Located in the north of Iceland, Akureyri is considered by many as the country’s second city and the “capital of the north”. While the city has a relatively small population, it has the atmosphere of a large capital city. Home to trendy bars, contemporary restaurants and an emerging café culture, the city has a vibrant cultural scene. There’s also plenty to do for outdoorsy types. Located a short distance from the snow-capped mountains, the city offers world-class skiing opportunities throughout the winter months. There are numerous hiking trails in the rolling countryside that surrounds the city, as well as excellent opportunities to explore the stunning fjord.
An off-road vehicle is the best option for driving in Akureyri, which has numerous steep and mountainous roads in and around the city.
Driving in Akureyri
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Take care when driving during the winter months as roads can become hazardous owing to poor weather conditions.
The city has good transport links and is accessible via the Ring Road highway which follows the coastline around the country.
Be aware that weather conditions can change very rapidly causing driving conditions to become hazardous in a very short space of time. You should plan ahead where possible.
Highlights & Hotspots
The city is quite the cultural hub and is home to numerous museums, the most quirky being the Museum of Small Exhibits. This oddball museum exhibits a range of small collected items – everything pencil shavings to waffle irons.
Akureyri is full of many architectural treasures including the Akureyrarkirkja church. This impressive building was designed by Gudjon Samuelsson and built in in 1940. It is well-worth the visit, if only to see the central window above the altar, which was originally part of Coventry Cathedral.
For a peaceful summer afternoon, head to the Arctic Botanical Gardens, home to plush green spaces, beautiful gardens and an array of unique plants and flowers. If you’re visiting during the summer, then it’s the best place to enjoy a quiet stroll or a picnic.
If you’re visiting over the winter and you enjoy your outdoor pursuits, then head to Hlíðarfjall ski centre, which is considered to be the best downhill ski slope in Iceland. There are a number of pistes and routes for skiers of different levels as well as snowboarding routes and a ski school.
The city is served by Akureyri Airport, which is a single-runway airport with flights to several domestic destinations, with regular flights to and from Reykjavik Airport. It has one terminal for domestic and international passengers.
The airport is located just outside the city centre, about three miles south southeast. It is accessible via the M√Ωrarvegur and Naustavegur, both of which leading to the city centre.