Arkreyli: Iceland’s second largest town facing a magnificent inlet


Arkleyri is a town in northern Iceland. It features a colorful Scandinavian-style architecture, which is one of its main attractions, along with numerous historical spots such as churches and museums. It also serves as a gateway to northern Iceland, making it a popular stop for travelers. In this article, I will provide a detailed introduction to the town of Arkleyri in Iceland.

Characteristics of Arkleyri

Arkleyri is a town located in northern Iceland, surrounded by mountains and the majestic Eyjafjord. With a population of around 20,000, it is the second-largest town in Iceland after the capital, Reykjavik. However, it is considered a medium-sized to small town and has a generally laid-back atmosphere.

Arkleyri has a long history dating back to the 9th century when Viking pirates who had seized control of northern Europe first settled in the area. In the 18th century, merchants from Denmark visited and built a harbor in the town. Since then, the town has experienced significant growth and has become the second most populous town in Iceland.

Enjoy the great outdoors at Eyjafjord

One of Arkleyri’s attractions is its proximity to the Nordic wilderness. In particular, Arkleyri faces a magnificent fjord called Eyjafjörður, which offers spectacular views. Eyjafjörður means “island fjord” in Icelandic and is one of the largest fjords in Iceland, with a total length of approximately 60 km from the mouth of the bay to the back of the bay.

The rich environment of Eyjafjörður is home to many creatures, including humpback and minke whales, killer whales, and dolphins. The town also offers whale-watching tours by ferry for those who wish to see the creatures of the Nordic seas.

Places to visit in Arkleyri

In addition to the spectacular view of the Eyjafjord, there are numerous points of interest within the town of Arkleyri.

First, the entire town is worth exploring, with its colorful, Scandinavian-style appearance. The main street is also home to cafes, grocery stores, and restaurants where visitors can enjoy shopping and dining.

There is also the Arkleyri Botanical Garden, where visitors can rest and relax in a natural setting. The botanical garden is home to more than 2,500 species of plants, both native to Iceland and from abroad.

For those interested in the history of the town, the Arkleyri Museum is a great place to visit. The museum exhibits the actual tools of daily life used in Arkleyri during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Arkleyri Church, the symbol of the town

Climbing up the hill in the center of town, you will find Arkleyri Church. Built in 1940, it has been visited by many people as a symbol of the town ever since. Inside the church, there is a pipe organ consisting of 3300 pipes and beautiful stained glass, creating a solemn atmosphere. Additionally, a ship-shaped object, a traditional Scandinavian amulet praying for the safety of a family on a voyage, hangs from the ceiling of the church.


Arkleyri, the second largest town in Iceland, is known for its beautiful scenery where nature and architecture blend seamlessly, featuring the vast Eyjafjord and Nordic-style townscape. Moreover, the town is close to famous tourist spots in northern Iceland, such as Goðafoss waterfall and Lake Mývatn, making it an ideal base for an Iceland trip.