After the financial crash of 2008, the mayor of Iceland’s biggest northern town decided to cheer up the locals with heart-shaped traffic lights.

There’s a lot to love about Akureyri in Northern Iceland. 

It’s small and manageable, with a quaint city centre that seems to consist entirely of cafes and shops selling outdoor gear.

It sits at the inland end of Eyjafjörður fjord, surrounded by mountains. When I visited in October, the autumnal coloured slopes were lightly dusted with snow.

There’s a municipal pool, heated by hot springs, a great foodie scene and a giant beer can outside the local Viking brewery.

The austere Lutheran church designed by Gudjon Samuelsson is pretty cool too.

But my favourite thing about the city were the heart-shaped traffic lights.

Only the red stoplights are heart-shaped.

The former mayor of Akureyri, Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson, said the traffic lights were instigated after the financial meltdown to ‘remind the citizens what really mattered’ and give people a reason to smile at crosswalks and intersections.

They certainly brought a smile to my face.

Heart-shaped traffic light in Akureyri Iceland (Peter Moore)
The heart-shaped traffic lights in Akureyri in Iceland
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