Akureyri—called the Capital of the North—is the second largest urban area in Iceland, and a lively one at that. Hemmed by the 60-km (37-mile) long Eyjafjörður, Akureyri is sheltered from the ocean winds and embraced by mountains on three sides. Late 19th-century wooden houses impart a sense of history, and the twin spires of a modern Lutheran church—rising on a green hill near the waterfront—provide a focal point. To the south of Akureyri is the pyramid-shape rhyolite mountain Súlur. Beyond it is Kerling, the highest peak in Eyjafjörður District.
The shop sells woolens, knitting kits, sheepskin rugs, and other souvenirs.
From the church it's a short walk from the town center on Eyrarlandsvegur to the Lystigarðurinn, planted with around 420 species of Iceland's flora and around 7,000 foreign species, including rare Arctic and foreign plants.
Matthíasarhús, the house where the author of Iceland's national anthem, Matthías Jochumsson once lived, is now a museum.
The Minjasafnið has a large collection of local relics and works of art, old farm tools, and fishing equipment. It hosts interesting exhibitions representing life in Eyjafjordur and Akureyri from 874 until the early 20th century. There are special summer exhibitions and historical walks.
In June and July, make a point of taking an evening drive north from Akureyri along Route 82. The midnight sun creates breathtaking views along the coast of Eyjafjörður. Better still, take a cruise on the fjord: a ferry plies the waters of Eyjafjörður to and from the island of Hrísey, home of Galloway cattle, and out to Grímsey Island, 40 km (25 mi) offshore and straddling the Arctic Circle. Trips can be arranged through Nonni Travel.
The home of poet Davíð Stefánsson has a unique 60s Iceland atmosphere.
Akureyri Museum of Industry
Those with an interest in industry can visit the museum, which is located near the airport. The four exhibition halls detail the rather impressive industrial history of the region.