Our top sights, highlights and exclusive tips
For a city that’s so isolated, Akureyri has surprising depth, from the city’s gourmet eateries—make sure to try a fillet of Arctic char, preferably grilled—to yearly medieval festivals. Walking through the city center, you’ll find colorful churches, great museums, and, of course, the city’s renowned botanical gardens. Wherever you go, a hearty dose of Icelandic culture awaits you here.
The Old Farmhouse Laufás
Akureyri Botanical Garden
Built in 1865, this renowned church site is known for its preservation—the perfect place to step back in time to Iceland in the 19th century. Wander down this verdant hillside and see the grass-thatched colonial houses that settlers called home. Watch out, though—don’t bump your head on one of the low-hanging ceilings inside, which are so magnificently maintained that you may be inclined to think that people still live here.
When you take a stroll through the lawns of the Akureyri Botanical Garden, don’t forget that you’re also walking through one of the most northern botanical gardens in the world. A mere 31 miles from the arctic circle, its isolation makes it all the more pristine: 7,000 different plant species bloom here, of which 430 are native to Iceland. Go on a sunny day, and make sure to see the margaritas shine in the central garden.
This Lutheran church is known for two things: a pristine 3200-pipe organ, a suspended ship that hangs from its ceiling. Sound crazy? The ship is part of a Nordic tradition of offering items to those who are at sea. If that’s not enough to convince you to check out this Icelandic church on the hill, then maybe its striking façade, anchored by two elegant columns on each side, will be.
The word “outdoor paradise” is thrown around often in Iceland, but when you take a walk through this lush park, it’s difficult not to use it. Hiking trails and unspoiled paths lead to the real treat here: a camping site deep in the hills with a majestic view over the Eyjafjörður fjord—not to mention a great view of Akureyri itself.
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