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Hotels of Akureyri

A hotel in Akureyri is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Akureyri hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Akureyri are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Akureyri hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Akureyri hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Akureyri have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Akureyri
An upscale full service hotel facility in Akureyri that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Akureyri hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Akureyri
Full service Akureyri hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Akureyri
Boutique hotels of Akureyri are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Akureyri boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Akureyri may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Akureyri
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Akureyri travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Akureyri focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Akureyri
Small to medium-sized Akureyri hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Akureyri traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Akureyri hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Akureyri
A bed and breakfast in Akureyri is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Akureyri bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Akureyri B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Akureyri
Akureyri hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Akureyri hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Akureyri
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Akureyri hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Akureyri lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Akureyri
Akureyri timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Akureyri often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Akureyri on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Akureyri
A Akureyri motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Akureyri for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Akureyri motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Akureyri

2014-04-30 14-09-41 Iceland - Akureyri Akureyri.jpg
Skyline of Akureyrarkaupstaður
Coat of Arms of Akureyri.png
Coat of Arms of Akureyri
Akureyri map.png
Location of the Akureyri Municipality
Region Northeastern Region
Constituency Northeast Constituency
Mayor Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson
Area 138 km (53 sq mi)
Population 18,191
Density 131.18/km (339.8/sq mi)
Municipal number 6000
Postal code(s) 600, 601, 602, 603, 611, 630
Website akureyri.is

Akureyri [ˈaːkʰʏrˌeiːrɪ] is a town in northern Iceland. It is Iceland's second largest urban area (after the Capital Region) and fourth largest municipality (after Reykjavík, Hafnarfjörður, and Kópavogur).

Nicknamed the Capital of North Iceland, Akureyri is an important port and fishing centre. The area where Akureyri is located was settled in the 9th century but did not receive a municipal charter until 1786. The town was the site of Allied units during World War II. Further growth occurred after the war as the Icelandic population increasingly moved to urban areas.

The area has a relatively mild climate due to geographical factors, and the town's ice-free harbour has played a significant role in its history.

Akureyri: History

Akureyri in the late 19th century

The Norse Viking Helgi magri (the slim) Eyvindarson originally settled the area in the 9th century. The first mention of Akureyri is in court records from 1562 when a woman was sentenced there for adultery. In the 17th century, Danish merchants based their camps at the current site of Akureyri, which was one of the numerous spits of land in Pollurinn. The main reasons for choosing this spot for trading operations were the outstanding natural harbour and the fertility of the area. The merchants did not live at Akureyri year-round but returned home in the winter.

Permanent settlement at Akureyri started in 1778, and eight years later, the town was granted its municipal charter by the king of Denmark (and at the time Iceland also) along with five other towns in Iceland. The king hoped to improve the living conditions of Icelanders by this action because at the time, Iceland had never had urban areas. As far as the king was concerned Akureyri was unsuccessful, because it did not grow from its population of 12. It lost its municipal status in 1836 but regained it in 1862. From then on Akureyri started to grow because of the excellent port conditions and perhaps more because of the productive agricultural region around it. Agricultural products became an important sector of the economy.

Akureyri, with Hlíðarfjall behind, viewed from the eastern shore of Eyjafjörður, morning November 2007

During World War II, Akureyri was one of three air bases used by the Norwegian-British No. 330 Squadron RNoAF. The squadron, which was formed on 25 April 1941, flew Northrop N-3PB bombers: 'A' flight was based at Reykjavík, 'B' flight at Akureyri and 'C' flight at Budareyri (Reyðarfjörður now). On 1 December 1940, 'A' and 'B' flights ceased operating from Norwegian bases, but 'C' flight continued to fly Northrop N-3PBs from Akureyri until 5 April 1943. No. 330 Squadron RNoAF also operated Catalina flying boats from Akureyri, which protected convoys from the United States to the United Kingdom and Murmansk from attack by German submarines.

In the 20th century, Iceland experienced an exodus from the countryside to the towns. Commerce and service industries grew to be the primary employers in Akureyri in the 1990s. Jón Sveinsson, a popular author of children's books, was born in Akureyri and died in 1944.

In the early 21st century, fishing industries have become more important in Akureyri as two of the major fishing companies of Iceland have become a more important source of revenue and are expected to grow further in coming years. The University of Akureyri was founded in 1987 and is growing rapidly.

Since 2004, the former municipality of Hrísey, an island 35 kilometres (22 miles) to the north, has been a part of Akureyri. Hrísey, which has a population of 210, is the second largest island off Iceland and is a site for pet and livestock quarantine. The settlement was previously the site of fishing processing. The town is located on the southern part of the island. The northern part consists of privately owned land that requires passes to enter.

Aerial panorama of Akureyri, taken in June 2017
Skjaldarvik Guest House sits along the Eyja fjord, as seen from this aerial panorama taken in June 2017

Akureyri: Geography

The Glerá River

Akureyri is located at  / 65.683; -18.100  / 65.683; -18.100 and positioned on the west side of the inland end of the fjord Eyjafjörður.

It is surrounded by mountains, the highest being Kista (1,447 metres (4,747 feet); 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to the west) and another peak of 1,538 metres (5,046 feet) at the head of Glerádalur, 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) to the SW. There is a narrow coastal strip of flat land; inland is a steep but low hill. In earlier times a few spits of land (Icelandic: eyri, thus Akur-eyri) jutted from the narrow coast, but a lot of land has since been reclaimed from the sea so that today the coastline is more even except for the largest spit, Oddeyri, which was formed by the river Glerá which runs through the town. It is thought that the name of the town is possibly derived from the name of a field which may have been situated near some of the sheltered locations by the river.

The body of sea between Oddeyri and the end of the fjord is known as Pollurinn ("The Pool") and is known for calm winds and a good natural harbour. Akureyri today is centered on Ráðhústorg (Town Hall Square) near the northwest corner of Pollurinn. The districts of Akureyri are: Innbær, the oldest part of town on the strip of land between the hill and Pollurinn south of the central area; Brekkan, on top of the hill; Oddeyri on the peninsula of the same name; and Glerárhverfi on the north bank of the Glerá (also referred to colloquially as Þorpið, 'the Village'). Because of the town's position at the head of a long fjord surrounded by high mountains, the climate is more typically inland than coastal, with greater variations in temperature (warmer summers, colder winters) than in many other inhabited parts of Iceland. However, the mountains shield the town from strong winds. The relatively warm climate (for its latitude) allows the Botanical Gardens to flourish without need of a greenhouse. The area around Akureyri has one of the warmest climates in Iceland even though it is only 100 km (62 mi) from the Arctic Circle.

Akureyri: Climate

Akureyri has a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc) bordering a subarctic climate (Dfc) with cold though not severe winters and mild summers. The snow cover starts forming in late October and melts in April, yet snow can lie on the mountain peaks around Akureyri for the whole year. Akureyri is a very cloudy town, averaging only 1047 sunshine hours annually, with barely any sunshine between November and February, but precipitation is much lower than in southern Iceland because the prevailing winds are from the south - it is as little as a fifth as much as in Vík í Mýrdal.

Climate data for Akureyri, Iceland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.0
Average high °C (°F) 0.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.2
Average low °C (°F) −5.5
Record low °C (°F) −21.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 55.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0mm) 11.1 8.3 9.8 6.2 4.8 6.4 7.3 7.1 7.9 11.0 10.9 11.3 102.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 6.2 36.4 77.5 129.0 173.6 177.0 158.1 136.4 84.0 52.7 12.0 0.0 1,042.9
Mean daily sunshine hours 0.2 1.3 2.5 4.3 5.6 5.9 5.1 4.4 2.8 1.7 0.4 0.0 2.85
Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory
Source #2: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)

Akureyri: Demographics

On January 1, 2015 Akureyri had a population of 18,191; of whom there were 9,011 males and 9,180 females. About 3% of the population are foreign citizens, from 53 different countries. In 2014 there were 229 births and 118 deaths in Akureyri. Immigration in 2014 was 1,097 individuals while emigration was 1,122 residents. Population growth in 2014 was therefore 0.5%. The population in 1910 was 2,239, increasing to 7,711 in 1950 and 16,756 in 2005.

Akureyri: Crime

Crime statistics have been published by the Iceland national police for 2000. Akureyri had a reported 726 non-traffic offences per 10,000 population compared with a national average of 892, while 2,891 traffic offences per 10,000 population were recorded compared with a national average of 2,397. Akureyri has five police officers on call. There have been incidents when there were insufficient police officers on duty to respond to criminal activity in progress, as confirmed by the mayor. However, Akureyri, and Iceland in general, has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Akureyri: Economy

Cruise ship in the harbour

The fishing industry has historically been a large and important part of the local economy. In recent years, other industry and business services have also begun. Higher education is also a growing sector in the local economy. Twenty percent of the work force is in the service industry.

Two of the five largest fishing companies in Iceland are headquartered in Akureyri, partly because of the ice-free port. Other large companies in Akureyri include Samherji, Norðurmjólk, Brim hf, and Vífilfell, the largest brewery in Iceland. Sjúkrahús Akureyrar (FSA/Akureyri Hospital) is a major employer in the area and is one of two major hospitals in Iceland.

Corporations pay a tax rate of 18% to the national government, which is one of the lowest in the world. There are no additional local corporate taxes. Property tax, at 1.99%, accounts for most of the tax base. A local government deficit of ISK 1 billion (US$9 million) was anticipated in 2009 prompting a cut in salaries of the mayor, town councilors, and committee members by 10% and increases in local taxes and property taxes.

Akureyri: Culture

Hlíðarfjall ski slopes just west of the town

Akureyri has a robust cultural scene, with several bars and reputable restaurants (such as "Greifinn", "Bautinn", "RUB 23 Steak/Sushi", "Kung Fu sushi bar" and "Götubarinn"). The Icelandic folk dance ensemble "Vefarinn" comes from Akureyri. Folk culture in general is more prevalent in Akureyri than in Reykjavík. During the summer there are several festivals in Akureyri and its surroundings. One example is the medieval festival held every summer at Gásir. The Akureyri International Music Festival, a concert series by bands, was held for the fourth time in 2009. The town has one of the largest libraries in the country.

Akureyri: Media

The Vikudagur newspaper is published in Akureyri. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (Ríkisútvarpið) operates two radio channels nationwide. There are several radio stations in Akureyri, including FM Akureyri and Voice FM 98.7. Several television stations can be watched in Akureyri. N4 is a station whose studios are located in Akureyri. Initially a local channel, it began to broadcast nationwide in 2008.

Akureyri: Townscape

The town centre of Akureyri.

Sites that have been cited as areas of interest include various museums, churches, and the Botanical Gardens. Local museums include the Minjasafnið á Akureyri (Akureyri Museum), Listasafnið á Akureyri (Akureyri Art Museum), Nonnahús (Nonni house or Jón Sveinsson Memorial Museum, for the writer), Davíðshús (David's house or Davíð Stefánsson Memorial Museum, for the poet), Akureyri Museum of Industry, a motorcycle museum, and Flugsafn Íslands (Aviation Museum). The most northerly 18 hole golf course in the world is in the town. The Náttúrufræðistofnun Norðurlands (Nature Museum) was opened in 1957 and is in the grounds of the Akureyri Botanical Garden. The Botanical Gardens (Lystigarður Akureyrar) are located in Spítalavegur. Large churches include the Akureyrarkirkja (The church of Akureyri) and Glerárkirkja (The church of Glerá). Sundlaug Akureyrar is a swimming pool in Akureyri.

New residential and commercial growth has required an extension of electricity and water distribution as well as new water drilling. Much of the town is heated geothermally.

Akureyri: Administration

Akureyri: Law and government

Akureyri is governed by a town council, directly elected by those over 18 with registered domicile in the town. The council has eleven members, who are elected for four-year terms. The mayor is appointed by the council: usually one of the council members is chosen, but they may also appoint a mayor who is not a member of the council.

The last elections to the town council were held on May 31, 2014. The People's List (Listi fólksins), which won an outright majority in 2010, and The Town List (Bæjarlistinn) merged into L-list, The Town List of Akureyri. They had seven representatives together but now have only two, 18.8%. The Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) received the most votes, three seats in the council, 25.8%, instead of only one before. Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) and Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn) both got 2 seats each, instead of one each before. Left-Green Movement (Vinstri hreyfingin grænt framboð) and Bright Future (Björt framtíð) got one seat each. L-list, Social Democratic Alliance and Progressive Party formed a new majority in the council. The new majority decided that Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson, mayor of Akureyri since 2010, would continue to serve as mayor.

Akureyri: Timeline of mayors

  • 1919–1934 - Jón Sveinsson
  • 1934–1958 - Steinn Steinsen
  • 1958–1967 - Magnús Guðjónsson
  • 1967–1976 - Bjarni Einarsson
  • 1976–1986 - Helgi M. Bergs
  • 1986–1990 - Sigfús Jónsson
  • 1990–1994 - Halldór Jónsson
  • 1994–1998 - Jakob Björnsson
  • 1998–2007 - Kristján Þór Júlíusson
  • 2007–2009 - Sigrún Björk Jakobsdóttir
  • 2009–2010 - Hermann Jón Tómasson
  • 2010– - Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson

Akureyri: Twin towns - sister cities

Akureyri is twinned with:

  • Norway Ålesund, Norway
  • Canada Gimli, Manitoba, Canada
  • Finland Lahti, Finland
  • Russia Murmansk, Russia
  • Greenland Narsaq, Greenland
  • Denmark Randers, Denmark
  • Faroe Islands Vágur, Faroe Islands
  • Sweden Västerås, Sweden
  • Brazil Curitiba, Brazil

In 2007, a friendship and fisheries agreement was signed with Grimsby, United Kingdom which, according to Ice News, might lead to a twin cities designation in the future.

Akureyri also has a friendship city arrangement with Denver, Colorado, USA, with Icelandic citizen Sverrir Ragnarsson serving on the Board of Denver Sister Cities International since January 2017.

Akureyri: Education

The old building (Gamli Skóli) of the Menntaskóli, i.e. High School precinct in Akureyri.

There are two high schools (gymnasiums) in Akureyri, one of them being the second oldest in Iceland. The Menntaskólinn á Akureyri is a junior college in Akureyri and so is the Verkmenntaskólinn á Akureyri (Akureyri Vocational College). The University of Akureyri (Háskólinn á Akureyri) was founded in 1987. There are 3 faculties or colleges, the Faculty of Business and Science, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Faculty of Health Sciences. The university offers master's degrees in several subjects.

Akureyri: Transport

Akureyri: Airport

Aerial view of the fjord.

Akureyri Airport, one of four international airports in Iceland and the only international airport in the north of the country, was constructed in 1955 replacing the airstrip at Melgerdismelar further to the south. The current airport is mostly used for domestic flights, with seasonal scheduled international flights. Air Iceland flies several times a day to Reykjavík, and there are also domestic flights to Grímsey (a small island to the north) and to Vopnafjörður and Þórshöfn (both small settlements in NE Iceland). Since 2006, Iceland Express has operated scheduled flights from Akureyri to Copenhagen during the summer.

In 2007, Akureyri Airport had a passenger traffic level of 221,200 and 19,778 aircraft movements.

Akureyri: Marine port

The port of Akureyri is vital to the town, which largely bases its livelihood on fisheries. It is the site of large fish processing plants and has docking facilities for trawlers. It is also important for freight handling and for tourism, as cruise ships stop in Akureyri during the summer months. The ice-free nature of the port has been important in the town's establishment.

Akureyri: Bus

SBA-Norðurleið (Icelandic Bus Company - northern route) is an Akureyri-based company that provides a long-distance bus service to the town. Local bus services within Akureyri are provided by the SVA (Akureyri Bus Company), which does not charge fares. The cessation of fares in 2008 resulted in an increase of 130% in passenger numbers compared to the previous year when fares were charged.

Akureyri: Roads

Route 1 or the Ring Road (Þjóðvegur 1 or Hringvegur) connects the town with the other parts of the country, including Reykjavík, which is 390 kilometres (242 miles) away. The road is mostly one lane in each direction, but is paved and open year-round. There are no paved roads from Akureyri to the unpopulated interior of the island. However, the F821 mountain road is open in summer: it climbs southwards from Akureyri and connects with the F26 mountain road across the interior to the SW of the country. Parking in the central area requires use of a parking disc indicating the time that parking has commenced. Parking is free but is limited in certain areas to a maximum period ranging from 15 minutes to 2 hours.

Akureyri was a setting in the tenth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, The Shooting Star where the ship Aurora stops at Akureyri.

Akureyri: Utilities

Akureyri has been heated geothermally since the late 1970s. Starting in 1928, there were unsuccessful attempts to develop geothermal energy. During this period, electricity and oil were used for heating. Construction of a geothermal distribution system was begun in 1976 after the discovery of a commercially viable source in 1975. Distribution was widespread by 1979.

The Laugaland field near Akureyri was the first geothermal source commercially developed. The Ytri-Tjarnir field followed. To obtain sufficient water flow, additional fields were developed at Botn in 1980, Glerárdalur 2 kilometres (1 mi) SW of the town in 1981, and Þelamörk 10 kilometres (6 mi) north of the town in 1992. Water temperature is generally 65 to 75 °C (149 to 167 °F) but can drop to 45 °C (113 °F) during hot summer days. The cost of geothermal production is, at 32 mill/kwh, higher than the Icelandic national average of 11, but slightly less than the cost of imported heating oil. There is diminishing excess capacity but there are known and untapped resources near the town. Furthermore, there have been proposals to reinject water to extend the life of the sources.

Akureyri: Sports

The Akureyri Golf Club is the second oldest golf club in Iceland behind The Reykjavík Golf Club. It was established in 1935 and is the annual location of The Arctic Open held each summer solstice. The town is also the birthplace of Icelandic footballers Birkir Bjarnason and Aron Gunnarsson, as well as mixed martial arts fighter Gunnar Nelson.

The town also has two football clubs; KA, who play in the Úrvalsdeild, and Þór who are in 1 deild karla. There is also an ice hockey team, Skautafélag Akureyrar, who have won the most championships in the Icelandic Hockey League with 17.

Akureyri: References

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Akureyri: References

  • AFE (2004). "Fresh Location" (PDF). AFE Investment promotion agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-14. .
  • Evans, Andrew (2008). Iceland. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 978-1-84162-215-6. .
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  • "Travel Guide for Akureyri". Akureyri Cultural and Marketing Office. (In Icelandic and English.)
  • "Port of Akureyri". port.is. (In English.)
  • "RES - The School for Renewable Energy Science". res.is. Archived from the original on 2016-01-21. (In English.)
  • University of Akureyri
  • SCA Shire of Klakavirki, based in Akureyri
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