Akureyri, ‘The Capital of the North’ is a town in the fjord Eyjafjörður in North Iceland.
It lies just 100 kilometres (62 miles) away from the Arctic Circle. It is Iceland’s second-largest urban area with a population of about 17,800.
Learn more about this area on an Akureyri tour.
Akureyri is an important fishing centre and port, but in the last few years, tourism, industry, higher education and services have become the fastest growing sectors of the economy.
An airport is located about three kilometres (two miles) from the centre and a large number of cruise ships lay anchor in its busy harbour.
Traditionally Akureyri has survived on fisheries and some of Iceland’s largest fishing companies such as Samherji, have their headquarters there. Other large companies are also based here, such as Vifilfell hf, the largest brewery in Iceland, which produces the famous Kaldi beer.
FSA/Akureyri Hospital is a significant employer in the area and is one of two major hospitals in Iceland.
Akureyri has excellent facilities for travellers and is located a short drive from many of Iceland’s top natural, cultural and historical attractions. Additionally, one of Iceland's best skiing sites is found by Akureyri, at Hlíðarfjall and it is the location for Ak Extreme, an annual skiing and snowboarding festival.
Akureyri is surrounded by mountains, the highest one being Kerling at 1,538 metres (5,064 feet). The area around it has rich agriculture and a beautiful mountain ring.
The island of Hrísey sits in the middle of Eyjafjörður and Grímsey Island, which straddles the Arctic Circle; both islands belong to the municipality of Akureyri. Hrísey is often called 'The Pearl of Eyjafjörður’ and Grímsey 'The Pearl of the Arctic', and these beautiful and peaceful islands are highly popular with travellers.
Both are also home to many puffins.
Furthermore, Akureyri is a very popular place to stay due to its proximity to the Lake Mývatn. This is one of the country’s most popular destinations, due to its incredible natural beauty, intense geothermal activity, a wealth of birdlife and many surrounding sites, including Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
The convenience of Akureyri is added to by its position on the Icelandic Ring Road, a route that encircles the country, passing almost every major destination. This means that reaching it from Reykjavík is little trouble, even in winter and the journey takes just under five hours.
During World War II, Akureyri was an essential site for the Allies and the town grew considerably after the war, as people increasingly moved to urban areas.
Akureyri has an active cultural scene, with several bars and renowned restaurants as well as frequent concerts and shows. During the summer there are several notable festivals in Akureyri and its surroundings such as the Vaka Folk festival.
Sites of interest in Akureyri include the brand-new Hof concert hall, many museums and the Christmas house which is open all year round.
The city boasts the world's northernmost botanical gardens which are located close to the swimming pool which is worth a visit.
Akureyrarkirkja church sits in a prized position halfway up the hill upon which most of the city is built. It was completed in 1940 and was designed by one of Iceland's most famous architects, Guðjón Samúelsson, who also was also responsible for arguably Iceland's most famous church, Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík.