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Often described as the capital of north Iceland, the country's second-largest city is both vibrant and pretty, and serves as an ideal hub for exploring the incredible landscape that surrounds it.
Located at the head of a 60-kilometer fjord—the country’s longest—and surrounded by snow-streaked mountains, Akureyri was originally settled in the 9th century and was first officially mentioned as a city in the 16th century. Today it boasts a population of around 17,000, a scenic harbor and an array of interesting shops, buzzy cafés and upscale restaurants. Its main sights include the Akureyri Church, a wonderful botanical garden (founded in 1912) and the fascinating Akureyri Museum.
From here it’s possible to explore some of the country’s most memorable landscapes, starting with Akureyri’s own fjord, Eyjafjörður, where you'll find several museums (including the Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum), fishing villages like Grenivík and plenty of dramatic mountain scenery. Farther afield are the island of Grímsey, the volcanic wonderland of Lake Mývatn and a whole host of waterfalls, gorges, churches and saga sites.