The town of Akranes about 40 minutes away from the Iceland capital of Reykjavik will never belong to the must-see places in the country. Partly because no towns will ever hold a candle to Icelandic nature but also partly because Akranes used to be a simple fishing village and doesn´t quite know what to do with itself now that most of the fish industry has moved elsewhere.
When property prices in the capital went through the roof early in this century many peoples flocked to buy flats in Akranes instead. Akranes is in this sense a sleepy hollow and you would miss nothing by skipping a visit here altogether.
The official tourist brochure describes Akranes as having “[…] a great cultural life, taking its form in various interesting cultural events throughout the year, as well as in the whole area dedicated exclusively to diverse and interesting museums.” Which makes little sense in the real world.
Sure enough, you´ll find here Akranes Museum Centre where you will see a few old buildings and inside four tiny and not particularly interesting museums. Funnily enough, the museum centre is found at the edge of town.
The Akranes Folk Museum is fantastic but only if you crave detailed information about this small town and its history. More interesting is the Mineral Kingdom. A nice but small collection of beautiful stones, fossils and other minerals collected from around these parts. Within the Mineral Kingdom you will also find The Tunnel Museum dedicated to the Hvalfjordur undersea tunnel. A horribly boring affair unless you like workmens overalls and a lot of design drawings and photographs of men working. Yet another pretty lame museum is the Sports Museum. The Icelandic answer to the Hall of fames sport centers in the States but sadly Icelanders have never been very good at sports and have no globally known superstar. A detailed map here.
As for other sights in and around Akranes you have a nice old lighthouse and the locals think their black beach is amongst the finest in the country. Admittedly, it is a nice place to wander about and if you have the guts take a cold swim. No lifeguards are on duty though. But it is far from the best beach in the country as some tourist brochures state.
There is a fine 18-hole golf course in town. Leynir golf course is amongst the best kept in the country and the setting for quite a few Icelandic golf championships. Booking is easy and often possible to play on arrival.
Last but not least is Akrafjall. This is the mountain towering over the town. A popular hiking place and from the top you get very good views over Reykjavik city across from the bay on a clear day. Not too difficult a climb but takes half a day at least.
Interesting places close to Akranes
View Interesting places in and around Akranes town in Iceland in a larger map