The best place you’ve never heard of! Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland but with a population of under 20,000 retains a real small-town charm. However, despite its size there’s loads of things to do when you get there. Discover traditional Icelandic cuisine and some incredible craft beers. Unearth some local hidden gems around the quaint city centre. Venture out of town and explore the rugged and wild North Iceland landscape with tours via bus, jeep or even on horseback! Take a boat trip out onto the fjord and spot whales and other wildlife. Alternatively, if sightseeing isn’t your thing, relax in the thermal pools, cleanse body and mind at the remote Bjórböðin spa or stroll through the wintry woodlands outside the town.
Here at Super Break we’re big fans of this fantastic destination so we’ve picked out some of the best things to do, sights to see and places to eat & drink in Akureyri…
A really eye-catching experience and an absolute must during a trip to Akureyri is the Bjórböðin Beer Spa. Bathe in a big tub filled with beer, water, hops and yeast. The still-fermenting beer has a cleansing effect on your skin and a positive effect on health (as long as you don’t drink too much while you’re in there obviously!) After 25 minutes, get out of the bath and head for the relaxation room and let the active ingredients take effect. Combine your trip to the beer spa with a tour of the neighbouring Bruggsmiðjan Brewery which includes five tastings of their amazing beers or dinner in Bjórböðin’s restaurant. The Bjórböðin Spa overlooks Eyjafjörður; the best way to enjoy the view is from the comfort of an outdoor hot tub. Imagine the warm water combining with the cold air, the ultimate in relaxation. You may even see the famous Northern Lights during your soak!
Take a whale watching trip on Eyjafjörður; a haven for whales due to the abundance of food, the deep water and the relatively warm temperature. While not a guarantee, sighting success is around 99% and the most common cetacean species is the magnificent humpback whale. The cinema-style seats on board ensure a comfortable journey and warm overalls are provided if the weather is particularly cold. Remember to wrap up warm anyway!
Looking forward to the exciting, climactic Season 8? Take a Game of Thrones tour from Akureyri up to the wildernesses around Lake Mývatn and discover some of the filming locations used in the epic series. Many of the scenes set “beyond The Wall” were filmed around Lake Mývatn and Dimmuborgir. Let your imagination run wild and you too can be “North of The Wall” with Jon, Ygritte, Mance Rayder and the legendary Tormund Giantsbane!
For a small place, Akureyri is surprisingly well served for bars, restaurants and cafes. The best way to discover Icelandic cuisine and some favourite local haunts is with an Akureyri Food Walk Tour. We’ve also picked out some great restaurants and bars here too. Remember to look out for Happy Hours where drinks are often half price!
For really traditional Icelandic fare head to Bautinn. Try a cheesy seafood gratin with black bread, pan-fried fish and Icelandic lamb shank. Or be really adventurous and taste grilled whale or even guillemot!
Múlaberg Bistro & Bar in Hotel Kea is located on one of the most scenic corners in town, right next to the iconic Akureyrarkirkja. The finest Icelandic ingredients combined with French, Italian and Danish influences make for an elegant dining experience. Best of all, Super Break guests staying at the Hotel Kea enjoy a 10% discount as well as a Super Break Happy Hour in the bar.
Rub23 specialises in seafood and offers an Asian twist on Icelandic favourites like fish and steak and even sushi. Try their tasting menus for a selection of the chef’s favourite dishes.
Brynja is the place to go for ice cream in Akureyri, maybe even in the whole of Iceland. It’s a favourite among the locals and there’s usually a queue, which is always a good sign.
R5 Micro Bar in the main city square serves cool, craft beer in a chilled atmosphere and is open until late, especially at weekends.
Wedged between two shops, the cosy and traditional Götubarinn has a great variety of drinks and a basic look, reminiscent of old Akureyri. Try Einstök Arctic Pale Ale, brewed in Akureyri, strong but easy to drink.
The symbol of the town, Akureyrarkirkja, towers above the town and may look familiar as it was designed by Gudjon Samuelsson, the architect who built the famous Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik.
Iceland is famous for its geothermal pools, the Blue Lagoon outside Reykjavik being the most well-known. But visitors to Akureyri can enjoy the super-heated water at Akureyri Thermal Pool in the city centre, it even has water slides and a steam room & sauna. It’s open all year round from 6:45am, perfect for an invigorating swim before breakfast!
Akureyri’s answer to the Blue Lagoon is Lake Mývatn Nature Baths. Remember to add entry to the baths onto your Lake Mývatn Adventure excursion and feel the benefits of the natural minerals and elements while bathing in the beautiful Arctic wilderness.
Are you planning a trip to North Iceland? Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments section below…