What to do in Akureyri during the winter

Magazine What to do in Akureyri during the winter

The town of Akureyri, with a population of around 18.600, is often called The Capital of North of Iceland. The town is on the west side of the inland end of the fjord Eyjafjörður. Surrounded by mountains, Akureyri is a popular tourist destination all year round.

 

During winter, people flock to the town to ski in Mt. Hlíðarfjall, 5 km above the town. The elevation of the ski slopes ranges from 500-1000 metres above sea level. There is a ski rental on Mt. Hlíðarfjall that has complete range of equipment for alpine, telemark, snowboard and cross country skiing. They also have snowblades and sledges. At Mt. Hlíðarfjall they offer group lessons for children age 5-12 and private lessons for younger kids.

 

The Big Jump Festival, AK Extreme, will be held on April 6-9. Events are scheduled at Mt. Hlíðarfjall and downtown Akureyri. For the main event they will construct a Big Jump set up of 15 shipping containers in the middle of town. Then they’ll premiere a so-called AK-X Downhill Competition at Mt. Hlíðarfjall where the competitors start at the top of the mountain and race for the bottom.

 

The Donald Duck ski competition will take place in Mt. Hlíðarfjall on April 19-22. The competition is intended for kids from 6-15 who will have fun and compete in cross country skiing, alpine skiing and snowboarding. Every night, social events and prize ceremonies are hosted down town.

 

Akureyri Thermal Pool is worth a visit and one of the most popular attractions in town. Two 25m outdoor pools, pummeling water jets, water slides, splash pool, an indoor pool, four hot pots, steam bath and sauna. All the pools are heated by natural geothermal water so you can enjoy swimming even though the outside temperature is below zero.

 

Museums

You can visit interesting museums, galleries and exhibitions in Akureyri. To mention few of them:

 

In Akureyri Folk Museum is the collection related to cultural history and there you can imagine the daily lives of people in the Eyjafjörður district long ago. (http://www.minjasafnid.is/?m=page&f=viewPage&id=38)

 

Akureyri Art Museum has played a prominent role in the cultural life of Akureyri. It was the first of it’s kind outside Reykjavík to concentrate solely on visual arts. (http://www.listak.is/en)

 

You can visit the Aviaton Museum during winter on Saturdays and by arrangement and get to know the story of aviation in Iceland. There are numerous photographs and detailed text that present an account of pilots. The museum also contains aircrats. (http://www.flugsafn.is/index.php?lang=en)

 

Akureyri Museum of Industryis open during winter on Saturdays and relates to industry in Akureyri during the last century with a special emphasis on branches of industry and companies involved in such activities. The museum displays machinery, products and pictures of people at work. (http://www.idnadarsafnid.is)

 

Tours and activities

In Akureyri there are several travel agencies and tour operations that offer different kind of tours and activities. You can go on husky tours where you’ll be pulled by huskies on a sledge, you can go on ice-fishing and ice climbing, go on snow cat tours, snowmobile tours or snowshoing. (https://www.yourperfectdayiniceland.is/en/daytours-activities/north-discovery)

 

The Northern Lights are one of Iceland’s top natural attractions. When the Northern Lights are bright, you can easily see them from just about every street in town, but Akureyri is also a great base if you want to go on organized northern lights tour. You can choose a day trip from Akureyri on 4X4 jeep safari tour, a photo tour with a professional guide or a 2.5-hour day trip.

Keep in mind that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon so sightings cannot be guaranteed.

 

You’ll find the magical world of Christmas in The Christmas Garden, Jólagarðurinn, that’s 10 minutes drive from the center of Akureyri. There they play Christmas melodies and sell Christmas decorations from all over the world – like the Icelandic Yule lads. The red house resembles a cookie house.

 

If you rent a car, you can reach some of North Iceland’s most popular destinations within an hour, like Lake Mývatn where the surroundings are adventurous and the Goðafoss waterfall. A day trip to the Hrísey island, often referred to as The Pearl of Eyjafjörður fjord, could be a good and interesting idea. The journy on a ferry from the mainland takes only about 15 minutes. The inhabitants are about 200 and you can walk in the peaceful village and enjoy the sight of the mointains on the mainland. For more information regarding rental cars, please visit Hertz.is.

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