Akureyri is the capital of Northern Iceland and the country's fourth largest town. There are records of trade having gone on in Akrueyri as far back as 1602.

In 1787 the town gained municipal right, and it obtained its municipal charter in 1862, since when it has had its own town council. Today a majority of the population is in trade and services, Akureyri being the trading centre of Northern Iceland. It is also an important fishing town. It is heated with geothermal water coming from Laugaland in Eyjarfjörður.

On the hill above the old town is Lystigarðurinn, a splendid park established in 1911 that includes a botanical garden with specimens of almost all native Icelandic plants as well as hundreds of foreign ones. South of the town the results of the forestry work, done by the dedicated members of the local Forestry Association can be enjoyed in the Kjarnaland wood and park.

The new woodland vaðalskóur can be seen on the east shore of Pollurinn ("the Puddle"), as the sheltered end of the fjord south of the town is called.

Aureyri is often called the school town, as it boasts a great many educational establishements, including the second University in Iceland. There are also libraries e.g. the Amtsbókasafn Library, founded in 1827.

Museums e.g. a folk museum and a museum of natural history, an aviation museum was opened in 2000, art galleries and a municipal theater housed in one of the many beautifully renovated older buildings in town.

Five houses have been preserved and are used as museums in memory of famous and well-loved townsmen: Nonnahús (Nonni's house) in memory of Jón sveinsson, author; Sigurhæðir in memory of the Rev. Mattías Jochumsson poet and author of the national anthem; the house of Davíð Stefánsson, poet from Fagriskógur; the house of Friðbjörn Steinsson which is a Templar museum and the Old Hospital (Gudmanns Minde).

The town's oldest house, Laxdalshús, built in 1795, has been restored and is now protected. There are several monuments in Akureyri, e.g. the status in the Lystigarður park of the poet Matthías Jochumsson and of Margrethe Schiöth, who started the park, as well as some pieces of sculpture well known to Icelanders, such as Útlaginn (the Outlaw) by Einar Jónsson, Systurnar (the Sisters) and Sólarupprás (Sunrise) by Ásmundur Sveinsson, and Landnemar (Settlers) by Jónas Jakobsson