureyri in Iceland is from june until august, in which you have a very cold temperature, but little till mediocre rainfall. The highest average temperature in Akureyri is 14° in july and the lowest is -4° in january.
Top Places to Visit in Akureyri
1. Goðafoss Waterfall
This powerful waterfall, Goðafoss (“fall of the gods”), is virtually beneath the Ring Road a few kilometres further on, and is the easiest of Iceland’s major falls to visit. Most cars and buses en route to Mývatn stop here at the small petrol station/store at Fosshóll.
2. Akureyri Church
The Akureyri church is the symbol of Akureyri. It is a Lutheran church and was designed by architect Gudjon Samuelsson and consecrated in 1940. The central stained glass window above the altar formed a part of a set which was destroyed in an air raid on Coventry Cathedral in England. The bas-reliefs on the nave balcony are by sculptor Asmundur Sveinsson and the baptismal font is a replica of a work by sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. The church is located in the town center.
3. The Botanical Garden
The garden is on of the northern most botanical gardens in the world. The Public Park was opened in 1912 but the Botanic section in 1957. There are about 6600 alien taxa growing in the garden in beds and nursery and around 430 species of the native taxa. The park is very popular both by locals and visitors. The Botanical Garden is equally popular with the local population and visitors to Akureyri. A wide variety of both Icelandic and foreign flora is to be found there and new species are always being added to the collection. The garden, therefore, is an excellent choice for those wishing to take a break from the stress of daily life, playing as they do, the role both of a peaceful public park and also a beautiful plant collection.
4. The Glera River
Glerá River runs through the town of Akureyri, mostly through a steep canyon. The river is flanked by walking trails for a taste of urban nature. The river originates from glaciers in the mountains of Tröllaskagi peninsula but also draws water from some fresh water springs on its way down the Glerá Valley. At the point where the river reaches the sea at the fjord Eyjafjörður it has formed the sandbank named “Oddeyri” one of the town’s oldest districts. The river was important in the dawn of the industrial age in Akureyri when it was dammed and used to produce electricity in the 20th century.
5. Northern Lights
The Northern Lights – also called Aurora Borealis – are one of the most spectacular shows on earth and can frequently be seen in Akureyri and surroundings from September through April on clear nights. The Northern Lights occur high above the surface of the earth where the atmosphere has become extremely thin, in an altitude of 100-250 km. The Northern Lights exist in the outmost layer of the atmosphere. They are created by electrically charged particles that make the thin air shine, not unlike a fluorescent light. They can be seen in aurora belts that forms 20-25 degrees around the geomagnetic poles, both the north and the south.
6. Kjarnaskogur Woodland Area
South of Akureyri is one of the towns most popular outdoor areas – the woodland Kjarnaskogur. The recreational area is approx 600ha with more than 1 million trees of many species planted within the last 50 years. The area has over 12 km of gravel paths, in addition to a vast network of back country trails. During winter and nighttime 7 km of the paths are lighted. The area has about 10 km long designated mountain bike trail which is connected to the Mt. Hlíðarfjall mountain bike trail. The area has several playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue facilities, restrooms and four volley ball courses as well. For bird lovers, the area is rich of birds and by the marshland in the north of the area (by Hundatjörn in Naustaborgir) there is a bird watching shelter. A campsite is nearby, Hamrar, with easy access to the forest.
7. Mountain Súlur
The mountain Súlur is the Town-mountain of Akureyri, rising above the town in south-west. There is a popular trail – walking path up to the peaks, the walk/hikes takes about 5-6 hours forth and back. The starting point is from a parking lot in the valley Glerárdalur. The peaks are two; the highest one reaching about 1213 meters. The peaks are mainly made of light rhyolite (liparit) which is a volcanic material, created during volcanic eruptions around 8-9 million years ago.