Some basic facts
Akureyri is the center of culture, education and leisure activities in North Iceland and is by far the largest community outside the Reykjavík capital area. It‘s a pretty town with lots of trees, stunning views and is 40km from the Arctic Circle.
Just 45 minutes by air or if you like the open road, five hours drive from Reykjavík, Akureyri is a town with well-developed services and offers a selection of attractions throughout the year. With a population of just over 17.000 people the town punches above its weight and you may be surprised by the range of what our friendly little town has to offer. We‘re perhaps a little biased as we live here, but we think it‘s the perfect location whether you‘re into museums and culture or the great outdoors.
In this area you can raft the most extreme rapids in Iceland, go skiing or whale watching and you can swim in a selection of fabulous, geothermallly heated outdoor pools. And we‘re a friendly bunch (we might have mentioned that already). We like it when travelers and tourists come to see us.
Well, you might be asking “Just how cold does it get up there, then?“ Akureyri has a mild climate during summer with the average temperature in July around 12.5 C and in the winter it averages around zero in the town.
Into your winter sports? You‘ve found the ideal spot. Now designated as the winter sports center of Iceland, Akureyri has some of the finest ski slopes in Iceland and is known for all kinds of winter activities, including snowmobiling, ski touring, snow scooters, ice fishing and mountaineering. The biggest ski area in Iceland is right on the town’s doorsteps, and in close by towns you’ll find several smaller ski areas.
Paradise for Nature Lovers
For water babies and nature lovers, a short distance away you’ll find the most beautiful natural wonders of Iceland, such as waterfalls, hot springs, canyons and volcanic areas. We’re also close to the gorgeous Lake Myvatn Nature Reserve where you‘ll find the bird life exceptionally varied and unique.
A sizeable community has developed around Myvatn. Here you can find bizarre natural lava sculptures standing out in and around the lake, while the geothermal fields are painted in all colors of the rainbow. Some way to the east, Jökulsárgljúfur National Park completes the north´s triangle of "musts" stretching along a majestic canyon which includes the thundering and roaring Dettifoss, Europe‘s most powerful waterfall.
The Akureyri Backpacker’s staff are all out going, cheery folk who love meeting new people and sharing their passion for Akureyri and the great, Icelandic outdoors. Got a question? No matter how big or small, we‘re at hand to help. Anything from what hiking routes to take, where you can get the best pizza in town, what‘s our number one tip as a local and whether or not you should go on a wild rafting adventure (the answer is always that you should). Our staff members are always happy to help.
The people of Akureyri are extremely active when it comes to culture and arts. Akureyri offers plenty of events and museums, cultural and history, most of them located in walking distance from Akureyri Backpackers. You can for example walk up and down the Arts' alley and explore the latest exhibitions. The staff at Akureyri Backpackers is more than happy to tell you more, but here are some of our favorites:
Center for visual arts (Sjónlistamiðstöðin)
The Green Hat *Our pick*
Happenings and Music Festivals
Akureyri Town Festival (Akureyrarvaka)
The Arctic Open Tournament if you love golf
Restaurants in Akureyri
Akureyri has a broad selection of restaurants, offering both Icelandic and International cuisine. When we‘re not chatting with guests and helping them plan their next big adventure, the staff at Akureyri Backpacker loves to go out for a nice, leisurely dinner, but, life being what it is, sometimes we‘re in a rush and need to have it as fast as possible. This is a selection of restaurants that we recommend:
Indian Curry Hut is a take away that serves, I dare to say, the best Indian food in Europe! *Our pick*
Bautinn has good Icelandic cuisine, whether you want to try whale, guillemot or the famous Icelandic meat soup.
Greifinn is famous for its delicious pizzas. Have you ever tried pizza with bacalao? Now‘s your chance.
Strikið is a top floor restaurant with a beautiful view of the fjord and great food! Special.
Múlaberg bistro & bar in Hotel Kea, This is where the finest Icelandic ingredients meet bistro cuisine under French, Italian and Danish influences, which makes Múlaberg bistro & bar a culinary adventure worth revisiting over and over.
Rub 23 is famous for its sushi. Ever tried a sushi pizza? What are you waiting for?
Shopping in Akureyri
Akureyri offers all kinds of shops; clothing, books, souvenirs, craft and design etc. Akureyri Backpackers is located on the main shopping street, Hafnarstræti, and the shopping mall is just a few minutes away. Here‘s a little more information on some shops:
Geysir is located in the same building as Akureyri Backpackers. If you want to buy Icelandic design, made of wool, this is the place to go.
Sirka is a beautiful store which sells Icelandic design and household goods.
Listfléttan is a gallery where you can buy paintings, sculpture and ceramics made by Icelandic artists.
Kista offers a great selection of Icelandic design. It‘s located at the Culture and Conference Center, Hof.
Shopping Mall Glerártorg is our shopping mall. Located just a few minutes from the city center, you can either walk or take the bus, which is free in Akureyri. For more information on stores available, visit Glerártorg's website or ask the staff at Akureyri Backpackers.
Nightlife in Akureyri
When it comes to nightlife, Akureyri offers something for everyone; bars, clubs, pubs etc. What does it mean to party in Iceland? Well, Icelanders start their parties late and party on until late in the morning. If you'd like to start your party early, you can start at our bar and head out to the parties later on.