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Akureyri Travel Guide, Iceland

Akureyri, Travel guide – Location

Akureyri travel guide describes the picturesque city located in chilly northern Iceland, an important tourist destination for both its natural and cultural sights.

Akureyri, Travel guide – Geography

Akureyri grew and developed in an area with a typical topography for the northern countries, the fjords. The city was set in one of the longest fjords in Iceland, where the cold waters of the Atlantic meet the rocky cliffs of the island. The landscape is dominated by tall, snowcapped surrounding mountains, reaching even 1500m in some points and by the restless waters of the ocean.

Climate here is cold oceanic, due to Akureyri’s location near the Arctic Circle, but moderated by two air streams which determine milder conditions in all seasons. During winter the temperatures can go as low as -25ºC or even -30ºC and in summer the average temperatures are of 10ºC – 13ºC.

A typical phenomenon here which brings the interest of numerous tourists is the Aurora Borealis, which can be admired during winter. Storms are also a common phenomenon here as well as strong winds sometimes accelerated by the characteristics of the topography.

Akureyri, Travel guide – Flora and Fauna

The city abounds in recreational areas and hiking paths, a heaven for the ones loving outdoor activities. In these places one can admire the lush local flora made up of grass, moss, low shrubs, willows, birch and so on. Due to the erosion danger on some slopes, cultivated species can be found on a large scale, made up of local species but also new ones which adapted pretty well.

Another beautiful place to visit in order to understand better the vegetation characteristics in this part of Iceland is the Akureyri Botanical Garden, a place which gathers almost all plant species from the city and country together with some exotic species too.

Fauna is again very rich and diverse, represented by many bird species, marine mammals, terrestrial mammals and numerous fish species. Iceland is one of the places with the most numerous bird colonies, the birds staying here in the warm months and animating especially the coastal area. Terrestrial mammals are few and maybe the best known and original specie here is the arctic fox, along with others like the reindeer and mink. Marine mammals instead are numerous especially seals, whales and dolphins as well as fish like the capelin, cod, salmon and trout which also play an important role in the local economy, Akureyri being an important fishing and trade city.

Akureyri, Travel guide – Transport

Getting to Akureyri is easier by plane, the city housing one of the most important airports in the country, the Akureyri International Airport. The airport serves especially domestic flights except the summer months when tourists arrive in large numbers and the airport is the destination for several international flights from Europe.

There is also a road system connecting the city with Reikjavik and other cities so you can rent a car to visit the surroundings because the roads are open and practicable all year round.

Traveling by boat or ferry is another frequent option for tourists, the port being a popular destination for cruise ships in the warm season.

Within the city one can travel by bus which is free or by taxi. The ones who drive their own or rented cars can park freely in the city but the parking is limited for a certain period of time.

Akureyri, Travel guide – Population and Economy

Akureyri numbers only 17.000 inhabitants, which is actually a lot for a city in Iceland, and is the second largest in the country after the capital. The city is an important port, trade and fishing centre playing a major role in the country’s economy. Tourism is also an important part of the city’s life, the numerous cultural and natural attractions being highly appreciated by tourists from all over the world and visited intensively throughout the summer months.

Akureyri, Travel guide – Cuisine

Traditional cuisine in the area and entire Iceland too, is mainly lamb meat, seafood, wild mushrooms, seaweed and other such locally found ingredients. The meat and fish are usually consumed dried, smoked or pickled together and served with the traditional rye bread. Some of the most interesting and unique specialties here are the Porramatur, an assortment of traditional products usually made of meat, svio, made of a boiled sheep’s head, slátur, sheep intestines cooked in a sheep stomach, fermented shark meat and many other dishes with smoked or wind dried fish.

Desserts are usually made with fresh wild berries like the skyr, a mix of cream, yoghurt and wild berries or randalin, a tasty cake served with blueberry jam.

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