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Iceland Mag

Local Recommendations

Everything only takes five minutes in Akureyri

By Sara McMahon

  • Sigurður Karl Jóhannsson, owner of restaurants Strikið and Bryggjan, maintains the Botanic Garden in Akureyri is the perfect spot to unwind. Photo/Auðunn Níelsson

Sigurður Karl Jóhannsson, owner of restaurants Strikið and Bryggjan, shares his favourite spots in and around his home-town of Akureyri with our readers.


What not to miss while in Akureyri:
“There are plenty of interesting museums to visit in Akureyri. Among those are the Akureyri Museum and Nonni’s House, a museum dedicated to the children’s book author and Jesuit priest Jón Sveinsson. Both museums are located in Aðalstræti Street, the town’s oldest thoroughfare. I recommend a leisurely walk around the old part of town, the old houses from the turn of the 20th century are charming to look at.”
“For a bit of relaxation, the swimming pool is the place to visit.”
“The Viking shop which is situated in the city centre offers a great selection of hand-made Icelandic woollen sweaters. They are a good investment for those traveling around the country, and whoever wears them automatically becomes Icelandic.”
"There’s a lovely new café located in the Botanic Garden."

Best place for some peace and quiet:
“The Botanic Garden in Akureyri is the perfect spot to unwind and have a little picnic in beautiful surroundings. Plants from every corner of the world can be found in the garden and time really does fly while there.”

Favourite café or bar:
“This is a tough question because the town is full of wonderful cafés and bars. I guess it depends on the mood you’re in. There’s a lovely new café located in the Botanic Garden and there are many more in the city centre.”


Best day-trip from Akureyri:
“There are countless possibilities for pleasant day-trips from Akureyri. One can easily visit the towns of DalvíkÓlafsfjörður and Siglufjörður in one day. The three towns are all very different and have a lot to offer visitors.”

The best family activity:
Akureyri is a town well suited for families. It has numerous playgrounds and areas for outdoor activities. For avid hikers, I recommend a walk up Súlur, the mountain that sits above the town. It’s a scenic route and the view from the top is breath-taking. Those who’d rather drive could do a trip around Eyjafjörður Fjord. On the way one will find lovely, old churches and interesting museums.”

What’s the best thing about living in Akureyri:
“The size of the town. And the fact that children can walk to wherever they need to go.”

Some maintain that Northerners are different from Southerners, is that true?
“No, that’s just a myth. The only difference is that people in Akureyri live in closer proximity to nature and each other. The town is small and there’s a strong sense of community among its inhabitants. Another quality is that everything only takes “five minutes”. You can drive the kids to school, pick up your colleague and grab a coffee to go, all in a mere five minutes.”

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