Akranes is a town in west Iceland, 50 km north of Reykjavik and can be reached via the underground tunnel that runs under the whale-fjord, Hvalfjördur. Akranes is the ninth largest town in Iceland with a population of 6,600 people. Despite its proximity to the capital Reykjavik, Akranes is not usually on tourists' "Places to Visit" agenda, one of the reasons being that it is not situated on Route 1 which is the ring road that circumferences the island.

Akranes

Mount Akrafjall

One of the town's status symbols is Mount Akrafjall that rises to a height of 643 meters, and, towering over the town, is clearly visible from Reykjavik. Mount Akrafjall has two peaks and a popular hiking trail to the mountaintop. Akranes is an ideal destination for a half-day trip from Reykjavik or as a base for trips across the west of Iceland. A short walk down the town's main street shows a good example of Iceland's architectural history, dating back to the early 20th century. The town's church was built in 1942 and the old lighthouse, built in 1918 are the most interesting and intriguing buildings to see.

One of the most important sites in the town is the Garðar Museum that exhibits the industrial and cultural development of the region. One of the museum's buildings is Iceland's oldest concrete building. The first day of summer, known as "Irish Day" is celebrated in Akranes and is a tradition founded by the island's first settlers who came from Ireland, and still carried out today. During the festival, Akranes wears the colors of the Irish flag and families celebrate with music and picnics around the city.

Map of Akranes