Interesting Things to Do in Akureyri, Iceland

Christmas House

Akureyri is a beautiful fishing village, originating in the 9th century when the Nordic Vikings settled the area. It’s fun to walk through Akureyri on Kaupvangsstræti, the main street that curves around town. In this post, we will share with you some of the interesting things to do in Akureyri, Iceland.

Interesting Things to Do in Akureyri

1. Lost in the Akureyri Botanical Garden

interesting things to do in Akureyri: Akureyri Botanical Garden

Just a short walk from the city center, the Akureyri Botanical Garden is an oasis of peace. Considered one of the must-see attractions of Akureyri, the lush green garden is one of the last things you want to see in “The Capital of the North”. In fact, this is one of the northernmost botanical gardens in the world! Today, it is home to 6,600 exotic species and more than 400 local species. That means you can see almost every plant growing in Iceland in one place. The garden is open from June 1 to September 30.

2. Go whale watching

Whale watching is one of the most important tourist activities in this part of the island, as the proximity to the arctic waters means a lot of different whales are swimming in the area, from back whales. humpback to the mighty blue whale. Taking a whale-watching trip can take up a large part of the day, as most tours last around three hours. Most companies also offer extra clothes to their customers, meaning they can sit back and enjoy the ride without worrying about rain or cold wind.

3. Hunt Akureyri Northern Lights

The best things in life are free – including the Northern Lights. Akureyri’s location on the North Coast makes it one of the best places in Iceland for aurora detection. The towering mountains on both sides of the city keep the clouds out of the way, maximizing your chances of tracking elusive lights. Head to the Gásir Nature Reserve or Krossanesborgir for the best viewing areas. The arctic auroras are most active from September to April.

4. Visit Christmas House

interesting things to do in Akureyri: Christmas House


This gift shop sells Christmas souvenirs, food, and decorations all year round. It’s free to visit, so it’s a great stopover when wandering around Akureyri, and visitors may even find something they want to bring home. From apple candies to Belgian waffles and malt, everyone will have a Christmas vibe looking at the items at this store, no matter what time of year it is. There’s also a Christmas garden in the back, for sure kids will love it.

5. Go to the Akureyrarkirkja Lutheran church

Perched high above the town, Akureyrarkirkja Lutheran church is the work of the architect Guðjón Samúelsson, whose designs also shaped the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik. Hence the basalt rock columns. The church, which was built in 1940, is home to a remarkable 3200-pipe organ. One of the church’s most striking features is the beautiful central stained-glass window above the altar which once adorned Coventry Cathedral in England where it was partly destroyed in an air raid. The suspended ship hanging from the ceiling refers to the old Nordic tradition of giving offerings for the protection of fishermen at sea.

6. Hike at Kjarnaskogur Woods

Nature lovers can’t miss Kjarnaskogur, Iceland’s most famous forest. Located south of Akureyri, the entertainment district is ideal for outdoor activities. Kjarnaskogur has a 4 mi (7 km) lighted trail that takes you deep into nature. In addition, the area has many upstream trails, 6 mi (10 km) long mountain biking, and cross-country skiing trails.

7. Explore Godafoss



This is one of the interesting things to do in Akureyri. Godafoss, or ‘the Gods’ waterfall’, is a beautiful natural creation close to Akureyri. Its name derives from a historical episode in which the ruler of the region decided to dump all of the Icelandic pagan statuettes and symbols into the waterfall to symbolize the fact that they were leaving behind that faith and turning to Christianity. The waterfall is easily accessible from a nearby car park, so not much walking is necessary to enjoy the magnificent views.

8. Visit Hof Cultural and Conference Center

The Hof Cultural and Conference Center is the newest Akureyri landmark. Opened in 2010, the oval building features a modern Nordic design. Hof hosts exhibitions, theatrical performances and other cultural events. Visit the tourist information desk inside to pick up helpful brochures and maps. Hof is just a short walk from downtown.


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