If you think Reykjavík is perhaps too hectic and too busy for your taste, Akureyri is the perfect city to visit. Located in Eyjafjörður North Iceland, Akureyri is a cozy city with about 18,500 habitants, making it the fourth largest municipality in Iceland.

Luckily, it only takes a few hours to drive to Akureyri as it’s only 390 km (242 miles) away from Reykjavík. If you don’t have a car or are just not in the mood for a long drive, you can also take a bus or simply fly with Air Iceland Connect, our domestic airline. Here are some suggestions on how to get there, fast and easy but of course it’s a lot more fun to drive as the route is quite beautiful and has some great pit stops along the way.

There are plenty of things to do in Akureyri as it’s booming with culture and great atmosphere. Here are some things that you could easily check out if you have a day to spend in the capital of North Iceland:

Café Laut is a a small but very pretty café located in the botanical gardens in town. The main attraction isn’t only their food and drinks, but also the beautiful architecture of the house. Sadly, the café is only open during Summer. (at least as of now, August 2017)

Akureyri Swimming Pool is a water paradise for the whole family. There are two swimming pools, 25 meter long and recently, they introduced three new water slides and one of them is the longest water slide in Iceland. In addition, there are four hot tubs, sauna and an area for sunbathing so you’ll find something there that you like. The pool area is very popular with the locals as well as tourists so going to this one is a must! To go in you must pay 900ISK if you’re an adult but 200ISK for kids from 6-17 years old.

Akureyrarkirkja or the Church of Akureyri is a marvellous stone church located in the centre of the town, towering above on a hill. It was completed in 1940 and was designed by one of Iceland’s most famous architects, Guðjón Samúelsson. A visit inside the church is a must and also a run up the steps that lead to it.

Hof is Akureyri’s culture and conference centre and located by the sea close to the old harbour. The building was formally opened in 2010 and hosts concerts, shows, plays, exhibitions and other events, and if you’re in town, it’s at least fun to take a look inside and see if there’s something there that feasts your eyes.

Brynjuís is small local ice cream parlour that all Icelanders know and most definitely have been to at least once. It’s located in the old town of Akureyri and is a short walk from the centre. Don’t worry if you see a line of people standing outside, it goes by very quickly. The ice cream dish that’s the most popular is without a doubt ‘bragðarefur’ (english: flavor fox). Creamy ice cream mixed together with three sweet ingredients of your choice. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The Christmas Garden or Jólagarðurinn is located just outside of Akureyri, about a 10 minute drive (open all year around). In there you’ll experience the magic of Icelandic Christmas, even though the red cookie house doesn’t quite resemble a typical Icelandic house. Inside you can also find decorations from all over the world and selected handcrafts from local people. There, you can also find the world’s biggest Christmas calendar! So if you’re a fan of Christmas, Jólagarðurinn is something for you.

For more information about Akureyri and things to do, go to visitakureyri.is