Nestled in the heart of northern Iceland, Akureyri is a picturesque and lively town, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery. It is home to numerous museums, galleries, and cultural institutions that showcase Icelandic art and heritage. 

With stunning natural landscapes, including mountains, fjords, and hot springs, Akureyri is also a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy skiing, hiking, fishing, and other  activities, all within easy reach of the town. In this guide, we are going to cover all essential travel information about Akureyri. 

Akureyri, the Capital of the North

Akureyri is sometimes referred to as the "Capital of the North" due to its significant size, economic importance, and cultural influence within the northern region of Iceland.

Akueyri capital of the north iceland

As the largest town in North Iceland, Akureyri has a population of around 20,000 people and is known for its vibrant arts scene, outdoor activities, and high quality of life. It is home to many important institutions, such as hospitals, universities, and government offices, that serve the entire region. The town is also a hub for transportation, with an airport and major highway connections to other parts of Iceland. 

Akureyri’s city center is small and walkable, with colorful buildings, quaint shops, and cozy cafés. The town is also home to several museums, galleries, and cultural institutions that showcase Icelandic art and culture. In the winter months, Akureyri is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. 

Where is Akureyri located?

Akureyri is located in northern Iceland, on the western shore of the Eyjafjörður fjord, the longest fjord in Iceland. The town is surrounded by a stunning landscape of mountains, valleys, and coastal waters. To the north lies the Skjálfandi Bay, and to the west, the town overlooks the Greenland Sea. It’s approximately 380 kilometers (236 miles) driving distance from Reykjavik, the Capital of Iceland. 

Located in a subarctic region, Akureyri is at a latitude of approximately 65.7 degrees North and a longitude of approximately 18.1 degrees West. The town is situated about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. It is not technically located within the Arctic Circle. However, during the winter months, the town experiences long periods of darkness and cold temperatures due to its high latitude.

The Weather in Akureyri

Akureyri has a subarctic climate with cool summers and cold winters. Its seasonal changes are not that dramatic but each of them still has a hint of unique charm. The weather in Akureyri is quite variable throughout the year, and visitors should be prepared for cold temperatures, snow, and rain, even in the summer months. It's always a good idea to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, especially if you plan to participate in outdoor activities.

Here's an overview of the weather in Akureyri throughout the year:

Winter Spring Summer Fall
December-February March-May June-August September-November
Winter is the coldest season in Akureyri, with temperatures averaging around -2°C (28°F). Snow is common during this time, and the town experiences only a few hours of daylight each day. Spring in Akureyri is chilly, with temperatures ranging from -1°C to 6°C (30°F to 43°F). Snow and ice can linger well into April, but by May, the days are starting to get longer and milder. Summer is the mildest season in Akureyri, with temperatures averaging around 11°C (52°F) in July. The town experiences long daylight hours, with the sun setting for only a few hours each night. Fall in Akureyri is cool and wet, with temperatures ranging from 0°C to 7°C (32°F to 45°F). The days start to get shorter and darker, and snow can start falling as early as October.

What is the best time of year to visit Akureyri?

The best time to visit Akureyri depends on your interests and what you want to experience during your trip. Different seasons in Akureyri offer different experiences and the sights and their surroundings can be of completely different feelings. So plan well ahead and know what you expect.

The weather in Akureyri is typically colder than in other parts of Iceland, with temperatures ranging from -5°C to 15°C (23°F to 59°F) throughout the year. The warmest months are June through August, while the winter months can be quite cold and snowy. 

If you want to see the Northern Lights, the best time to visit is between September and April, when the nights are longest and the skies are darkest. However, the weather can be unpredictable, and there is no guarantee that you will see the lights. It’s best to keep a close eye on the weather report and Northern Lights’ KP index on the day so you are informed when the highest possibility is available. 

From November and April, when there is typically enough snow on the ground, it’s the best time to do skiing, snowboarding, or other winter sports.

The peak tourist season in Iceland is during the summer months (June through August), so if you want to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May or September.

How do you get to Akureyri?

There are several ways to get to Akureyri, depending on where you are coming from and your preferred mode of transportation.

Here are some options:


Renting a car to self-drive is very popular. The journey from Reykjavik to Akureyri takes around 4-5 hours, taking the most direct route via Route 1 and Route 83. There are several car rental companies available in Reykjavik and at Akureyri Airport.


The easiest and fastest way to get to Akureyri is by flying into Akureyri Airport (AEY). There are several domestic flights from Reykjavik and other locations in Iceland, as well as seasonal flights from other countries such as Denmark and Norway. Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect are the two airlines that offer flights to Akureyri.

Cruise ship

Akureyri is a popular port of call for many cruise ships that visit Iceland. The town's location on the Eyjafjörður fjord makes it accessible to larger ships, and many cruise lines include Akureyri on their itineraries of Iceland.


There are several bus companies that offer daily bus service to Akureyri from Reykjavik and other major towns in Iceland. Buses are comfortable and affordable, and the journey from Reykjavik takes around 5-6 hours.

Private Transfer

Private transfers are available from Reykjavik to Akureyri and can be arranged through local tour operators. This is a convenient option for those who prefer a more personalized service.

Please keep in mind that some transportation options may not be available year-round, and it's always best to check schedules and prices in advance.

Akureyri as a cruise port

A picturesque and welcoming cruise port, Akureyri is a popular stop for cruise ships visiting Iceland. Cruise ships typically dock at the Akureyri harbor, which is located in the city center. 

The harbor has two main piers: the North Pier and the South Pier. The North Pier is the main cruise ship dock and can accommodate large ships up to 250 meters in length. The South Pier is used for smaller vessels and fishing boats.

The cruise passengers can enjoy the sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and coastline, and the Akureyri harbor is within walking distance of the town center, and there are several attractions and amenities nearby, including restaurants, shops, and museums. Many tour operators and excursion companies also have offices or meeting points near the harbor, making it easy for cruise ship passengers to book tours and activities during their visit, including whale watching, Akureyri City Tour, sightseeing tours in the region, and many more. 

With its friendly locals, rich history and culture, and stunning natural surroundings, Akureyri is a unique and memorable destination for cruise passengers visiting Iceland.

*Please keep in mind that some attractions may require transportation or advance booking, so it's best to plan ahead to make the most of your time in the region.

Top attractions in Akureyri

Akureyri is known for its beautiful natural scenery and interesting cultural attractions. Some of the top tourist attractions in Akureyri include:

Popular sights in the Akureyri region

There are many top attractions located outside of Akureyri in the surrounding region, with the Diamond Circle Route being the most spectacular. Here are some popular destinations and activities:

The region surrounding Akureyri offers a wealth of natural beauty, history, and culture, making it a prime destination for travelers looking to explore the best of northern Iceland.

Things To Do in Akureyri

Akureyri and the surrounding region offer a variety of outdoor activities that take advantage of the area's stunning natural scenery. Some popular outdoor activities in Akureyri include:

The Accommodation in Akureyri

Akureyri offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. 


There are several hotels in Akureyri, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury properties. Some popular hotels in the city include the Icelandair Hotel Akureyri, Hotel Kea by Keahotels, and Hótel Edda Akureyri.


Guesthouses are a more affordable alternative to hotels and offer a more local, homely atmosphere. Some popular guesthouses in Akureyri include Guesthouse Brekka, Akureyri Backpackers, and Lava Apartments & Rooms.


Hostels are a great option for budget travelers or those looking for a more social atmosphere. Akureyri Backpackers and Akureyri Hostel are both popular options.

Vacation Rentals

There are several vacation rental options in Akureyri, including apartments, cottages, and cabins. These can be a great option for families or groups of friends traveling together. Some popular vacation rental websites to check out include Airbnb, Vrbo, and


There are several campsites in and around Akureyri, offering a more affordable and rustic accommodation option. Some popular campsites include Hamrar and Kjarnaskógur.

These are just some of the accommodation options available in Akureyri, and there are many other unique and interesting places to stay in the surrounding area as well.

Best Restaurants In Akureyri

Akureyri offers a range of dining options that showcase local Icelandic ingredients and flavors.

The most popular restaurants in Akureyri are:

There are many other dining options to explore in and around the city, and the town's charming ambiance with its sweet alleys and cozy streets will immediately enchant you. You may even stumble upon some unexpected and delightful eateries or even ice cream shops.

How Do You Pronounce Akureyri?

In Icelandic, the proper pronunciation of Akureyri is [ah-koo-rey-ree].

To break it down phonetically: "ah" sounds like the "a" in "father", "koo" rhymes with "blue", "rey" is pronounced like "ray", "ree" sounds like "ree" in "free". And the stress is on the second syllable.

The name "Akureyri" is believed to come from the Icelandic word "akur," which means "field" or "meadow," and "eyri," which means "bank" or "slope." So, "Akureyri" roughly translates to "field slope" or "meadow bank," likely referring to the town's location on a slope overlooking the Eyjafjörður fjord.

Best Tours from Akureyri

Akureyri in Iceland is a charming and vibrant town known as the "Capital of the North" for its significant economic and cultural influence in the region. Here are recommended tours to see this region.