Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

It’s possible to take a ramble around large towns in Iceland and still feel like you are in the countryside. The two main cities in Iceland are Reykjavík and Akureyri, and both towns have many wonderful nature walks in close proximity to their busy downtown areas.

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Reykjavík

A stroll around lake Tjörnin is quite popular among locals at weekends, especially in the summer time. While embracing the beautiful scenery and architecture surrounding lake Tjörnin, you can stop and feed the many friendly ducks and swans that swim alongside you on your journey. You can then continue until you reach Hljómskálagarðurinn park, where you will see sculptures and statues, and the well-favoured Hljómskálinn building which is a rehearsal space for many Icelandic classical musicians. If the weather is nice and you are with small children, you can avail of the playground and barbeque area in Hljómsjálagarðurinn.

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Öskjuhlíð is a wooded hill that takes you up to Perlan (The Pearl). During your walk, you will certainly see the bunkers built by the British army during the Second World War. Afterwards it’s nice to finish your journey with a swim at the geothermal beach Nauthólsvík.

A lengthy walk to Grótta is necessary if you are up for a great view and a bit of exercise, taking you right up to the lighthouse at Seltjarnarnes. It is a bit far from downtown, but worth the effort(and then again, you can always go by bike!). Starting your walk in Vesturbær, you can then set off along the path on the seafront; this trail is full of surprises and it's also a great vantage point to view Icelandic birds.

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Akureyri

The botanic garden (Lystigardurinn) is a splendid nature spot to wander around in the summer time. We recommend you stop for a coffee in the garden’s cafe and relax in the pleasant atmosphere while surrounded by the many varieties of plants and flowers. The walk back to the city centre is a rather delightful experience.

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After a pleasurable hike up Brynja glacier and back down again, we suggest you continue to explore the old town of Akureyri. While there, you will discover charming Centennaires houses in excellent condition, the Museum of Akureyri, and also Friðbjarnahúsa where there is a permanent exhibition of old toys. If you saunter onwards to the lake, you’ll experience a breathtaking view of the mountains on the other side of the fjord.

There’s a wonderful walk along the sea from the port (behind the cultural centre Hof ) to the airport (or vice-versa) where you can appreciate the view of Eyjafjörður. You can also take a stroll along the river Glera (the starting path is right next to the shopping centre).

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Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities