Akranes is a town of about 5.000 inhabitants at just 49 km away from the capital city Reykjavik. If you compared this data with the population in many other cities around Iceland, we could of course say it is an important location…and it surely is! It holds the title of the capital of West Iceland. Unlike Borgarnes (another important city in Western Iceland), Akranes does not lie by the Ring Road N1, so to get to the town you would need to make a 9km detour.
Akranes also has an interesting history. Original settlers were two brothers that came from Ireland back in the 9th century. The town slowly grew and became a fishing village. Nowadays the fishing industry is one of the most important business and source of employment for its inhabitants. The city is expected to grow more in the upcoming years as infrastructures develop and the connection between Akranes and Reykjavik gets better.
If you are expecting a cute tiny Icelandic looking town, this is not the place to go. This of course does not mean there is not any charm in Akranes! Do not get me wrong as there are still plenty of reasons why you should visit it. Akranes sort of looks like a small industrial city with some mercantile-looking buildings. So you may be wondering, then, why should I visit Akranes? And in this post we will show you some reasons why the capital of Western Iceland has more than meets the eye.
What to visit:
Something that can easily be found in Akranes are museums! There are some great exhibitions there with many interesting topics for everyone to enjoy such as:
- Akranes Folk Museum: Anything you need to know or learn about the Icelandic culture, daily lives of the first settlers and daily life in modern Iceland information can easily be found here.
- Iceland sports Museum: open to the public since 2002 it offers an approach to all the achievements Iceland has made in sports. From Olympic champions to football or even NBA players.
If you prefer to be outdoor and enjoying the nature, then do not miss:
- Langisandur: It translates to “Long sand” and it is a Blue Flag beach. Should you fancy a refreshing dip? This is definitely the place to go!
- Akrafjall: It is the city mountain. If you decide to do a one-day climb, you will for sure have some amazing views
- Lighthouse: you will have some amazing views to the volcanic area as you can go up to the top.
Akranes – The capital of Western Iceland
Where to Stay:
- Apotek Hostel & Gueshouse: It is close to the city center and close to the beach. Exceptional location! You can even walk there if you please. This accommodation offers rooms with shared bathroom but some of them have a private one. Free WIFI and free parking.
- Teigur Guesthouse: within walking distance from the city center, close to some great museums this guesthouse offers a rooms with shared facilities but also private apartments. The beach is right in front of the guesthouse!
So now you know! If you happen to be heading west, you can be sure Akranes can be a warm, cozy and welcoming town awaiting to be discovered!