Akranes is an old fishing town on the West coast of Iceland with population about 6700 people. Icelanders usually talk about the town as Skaginn which means peninsula. Akranes started to grow as a town in the 17th century around the fishing industry. Today the fishing industry is still the main source of employment for the town but Akranes is the main service center for the rural area around the town so trading is also important.
In 1998 the Hvalfjordur Tunnel were opened, it was a breakthrough in transportation for the town and today it only takes about 40 minutes to drive from Reykjavík to Akranes. In 2017 a ferry started sailing between Akranes and Reykjavík and only takes about 25 minutes.
In Akranes you can find good accommodation including guesthouses, hostel and a camping site. There is a swimming pool there and a good 18 hole golf course. There is a restaurant in town and a café as well as some fast food chains. For those who like museums the Akranes Folk Museum might be interesting.
When in Akranes make sure to go down to the harbor and check out the Akranes Lighthouse. The lighthouse is open to the public and it’s possible to go up to the top and enjoy the view. On a good day there is a view over the mountains of Reykjanes peninsula, the capital city Reykjavík, Faxi bay and Snæfellsjökull Glacier. For those interested in photography this is the place to go. There is also a photography exhibition on the first floor that is fun to check out.
Close to Akranes is Akrafjall a 643 meters high mountain. There used to be a glacier on top of the mountain around Ice Age, the glacier has now melted and left a dent in the middle of the mountain. It is possible to hike the mountain, it takes about 3-5 hours round trip and is rather easy in the beginning but farther up the trail it gets more demanding. The mountain offers great views from the top over West Iceland. Make sure to bring good clothes for hiking, water and snacks, it is also important to check the weather forecast before hiking any mountain in Iceland.
Directions: Park the car at Akranes Water Works car park and read the sign that indicates the paths up the mountain.
Langisandur beach or The Long Sand Beach is one of the most popular recreational places for the residence of Akranes. On a nice day Langisandur is one of the best bathing beach in Iceland. There are hot showers to use after a swim in the ocean or just to rinse of the sand.
The drive from Reykjavík to Akranes is about 40 minutes (42 km). Take Ring Road nr. 1 towards Mosfellsbær. Make sure to take the Hvalfjörður tunnel for a shorter drive. For those who like to do a little detour it takes about 1 hour to drive the Hvalfjörður fjord. Located in Hvalfjörður is the second highest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur.