Things to do in Akureyri
Welcome to Akureyri
Dark night skies hang over snowy peaks in Akureyri, a little port city at the head of the Eyjafjörður Fjord in Iceland’s far north. Its remote location (it’s a 5-hour drive from Reykjavík) and proximity to the Arctic Circle make it one of the best places in Iceland to chase the northern lights. But while the sun’s still up, travelers keep busy exploring the Diamond Circle—where waterfalls, canyons, and geothermal wonders abound—and cruising the fjord in search of humpbacks, minke whales, and porpoises.
Top 15 attractions in Akureyri
Vatnajokull National Park
Mývatn Nature Baths
Akureyri Church (Akureyrarkirkja)
Akureyri Botanical Garden (Lystigardur Akureyrar)
Top activities in Akureyri
Whale Watching from Downtown Akureyri
Lake Mývatn Tour from Akureyri Port
Big Whales & Puffins RIB boat tour
Lake Mývatn and Goðafoss Shore Excursion
Express Whale Watching by RIB boat from Akureyri
Whales and Puffins Tour from Husavik
Hot springs and waterfalls, private super jeep tour
Whale Watching in Husavik
Hiking with Husky in Akureyri (private)
Northern Lights Classic Tour from Akureyri
Diamond Circle Day Tour from Akureyri
Traditional Whale Watching Tour from Húsavík
Explore our promoted experiences
Lake Myvatn and Godafoss Waterfall Day Tour from Akureyri
- 8 hours
- Free Cancellation
Goðafoss- Waterfall of the Gods Tour from Akureyri
- 2 hours 30 minutes
- Free Cancellation
Recent reviews from experiences in Akureyri
All about Akureyri
When to visit
Summer is the best time to visit Akureyri if you’re looking for outdoor adventures and culture. Mild temperatures and lots of daylight let you enjoy hiking and exploring natural wonders, such as the Goðafoss waterfall and Lake Mývatn. The Akureyri Town Festival celebrating the town’s founding takes place in late August. What’s more, May through September is also the best time to see humpback whales. That said, September through early April is best for spotting the northern lights.
Akureyri is a compact town and most places of interest are easy to talk to. If you need to venture outside the town center, you can ride the local city buses free of charge. The buses travel a loop around town, starting and ending in the center (Miðbær). For adventures out of town, you’ll need to rent a car or book a tour that includes transportation.
Iceland is famous for its geothermal spas, but nothing is quite like the Bjórböðin Beer Spa in Dalvík (a 30-minute drive north of Akureyri). Visit to soak in a wooden tub filled with a warm mixture of beer, hops, geothermal water, and yeast, while sipping a cold beer. The yeast and hops are said to do wonders for skin and hair.
A local’s pocket guide to Akureyri
Born and raised in Akureyri, Bryndís returns to her hometown every year to meet up with friends and family, and discover new local treats.
learn where east, north, south, and west are. The people of Akureyri usually describe locations by using the cardinal directions; so, for example, the Old Town is in the south.
involves a slow walk around the “innbærinn” (Old Town), a museum and beautiful botanical garden visit, as well as an ice cream at Brynja. Then, walk to the Akureyri geothermal swimming pool, before grabbing dinner in the town center.
a whale watching tour, where you have a chance to see the incredible Eyjafjord Humpbacks in their natural habitat.
taste some quirky Akureyri food. For example, a “pylsa með öllu” (hot dog with everything)—including red cabbage—or the bernaise burger with french fries and bernaise sauce.
head to the viewing platform on the other side of the fjord. It’s a 5-minute drive from the town center and it offers a great view over the town, both in daylight and darkness.
is thinking that Akureyri is a very small town, when it’s more like a very small city. And it has the amenities to prove it!
People Also Ask
Nicknamed “the capital of North Iceland,” Akureyri is a compact university town that has a cool, cosmopolitan vibe that makes it worth lingering in. It’s the gateway to Iceland’s northern natural attractions, such as Lake Myvatn, Godafoss waterfall, and Eyjafjordur....More
Icelandic is generally a complex and challenging language, but you actually pronounce Akureyri just as it’s written: “aku-rey-ri,” with a slight emphasis on “aku.” Akureyri’s name literally means “sandbank field,” which likely stems from its historic reputation as fertile farmland....More
Yes, it is possible to see the aurora borealis from Akureyri. The best time to see the lights is between September and April, and you’re more likely to see them if you head out of town. Gasir, just north of the town, is a popular viewing spot....More
The town of Akureyri is only 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of the Arctic Circle. The only part of Iceland that lies within the Arctic Circle is the small island of Grimsey. However, Grimsey and Akureyri are part of the same municipality....More
You really only need one or two days to see the highlights of Akureyri. If you are planning to visit the natural wonders of northern Iceland, it’s a good idea to spend your nights at different destinations rather than using Akureyri as your base and having to backtrack each evening....More
Yes, home to a university and a handful of art galleries and good restaurants, Akureyri has a youthful and creative vibe that is well worth checking out. Also, since it’s situated on one of Iceland’s longest fjords (Eyjafjordur) and cradled by mountains, Akureyri puts you within easy reach of some of Iceland’s most beautiful natural wonders....More
Number of Attractions
Number of Tours
Number of Reviews
- Eiffel Tower
- Hoover Dam
- Statue of Liberty
- Sagrada Familia
- Burj Khalifa
- Road to Hana (Hana Highway)
- Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
- Molokini Crater
- St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)
- Na Pali Coast
- Uffizi Galleries (Gallerie degli Uffizi)
- Great Barrier Reef
- Ellis Island
- Tower of London
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Popular on Viator
- Statue of Liberty Tours and Tickets
- The White House Tours and Tickets
- Antelope Canyon Tours and Tickets
- Hoover Dam Tours and Tickets
- Alcatraz Tours and Tickets
- Stonehenge Tours and Tickets
- Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Tours and Tickets
- Beverly Hills Tours and Tickets
- Colosseum Tours and Tickets
- Washington Monument Tours and Tickets
- San Diego Zoo Tours and Tickets
- Space Needle Tours and Tickets
- Eiffel Tower Tours and Tickets
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial Tours and Tickets
- Empire State Building Tours and Tickets
- Art Institute of Chicago Tours and Tickets
- Aquarium of the Pacific Tours and Tickets
- Blue Lagoon Tours and Tickets
- Burj Khalifa Tours and Tickets
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) Tours and Tickets