48 Hours in Akureyri, Iceland: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

If you find yourself with just 48 hours to spare in Akureyri, the charming “Capital of the North” in Iceland, prepare to be amazed. Although often overshadowed by Reykjavik, Akureyri holds its own when it comes to natural beauty, unique experiences, and a vibrant cultural scene. From stunning landscapes to quirky attractions, here are 10 cool things you absolutely must do during your brief visit to Akureyri.

1. Visit the Akureyrarkirkja Church

Start your exploration of Akureyri by visiting the iconic Akureyrarkirkja Church. Perched on a hill overlooking the town, this magnificent Lutheran church boasts an impressive Gothic-inspired architecture and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding fjord. Step inside to admire the stunning organ and intricate woodwork, or simply revel in the serene atmosphere. Whether you’re a fan of architecture, history, or simply seeking a moment of tranquility, a visit to the Akureyrarkirkja Church is an absolute must.

2. Explore the Botanical Gardens

Akureyri’s Botanical Gardens are a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed. Despite being located in the arctic region, these gardens showcase an impressive collection of over 7,000 plant species, beautifully arranged across various themed sections. Take a leisurely stroll among the vibrant flowers, aromatic herbs, and unique flora, as you soak in the peaceful ambiance. The Botanical Gardens also house a lovely cafe, perfect for a refreshing pit stop amidst nature’s splendor.

3. Take a Dip in the Myvatn Nature Baths

Nestled in the geothermal wonderland of the Myvatn region, the Myvatn Nature Baths offer a rejuvenating experience like no other. Similar to the iconic Blue Lagoon, these natural mineral-rich hot springs provide the perfect opportunity to unwind and soak in the healing waters of Iceland’s volcanic landscapes. With its mesmerizing surroundings and soothing geothermal warmth, a visit to the Myvatn Nature Baths is an unforgettable and oh-so-cool experience.

4. Discover the Hidden World of the Herring Era Museum

Step back in time and uncover the fascinating history of Iceland’s herring fishing industry at the Herring Era Museum. Housed in restored warehouses by the waterfront, this interactive museum presents an immersive experience that takes you through the heydays of herring fishing in the early 20th century. Explore the replica fishing village, listen to captivating stories, and even dress up in traditional fishermen attire. This offbeat and intriguing museum provides a captivating glimpse into a forgotten era.

5. Marvel at Goðafoss Waterfall

Prepare to be awestruck by the majestic beauty of Goðafoss Waterfall, often referred to as the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Located just a short drive from Akureyri, this cascading wonder will leave you speechless as its glacial blue waters plunge into the canyon below. Admire the sheer power and elegance of the falls from various viewing platforms, or take a closer walk to truly appreciate its grandeur. Tucked away in the rugged landscapes of northern Iceland, Goðafoss Waterfall is a truly cool natural wonder.

6. Indulge in Icelandic Cuisine

No visit to Akureyri would be complete without savoring the local cuisine. From traditional Icelandic dishes to modern interpretations, the town offers a plethora of dining options to satisfy your taste buds. Try the tender and flavorful Icelandic lamb, indulge in freshly caught seafood, or sample the unique and adventurous fermented shark. For dessert, don’t miss out on the iconic Icelandic Skyr, a delicious and healthy dairy product. Akureyri’s culinary scene offers a cool and tasty journey through Icelandic flavors.

7. Soar Above the Arctic Circle in a Helicopter

For the ultimate adventure in Akureyri, why not take to the skies and soar above the Arctic Circle in a helicopter? Embark on a thrilling sightseeing tour that offers breathtaking aerial views of Iceland’s stunning landscapes, including volcanoes, fjords, and towering mountains. Witness the dramatic contrast between icy glaciers and lush valleys, and experience the unique perspective that only a helicopter can provide. This exhilarating activity is a surefire way to create unforgettable memories.

8. Shop for Local Products at the Christmas House

Step into a winter wonderland at the Christmas House, a charming store filled with festive cheer all year round. Browse through an incredible selection of Christmas decorations, ornaments, and gift ideas, all handmade by local artisans. From cozy knitwear and festive candles to traditional Icelandic souvenirs, this magical shop is the perfect place to pick up unique items and embrace the holiday spirit, regardless of the time of year.

9. Explore the Arctic Coastline on a Whale-Watching Tour

Akureyri’s prime location on the Arctic coastline makes it an ideal spot for whale-watching. Hop aboard a thrilling boat excursion and venture into Eyjafjordur, one of Iceland’s longest fjords, to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat. From humpback whales to dolphins and seals, the pristine waters of northern Iceland are home to a diverse range of marine life. An encounter with these majestic creatures is a cool and awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

10. Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife

Wrap up your 48 hours in Akureyri by immersing yourself in the town’s vibrant nightlife. Despite its small size, Akureyri offers a surprisingly lively scene, with numerous bars, pubs, and live music venues to choose from. Enjoy a local beer or sip on a creative cocktail as you mingle with friendly locals and fellow travelers. Whether you prefer a relaxed evening or a lively dance floor, Akureyri’s nightlife caters to every taste and offers a cool and memorable way to end your stay.

Akureyri may be small in size, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to cool things to see and do. From natural wonders to fascinating museums, cultural experiences, and culinary delights, this charming Icelandic town will leave you wanting to return for more. So, embrace the spirit of adventure, put on your warmest clothes, and get ready to embark on 48 hours of unforgettable experiences in Akureyri!