With almost 20,000 inhabitants, Akureyri is known as the capital of the north. This article is about hiking in the vicinity of Akureyri. Hiking is one of the best ways to get in touch with nature, and you do not have to go far outside of Akureyri for a great hike.
Hiking trails range from family-friendly to challenging and unique, offering options for those looking for a leisurely stroll as well as avid hikers. Always check the weather forecast before you set off, as the Icelandic weather can change in a heartbeat, and it is good to be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment and leave your travel plans on www.safetravel.is if you are going on a longer hike.
Glerárdalur is an uninhabited valley southwest of Akureyri, named after the river Glerá. There is a 11km hiking trail with a gentle slope leading down the valley to mountain hut Lambi, which needs to be booked beforehand if you want to use it. Newly developed trails connect the valley to recreational area Kjarnaskógur and Mt. Hlíðarfjall.
Naustaborgir is a nature reserve southwest of Akureyri with lots of family-friendly tracks. During the summer months, Naustaborgir offers a fun and easy walk to a bird-watching shelter overlooking a low-lying wet land with grassy vegetation. Often sighted bird species include the whimbrel, godwit, common snipe, several species of gulls, the white wagtail, and the meadow pipit.
Hrísey is a small island of 11,5 square kilometres close to Akureyri with high cliffs on the east coast and sand beaches on the west and south coast. Access to the island’s northern side is limited as it is privately owned and protected because eider ducks breed there, but the south side where the village is, has plenty good hiking options. You can read more about Hrísey in this article.
Krossanesborgir is a nature reserve north of Akureyri with beautiful coastal trails and lots of bird watching opportunities in summer. No less than 27 bird species nest there, including the arctic tern, black-headed gull, herring gull, and the black-tailed godwit. With 190 plant species, vegetation is also diverse. In autumn, locals like to go berry picking in the area.
Skólavarða (School cairns) is a cairn in the Vaðlaheiði mountain range on the eastern side of Eyjafjörður fjord, opposite Akureyri. A popular round trip to the cairn takes two+ hours on a straight, but steep path, starting from the parking lot. From the cairn, you can see Akureyri, Eyjafjörður fjord, and Fnjóskadalur valley if you walk east up on the mountain.
Mt. Súlur is Akureyri’s much-loved “town mountain”. The hike up Mt. Súlur takes about 4.5 hours from the parking lot and has an elevation of 800m. From the top, you get beautiful views of Akureyri and Eyjafjörður fjord. It is also possible to start this hike from downtown Akureyri, then you need to add 2 hours one way to the hiking time.