Saturday, 21 June 2014

Akureyri, Iceland's second:
- cafés and a botanic garden

The first time I ever red the name of Akureyri was in a Tintin (Hergé's comic hero) adventure, "The Shooting Star":

Akureyri was a main setting, the dock was even roughly depicted:

But I could not guess then what a remote northern location that was.

Akureyri is in fact an important port and fisheries centre in northern Iceland. It is Iceland's second largest town, in an area that has been settled from the 9th century.

Population: ~18 000
Coordinates: 65°41′ N, 18°06′ W

Akureyri is at the end of the Eyjafjördur, the longest fjord in the island, and is surrounded by mountains reaching 1500 m. The Arctic Circle in only 60 km north of Akureyri but  the climate is generally mild, with summer temperatures up to 25°C and winter temperatures in average around 0˚C.

The seafront old wooden houses.

Innbærinn, the old town.

The climate in Akureyri is relatively mild due to geographical factors, and the city's ice-free harbor in the Eyjafjördur has played a significant role in its history.

Akureyri city center, Hafnarstræti - the main street.

'Bláa Kannan' coffee house, right in the center.

The 'Blaa Kannan', in Hafnarstræti.

Windows of 'Blaa Kannan'

Shops in Hafnarstræti include Eymundsson bookstore:

Eymundsson book store, one of the town's places of culture.

The Turninn kiosk, a distinctive landmark.

Old Akureyri

The core of the town's character can be found in the Old Town of Akureyri - called Innbærinn.

Akureyri theater, a beautiful wooden building, built in 1906.

Several old timber houses participate in the town's relaxed atmosphere.

Aðalstræti 16

The docks

During the summer there are several festivals in Akureyri and its surroundings - as the medieval festival held every summer at Gásir, or the Akureyri Music Festival, for example. Akureyri has one of the largest libraries in the country. And besides a robust cultural scene, the town also has reputable restaurants, like RUB 23:

RUB 23, on Kaupvangsstræti

Another is the Bryggjan, by the fjord's waters, on Strandgata, the harbour promenade:

Bryggjan, a wooden house built in 1878.

The building's history is an inherent part of  Akureyri, being the oldest house on the harbour promenade.

The Botanical Gardens

Lystigarður Akureyrar, in the vicinity of Akureyri, are the most northerly botanical gardens in the world. Located about 45 feet above the waters of the Eyjafjörður and just about 50 km south of the Arctic Circle .

Founded in 1910, it's the first public park in Iceland. Besides being a place of peace and tranquility, the garden has been testing shrubs, trees and other plants surviving conditions at the edge of the Arctic.

Delphinium, in several varieties

Kaffi Björk

This recently built café displays a large window with a wooden frame that mirrors the tree trunks in the garden.

Large cruise ships became frequent visitors in the harbour - visiting the city and its fabulous surroundigns, like the fjord, the mountains and the famous Goðafoss

The town seems so small in comparison...

Goðafoss waterfall