Getting around in the town of Akureyri is relatively easy, as the public bus system is completely free. The roads are very steep to walk up but a stroll through the quaint town centre provides visitors with a taste of the town’s atmosphere. In the summer months the pedestrianized streets are filled with café tables and flowers.
The ‘Old Town’ is home to many of the museums and historic buildings, including Akureyri’s oldest house, Laxusalshús, built in 1795. This restored wooden building was occupied until 1978. The building known as Sigurhædir, formerly the home of Mattías Jochumsson, is also found in this area. Jochumsson was of one of Iceland’s most revered poets and wrote the lyrics for Iceland’s national anthem, Iceland’s 1,000 years, in 1874.
The town’s gentle charms include heart-shapes that can be seen all over. Hearts are often displayed in the windows of people’s homes and even the red traffic lights are heart-shaped. The hearts began to appear after the financial crash of 2008, when there was a need for positive thinking, intended to put an emphasis on what really matters.
Like many places in Iceland, Akureyri is a great place for lovers of the outdoors. The surrounding area offers numerous hiking and cycling trails and routes and the best skiing area in the country, Hlídfjall, just a ten minute drive from the harbor. A little further afield many of Iceland’s most beautiful natural wonders can be found, including majestic waterfalls, volcanic areas and canyons, glaciers and one of the country’s few wooded areas. Day trips from the town offer a number of exciting activities, including rafting, horseback riding, whale watching and caving.
- Information provided by Cruise and Maritime Voyages
- Insight Guides: Iceland
- Information provided by Akureyri tourist information centre