They Love Life
Akranes is for people who enjoy nature, culture, life and fun
Early Celtic pioneers made a good choice when they set up home Akranes. It’s a haven for nature lovers, bird lovers, beach lovers and history buffs. Those settlers would be surprised today at the small fishing town that has built up around their early dwellings.
You can see Akranes gleaming in the sunshine across the bay from the harbour in Reykjavik. It’s only a bus ride away, with the regular bus service taking you past picturesque farms, setting the stage for the variety of nature and bird life as you approach the town. Once there, the local bus service is free.
Akranes is a very popular place for camping and caravans. The sites are well set up with all the facilities easily available. Shops and the two swimming pools are close by. There is also the golden sand beach, which is unusual for Iceland. There are changing facilities and a sun veranda right next to it. Hot showers and a jaccuzzi make it a relaxing place to enjoy the long summer evenings.
Akranes is surrounded on three sides by the sea—which gives plenty of scope for some good fishing. Since the camp site is right next to one of these fishing spots, catching your dinner is all the easier, if you’re a fisherman.
The geography of the area is really inspiring for hikers, who have all levels of hiking open to them—including the mountain that forms the backdrop to the town and, to a large extent, protection from the northerly winds.
The summer is usually warm and pleasant but the same cannot be said for the winter! If you take a look at the two lighthouses, you’ll see the smaller one is a little closer to the sea. It has been abandoned now since the winter’s rough seas spray right over it. Both are open to visitors and provide a beautiful panoramic view of the Akranes area and all the way to Keflavík.
This is the land of the Celts and, for the history buff, there is much to see. The spiritually-minded Celts travelled in small boats covered in skins that seemed to survive on a wing and a prayer, relying on miracles rather than engineering prowess like the Vikings. In fact, it is said that Saint Brendan tested his faith in these little craft against the wild Atlantic—faith and prayers that clearly kept them, as they had a thriving community around Akranes.
That community spirit not only survives but thrives today, as the townsfolk love all forms of culture. The Music School is right in the centre of town; art and crafts are found everywhere, as is writing, singing and poetry.
One of the highlights of the year is the Irish festival from 6th—8th July with a variety of events that will keep the die-hard party addict happy. It’s a big family event that includes everyone in the fun—local and visitor alike.
Akranes is a family town and there are plenty of activities from golf to football (their top team boasts several stars who have gone to famous international clubs). There is a great bar-b-que area in the park, surrounded by trees, with games and crazy golf. Walking and cycling are popular pastimes with paths of different lengths to enjoy.
The museum area is really worth visiting. Besides examples of fishing vessels down the years displayed outside, including the only example of a 3-masted cutter, the indoor section has samples of practically every aspect of the fisherman’s life. Next to it is another unusual museum: The Icelandic Sport Museum. Check out the footsteps on the floor. A Geological museum is housed in the same building with a large collection of stones which show just how colourful Iceland is. There is always a temporary exhibit on display. Currently, there is a photo gallery of past residents that gives a fascinating insight into the character of the people. Work is starting shortly on the construction of The Celtic Cultural Centre, which will bring scientifically documented evidence together of the Celtic influence and history. But then, just look at the number of fair-skinned red-heads and you’ll see how strong it is.