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Akureyri – the city in northern Iceland

Posted in Travelling

At the foot of the Eyjafjördur fjord on the north side of Iceland lies the town of Akureyri. Sights include the botanical garden, the Akureyri Art Museum and the church with its beautiful stained glass windows. The fourth largest city in Iceland has a total of 17,000 inhabitants and is located at the end of the 90 km long Eyjafjörður fjord. The city is surrounded by mountains between 1000 and 1500 meters in height. Temperatures are mild by Icelandic standards with up to 25 degrees in summer and an average of 0 degrees in winter.

The city buses in Akureyris are free and depart from the main central bus station. Each route in the circle takes between 30 and 50 minutes. The timetable as well as the route can be found on the Official site of Akureyri can be downloaded.

Top Attractions in Akureyri

I would like to list the most important sights of the Icelandic city here. However, you will need several days to be able to enjoy all the sights. So choose those that interest you.

  • Godafoss Waterfall
  • Lake Myvatn
  • Natural Baths
  • Dettifoss
  • Botanical Garden
  • Church from Akureyri
  • Whale Watching
  • Laufas Old Farmhouse
  • Grímsey Island

Akureyri by cruise ship

Even the entrance to Akureyri is spectacular, because the Icelandic town is located at the end of the 90-kilometer-long Eyjafjörður. The city is considered a relatively young – by Icelandic standards – metropolis of the north.

You can find another post at Akureyri on your own.

Sights in Akureyri

In this section I would like to introduce you to the main attractions that you can find and visit right in the city of Akureyri.

A special attraction of Akureyri are the traffic lights. The red traffic light is in the shape of a heart and is intended to stimulate positive thinking. There is also an extra traffic light near the port for selfies.

You can also take a fjord tour by boat from the pier. However, anyone who docks with the cruise ship will already know this.

Akureyri Botanical Garden

Akureyri – although in northern Europe – has a botanical garden with a unique collection of plants of both native and foreign species (over 6000 alien species). The native genera include mainly moss species, lichen species, hawkweed and dandelion species. What is special about the species is the adaptability of the plants, since the summers are short and the winters are cold and hard with lots of snow. The botanical garden covers an area of ​​3.6 hectares and is about 40 meters above sea level.

Church of Akureyri

The Church of Akureyri impresses with the beautiful windows depicting the story of Christ and important events. The church was designed by the same architect who designed the famous Hallgrims Church in the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. At the same time, the church is also the symbol of the city. The stained glass window above the altar is from England.

Sights outside of Akureyri

In this section you will find all the major attractions that are located outside of Akureyri. You can reach some of them by car, ship or plane.

Goðafoss waterfall (the waterfall of the gods)

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland is the so-called Goðafoss waterfall, which is fed by the Skjálfandafljót river. The fourth longest river in Iceland has its source in Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, and the Tungnafellsjökull glacier. The height of the waterfall is around 12 meters and a width of almost 30 meters. The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland and is visited by tourists all year round. With the bus line 79 you can even reach the waterfalls with a public bus (subject to a fee).

Dettifoss Waterfall

The Dettifoss waterfall is the most water-rich waterfall in Europe with 500 cubic meters of water per second. Dettifoss is 45 meters high and almost 100 meters wide. It is fed by the mighty glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which has its source in Europe’s largest glacier (Vatnajökull). The west side offers a better view of the waterfall. From the east side, however, the waterfall can be experienced well from the side.

Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall

The lesser known Aldeyjarfoss waterfall in Bárðardalur valley is fed by the Skjálfandafljót river. The fourth longest river in Iceland has its source in Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, and the Tungnafellsjökull glacier. The waterfall is surrounded by a lava area that was formed around 9000 years ago. Aldeyjarfoss waterfall is 20 meters high and surrounded by basalt columns.

Lake Mývatn (the lake of mosquitoes)

Lake Mývatn and the beautiful volcanic landscape around the lake are part of the unique geological area – about an hour’s drive from Akureyri. The lake is excellent for bird watching with numerous different species. Some birds use the lake as a migratory stop, while others nest around the lake.

Lava Field Dimmuborgir & Grjótagjá Cave

Not far from Lake Mývatn is Dimmuborgir lava field and Grjótagjá Cave. According to legend, the lava field is home to the thirteen Icelandic Santa Clauses and features special lava formations. There is also the pseudo crater Skútustaðagíga.

Jarðböðin (the blue lagoon of the north)

Not far from Lake Mývatn lies another blue lagoon, the “Blue Lagoon of the North”). This invites visitors to swim in the warm waters.

Hrísey Island

In the middle of the Eyjafjörður fjord lies the island of Hrísey, a pearl of nature. With only 200 inhabitants there is a small fishing village on the island. The ferry crossing does not start directly from Akureyri but a little north.

Grimsey Island

Far to the north (outside the fjord) is the island of Grimsey. The island is not only home to hundreds of people – mostly fishermen – but also millions of seabirds. The 5 square kilometer island is about 40 kilometers from the north coast and is close to the Arctic Circle. The island can be reached by ferry or plane (daily connections).

whale watching and boat tours

In addition to the possibility of a boat tour through the fjord, there is also the option of whale watching. Numerous companies offer observation trips here, with most being concentrated in the Eyjafjörður fjord. In addition to whales, you can also see humpback whales, miniature whales and bottlenose dolphins from time to time. However, most tours start from further north and lead to the beginning of the fjord.

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