Akureyri, Iceland’s Northern Metropolis

If you’re driving the northern end of the Ring Road, Akureyri will be the best resource for everything from travel needs to accommodations. Akureyri is like other towns on the north coast. It’s at the end of a long fjord and has a mountainous backdrop. It has a long history in Iceland and as a fishing port. But…

Eyjafjordur pull-off

The fjord countryside northeast of Akureyri

… But with a population of almost 20,000, the town is huge compared to the rest of the north. It has a distinctive church, supermarkets, restaurants, swimming pool, banks, tour operators, clothing and bookstores, harbor, museums, hospital, airport (with regular flights to Reykjavik), actual nightlife, etc.

Akureyri church

The church is up the hill from the town center.

Being centrally located, most of the guidebooks mention that Akureyri is a good choice to stay. And the town does have reasonably priced accommodations (included AirBnB). But my accommodation approach was to stay close to the good landscape shooting locations. That gave me more chances for the Golden Hour light.

So for me, Lake Myvatn, 1 1/4 hours further east, was the better choice. Myvatn has the natural beauty, volcanic areas, and is right between Godafoss and Dettifoss. That said, after a week on the Ring Road, my visit to Akureyri felt like indulgence and I could have spent the entire day eating, shopping and sightseeing.

Photo Choices Around Town

Lystigardur. There’s a good botanical garden a short walk south of the main square. It showcases the indigenous plants as well as more exotic ones and is a great place to recharge.

Kjarnaskogur. This forest park is a popular spot for residents — about 7 km south of town. Take the main road past the airport and airplane museum and turn onto Rt. 831.

Camera Shop. Yes, Akureyri has a camera store, Pedromyndir. They have batteries, chargers, filters, tripods, memory cards, bags, lenses for Nikon and Canon, GoPro cameras and accessories. The folks who work there are real photographers and have fair prices. And getting a new lens cap there meant my 16-35mm lens was protected for the first time in a week. The store is at 16 Skipagata just across the street from the main parking lot in town.  Phone:  +354 462-3520, email: pedromyndir@pedromyndir.is.

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Tip: The Berlin Cafe is a great location for breakfast, snacks and coffee. They also make excellent smoothies.

Next Up: The Northern Fjords

 

 

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