Akranes is a harbor town and municipality on the West coast of Iceland. On a bright day, you can even see it from Reykjavík which is located only about a 45 minutes driving distance away. The area of Akranes was first settled in the 9th century by two brothers by the name of Þormóður and Ketill but they came all the way from Ireland.
The actual town of Akranes like we know it today started to form around the mid 17th century and like most towns in Iceland was characterized by fishing and fisheries. In the year 1942 Akranes formally became a chartered municipal and so followed the biggest growth in its population in history. The focus spread from solely fishing to aluminum and cement, but working plants were not located in the town, one for each element.
The town has recently gained a lot of fans through its delicious restaurants and travelers are going out of their way to see what all the fuss is about. So should you!
Photo by Helgarun Wikimedia Commons
Fun Facts about Akranes
- Akranes has a surprisingly big population for Iceland, over 7000 people live in the municipality and the number is only growing.
- The town has a fantastic soccer team, ÍA. Their uniforms are yellow and blue.
- An undersea tunnel leading to Akranes opened in 1996 shortening the drive from Reykjavík by an hour, it is now free to pass through
Where is Akranes located?
GPS POINTS N64° 19′ 17.748″ W22° 4′ 28.776
Akranes is located at the brim of the peninsula between Borgarfjörður and Hvalfjörður, in the Western part of Iceland. Only about 50 kilometers away from the capital Reykjavik and 39 kilometers from the town of Borgarnes.
How to get to Akranes?
Driving from Reykjavik to Akranes is a short drive, only about 45 minutes. You simply follow Ring Road 1 out of town through Mosfellsbær, past Mt. Esja and through Hvalfjardargong undersea tunnel at the roundabout you take the turn marked Akranes and continue on road 51 all the way there.
Your second option is to take the public bus number 57.
The third option is for those traveling to Akranes in summer but a ferry, named Akranes like the town, goes three times a day from downtown Reykjavík to Akranes and takes about 25 minutes each way.
What to do at Akranes?
- Explore the Old lighthouse, Reykjanesviti – Icelanders have this never-ending fascination with lighthouses, but this one is a favorite of many! Pay a small fee to get to the top for some breathtaking views.
- Bathe in Guðlaug – a whole new natural pool experience!
- Visit The Akranes Folk Museum – for a sight into the history of the region!
- Take a dip in the local swimming pool – soak yourself in the Icelandic culture at the Akranes Pool
- Hike Akrafjall Mountain – for splendid views over Akranes and beyond.
- Stop at Dularfulla Budin – market, tavern and a museum with steampunk decor!
Photo by Ævar Guðmundsson
Annuals Events and Festivals at Akranes
Sjómannadagurinn | The Sailor’s Day
The 1st Sunday in June is dedicated to the sailors of the country and all their hard work and sacrifice. Celebrated all around the country but especially in towns into fisheries. People play games enjoy musical acts and night-time dances. Join the celebrations downtown and ask around for the dance!
17th of June | Iceland’s National Day
Parades and artistic acts all around the country, people dressed in their finest and plenty of cotton candy!
Írskir Dagar | Irish Days
The first weekend in July is celebrated in the town. People dress in Lopapeysa the Icelandic wool sweater and party all day and night. There is even a competition in the who has the reddest hair!
Where to eat at Akranes? | Akranes Resturants
- Gamla Kaupfelagid – Lobster soup, lobster pasta, beef and everything between in top quality!
- Galito – cheesy pizzas like you wouldn’t believe, tasty lobster, tex mex and anything you can think of done fantastically – recommended!
- Café Kaja – a healthier option with great variety, this one never fails and has the reviews to prove it!
- Lesbokin Cafe – a super cozy café with delicious bread, soup and of course, coffee!
- Skokkin Café – a good place to taste traditional icelandic coffee shop goodies!
- Brauð og Kökugerðin – a bakery offering all the Icelandic classic baked goods!
Where to stay at Akranes?
- Akranes HI Hostel
Guesthouses, B&B and Apartments
- Teigur Guesthouse
- Melur Guesthouse
- Akra Guesthouse
- Gallery Guesthouse
Camping at Akranes
The camping site at Akranes is located in Kalmansvik a stunning bay in the outskirts of the town. The views and amazing and the campgrounds offer top of the line facilities; Showers, toilets, washing machines (400 ISK), dryers (400 ISK), electricity (900 ISK) and more!
Price per night per adult (16+) 1200 ISK.
Open from the 5th of May to the 31st of December.
Music Videos, Films or TV Shows filmed at Akranes
Olafur Arnalds – Old Skin (2013) The Icelandic Arctic Olafur filmed part of his video at the Akranes lighthouse
Fast and the Furious 8 (2017) In one of the scenes you will see the old abandoned cement factory by the harbor.
Interesting places near Akranes
- Langisandur Beach
- Hvalfjörður Tunnel
- Deildartunguhver Hot Springs
- Krauma Geothermal Baths
- Glymur Waterfall
- The Museum of War and Peace
- Borgarnes Town
- Gerðuberg Basalt Cliffs