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Akranes

Trip Planner Europe  /  Iceland  /  West Region  /  Akranes
(4.5/5 based on 260+ reviews for 6 attractions)
Things to do: nature, historic sites, sightseeing
Akranes is a port town and municipality on the west coast of Iceland, around 20 km north of the capital Reykjavík.The area where Akranes is located was settled in the 9th century, but did not receive a municipal charter until 1942.HistoryAkranes was settled in the 9th century by the brothers Þormóður and Ketill, sons of Bresi. They came from Ireland but were of Norse origin. The town started to form in the mid-17th century as a fishing village. In 1942, it was formally chartered, and in the following years it had the biggest surge in population in its history.Industry has been a big and growing employer: a cement plant has been operated in the town since the 1950s, and an aluminum smelting plant has been in operation near the town since 1998.Current situationThe fishing industry remains the town's most important source of employment, but commerce is also a significant employer as Akranes acts as a service center for a large rural region surrounding it.The town is expected to grow further in the coming years because of growing industry and improvements of transportation to the Reykjavík area, following the construction of the 5.57 km long Hvalfjörður Tunnel which was opened in 1998, one of the world's longest underwater road tunnels.Akranes has a strong football tradition. The local team, ÍA, has for many years been among the best of the Icelandic football league. Former Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal midfielder Siggi Jonsson was born in Akranes and had three spells as a player with ÍA.
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