Iceland has become increasingly popular as a travel destination due in part to its stunning volcanic landscape, reputation as a hub of arts and culture, and recent ranking as “most welcoming country”. Its capital, Reykjavik, is known as a tourist favorite, but a recent BBC article advises travelers seeking a more in-depth experience to visit Akureyri and take in a different side of Iceland’s charm.
Regarded as Iceland’s unofficial capital of the north, the city of Akureyri boasts gourmet dining, art galleries and nightlife to rival the offerings of big-city living. Hafnarstræti, a lively pedestrian shopping strip in the center of town, features tourist-friendly attractions, alfresco cafes, and small shops owned by local artisans. This street and the surrounding neighborhood are the center of the city’s gourmet dining and nightlife, with restaurants like Strikið and RUB23 that offer a mix of local and familiar fare.
The city is full of attractions to keep visitors entertained regardless of the weather. Akureyri’s variety of museums give insight into local history, including local writers, art, and the city itself, along with some less expected topics like motorcycles, aviation, and antique toys.Those looking to enjoy water slides, swimming pools, and “hot-pots” warmed by Iceland’s geothermal heat will have plenty of opportunities at the popular Sundlaug Akureyrar.
Akureyri’s surrounding area features many other exciting things to see and do. Travelers can explore the countryside on an Icelandic horse, golf on the world’s northernmost 18-hole course, or take to the slopes with skiing at the nearby Hlíðarfjall.
Akureyri is roughly 240 miles from Reykjavik and can be reached by car or plane. The city offers a range of accommodations, and travelers are advised to book their stays far in advance, since openings tend to fill up quickly. For more information on accommodations and local attractions, visit the Akureyri tourist office website.