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Towns and Villages

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Towns and Villages

Society and the economy have many faces. Whereas agriculture is the mainstay of rural areas, the towns depend upon fishing, industry, trade, and a range of services, with each village having its own characteristics though they all prove hospitable hosts. 

The availability of food and accommodation and the possibilities at every location for recreation and entertainment make traveling between the villages informative as well as fun.  


In every case, the residents are lively and ready to celebrate.

Hvammstangi

Hvammstangi is the largest community in West Húnaþing whose history as a trading centre dates back over more than 100 years. If you would like to see how people in days gone by conducted their daily trading in the general stores, the Trade Museum will tell you all you need to know.

The town is blessed with a good harbor from which seal watching and sea angling trips are organized.

For the tourist, Hvammstangi is an excellent place to stop as it has a good swimming pool and a camping site well situated in the lee of the cliffs, with excellent facilities and with electric hook-ups for trailer tents, campervans and caravans.

Hvammstangi also has a hotel, shop, restaurant, banking service, petrol station and garage, as well as a health centre and other necessary services.

The Icelandic Seal Center provides information on seals and the Vatnsnes area, besides serving as a general tourist information bureau.

Skagaströnd

At Skagaströnd you will find the natural beauty of varied landscapes and vegetation everywhere you look. You will witness the grandeur of Spákonufell that towers over the town. There are staked out walking trails on the mountain so you can experience the majestic power of the mountain firsthand.

The cultural life at Nes Artist Residency where artists develop their craft inspires locals and travelers alike. If you are lucky you can pop in at Nes and see what the artists are up to - who knows you might end up as a muse!

Spákonufellshöfði promontory, usually known as the Cape, is a popular outdoor recreational area and suitable for those who don´t dare tackle the mountain. There is a choice of marked walking trails along the cape, and information signs give details on the flora and birdlife of the area.

For those intrigued by folklore and fairytales, you might want to go on a hunt to find the sculpture of Jón Árnason one of the greatest collectors of folk narrative in Europe. His features have been immortalized in bronze and positioned on one of the trails on the Cape. You might also find the minuscule gate and bridge that artist Reiner Fest gifted to the town of Skagaströnd intended in part for the mythical creature inhabiting the Cape.

Skagaströnd has a great golf course that boasts of breathtaking views over Húnaflói and over to Strandir. The view is so spectacular that even if your golf game is not up to par it won't even make a dent in the experience!

In town, there is an attractive camping site with excellent facilities and a swimming pool and hot tub overlooking the vast ocean.

Our latest attraction is the small fishing harbor that is usually full of life; locals on strolls, artist on the hunt for inspiration, and our happy sailors coming or going on their colorful boats.

Skagaströnd - where everyone is always welcome.

Þórshöfn

The heart of Þórshöfn beats with the waves, and fishing and fish processing have been the town's main form of occupation throughout the years. Therefore, it is interesting to go for a walk, take a look at harbour life and activity. Fishing for ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) is one of the many things which set Þórshöfn apart from other villages.

Þórshöfn offers excellent services; a health centre, shop, restaurant, a sports stadium, swimming pool, savings bank, petrol station etc. There is also a camping site with facilities for camper vans.

Raufarhöfn

Raufarhöfn is the northernmost town on the Icelandic mainland, nestled on the eastern shore of Melrakkaslétta peninsula. Named after its natural harbor, Raufarhöfn was used for shipping from early on as mentioned in the sagas. It became an authorized trading post in 1833 but the village started forming after 1875.

Herring fishery was a pivotal factor in the growth of the village in the early 20th century and by 1944 Raufarhöfn was the second-largest herring station in Iceland. The local population reached 500 in the latter part of the century but during the height of the herring bonanza, there could also be over 2000 migrant workers here at times.

Raufarhöfn is now a quiet little fishing village in the process of redefining itself. All basic services can be found in Raufarhöfn and this Arctic Circle village is a peaceful setting to enjoy walks, fishing or birdwatching, and offers a front-row seat for enjoying the midnight sun in summer and northern lights in winter.

On a small elevation at the edge of the village, the Arctic Henge is being constructed. A huge stone sundial with allusions to mythology and folklore, designed to interact with the unique natural light in this village at the edge of the arctic.


 

Grenivík

The township of Grenivík lies under the 1,173 metre high mountain Kaldbakur. There are many excellent routes up the mountain, but if you do not feel like tackling those, there are easier paths up Þengilhöfði, which is a 260 metre high mountain just south of Grenivík. But for those who want a really challenging climb there are Blámannshattur and Laufáshnjúkur, both in the surrounding area.

When Grenivík is mentioned, Fjörðurnar and Látraströnd immediately spring to mind. Both were once populated, and these ancient sites are now a veritable paradise for hikers. Nowadays, more and more walkers are making their way to these locations, both to savour the beautiful and diverse natural assets and to acquaint themselves with the story of these long gone occupants, which unravels with every step taken.

The township and its surroundings are constantly attracting more and more visitors and most people should be able to find something to their taste. Pólarhestar run a horse rental stables at Grýtubakki. Fjörðungar specialise in walks and hikes around Fjörður and Látraströnd, while Kaldbaksferðir offer snowcat trips up Kaldbakur. Besides all that, there is fishing in the rivers Fnjóská and Fjarðará in Hvalvatnsfjörður.

Coffee and restaurant facilities can be found at the grocery store, Jónsabúð, in Grenivík and at the "Gamla prestshúsið" (the Old Rectory) by the old turf farm, Laufás. Beside the elementary school, there is a good swimming pool and a camping site. Hléskógar farm offers accommodation both at the farmhouse and at the camping site.

It is well worth making a detour from highway 1 to enjoy the unspoilt nature and hospitality of the area's inhabitants.

Akureyri

Akureyri is the little big city of Iceland. It is large enough to offer a rich selection of entertainment, art and culture, yet small enough to be very personal and close to nature. It‘s easy to be fascinated by Akureyri with it‘s with brightly painted wooden houses, cosy bars and steep streets leading down from the hills into the friendly city centre. Even the traffic lights are cute, with stop lights in the shape of red hearts. 

With a population of only 19,000, it’s remarkably calm in comparison to Reykjavik.

You can easily explore all the major spots in town on foot. Here you‘ll find a wide range of activities and interesting places e.g. notable museums, the world’s most northerly botanic garden, one of Iceland’s most popular swimming facilities, 18-hole golf course, the best skiing area in the country and great hiking trails. Best of all, use of the city buses is completely free of charge.

Akureyri is also a great base camp for many of Iceland’s most beautiful natural wonders, such as waterfalls, volcanic areas and canyons, as well as numerous exciting activities, such as rafting, hiking, caving, whale watching and horseback riding.

Grímsey Island

Grímsey is a green, grassy and particularly agreeable island, probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island. Many visitors go there solely to step across that line, south to north.

The island is 5.3 km2 in area, its highest point is 105 metres and the distance from "Iceland" is 41 km.

Life on Grímsey is bright and energetic, and the inhabitants are of a happy disposition, working and playing with equal wholeheartedness. A good swimming pool was opened there in 1989. The inhabitants of the island do their shopping in the village store, Búðin, which is privately owned, and sells a wide variety of goods. There are two guesthouses on the island, one of which is open all year round.

The ferry, Sæfari, sails from Dalvík to Grímsey 3 days a week all year round. There are also regular flights by Air Iceland, 3 times a week during winter and 7 days a week during summer.

Húsavík

Húsavík is the oldest settlement in Iceland, besides being the largest town in Þingeyjarsýsla district and the service centre for the surrounding area. The town is known for whale watching tours in Skjálfandi Bay and is often referred to as the Whale Capital of Iceland. Up to 23 species of whale, including the Blue Whale, as well as large colonies of puffins can be found in or around the bay. One can experience the gigantic life-size of whales in the local Whale Museum where, amongst others, a 22m long skeleton of a Blue Whale is on display. There are several whale watching companies to choose from in Húsavík and sailing from there in pursuit of these wonderful creatures is an experience no one should miss and will certainly never be forgotten.

Húsavík is linked with Eurovision. The film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire and Saga is based on two characters Lars Erickssong played by Will Ferrell and Sigrit Ericksdottir played by Rachel McAdams. Húsavík is the hometown of the duo and the title song is also named Húsavík. It's likely you will see some locals from the movie if you visit Húsavík. If you have limited time we recommend taking the Fire and Saga Tour.

The Museum House at Húsavík, as the inhabitants of the district call their cultural centre, houses part of the South Þingeyjarsýsla District Museum, a maritime museum, natural history museum, folk museum, district archives, photograph archives, and an art gallery.

Cultural life in and around the town is flourishing, the active and enthusiastic drama society being among the best amateur theatre groups in Iceland. There are a number of choirs and instrumental groups playing an active role in the field of music.

Services in Húsavík are different types of accommodation, restaurants and cafés, a brewery, a geothermal swimming pool and campsites as well as a golf course and skiing area on the outskirts of town. A newly opened sea bath invites for a dip in geothermal hot sea water while enjoying a magnificent view over the bay. Húsavík is serviced by Húsavík airport. Húsavík is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle 

Sauðárkrókur

Sauðárkrókur lies on the South West shore of Skagafjörður Fjord. Sauðárkrókur is Skagafjörður's largest population centre and services the local municipality. The old town is very charming - there you will find museums, interactive exhibitions, restaurants specializing in local food, a well-renowned bakery, and a number of little retailers and accommodation options.

Sauðárkrókur combines a thriving fisheries operation with the processing of produce from the extensive agricultural area surrounding it and a very effective service system. The town is one of the busiest most important communities outside the capital, and it would be hard to find better services anywhere outside the Reykjavík area.

To the east of Sauðárkrókur stretches Borgarsandur, a long sweep of black sandy beach almost four km in length, and just to the south, on the shores of Áshildarholtsvatn lake, information boards give details on the rich variety of birds frequenting the area.

The most abundant birdlife is to be found at the mouth of the river Héraðsvötn and on the lakes Miklavatn and Áshildarholtsvatn, just to the south of Sauðárkrókur.

Blönduós

Blönduós is the most populated town by Húnaflói and is located by Road nr. 1. Through the town, runs one of the country's glacial rivers, Blanda and in the middle is the small island Hrútey, one of the area's natural wonders. The island is protected and closed due to bird nesting in the springtime, but for the rest of the year, you can cross a walking bridge to the island and there you can discover hiking trails. The walk along Blanda down to the shore is particularly romantic, overlooking the sea to the beautiful Strandafjöll.

In addition to nature viewing, there are other recreational activities to be found in the area, the swimming pool in Blönduós is one of the best in the country, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee in the hot tub while the children play in the pool or take a run in the water slides. Next to the swimming pool is a large trampoline, located on the school grounds, there you can also spend time in the climbing castle, football field and at the skateboard ramps. Angling is a popular activity in the area. In Blönduós is also a good golf course.

Heimilisiðnaðarsafnið holds some of the nation's textile and handcraft history showing how the development has been throughout the centuries. The old women's school at Blönduós holds the Icelandic Textile Center but Blönduós is known for its history in textile.

The old town of Blönduós stands by the open sea, where there are still many of the original houses that were built when that part of the town was in bloom in years before. The tourist information center in East Hunavatnssysla is located in the old town. Also located there is Hillebrandshús, one of the oldest wooden houses in Iceland, erected in Blönduós in 1877 but previously it had been in Skagaströnd for 130 years.

There is a variety of accommodation options in the area, hotels, guesthouses, cottages with hot tubs and saunas, as well as a well-equipped campsite next to the river Blanda. Catering is available at restaurants, cafes and at the grocery store.

At Blönduós there are a variety of events such as Prjónagleði, Smábæjarleikarnir, where young kids compete in football and the town festival, Húnavaka. 

Bakkafjörður

Life in Bakkafjörður revolves mostly round the fish in the sea and the right to survive by catching this!

For the tourist, sea angling for cod is always a popular pastime and, if the weather is good, it should be no trouble persuading one of the fishermen to take you out for a fishing trip in his boat. There is a walking track which takes you past Viðvíkurbjörg cliffs at Viðvík, then over to Álftavatn and so on to Bakkafjörður, where the birdlife is abundant and varied.

The swimming pool at Selárdalur is owned by the people of Vopnafjörður, and is about 30 km from Bakkafjörður. The pool commands a magnificent view of the mountains, and in the salmon fishing season you can watch the fishermen wrestle their catch from the waters of Selá river which flows only a little way below.

Kópasker

Kópasker is a friendly village on the eastern shore of Öxarfjörður bay. A legal trading post was established here in 1880, and a village started slowly forming early in the 20th century. Its name derives from the skerry on which the breakwater was built and means seal pup skerry.

The local economy is mostly services to the surrounding agricultural region and tourism, but Kópasker´s largest employer is Fjallalamb meat processing plant. The village´s fishing industry consists of a few small boats.

Services in Kópasker include a grocery store with a restaurant, a state liquor store, car repair, a health clinic, a pharmacy, a bank, a gym, self-service gas station, guest houses, and a camping ground.

Among things to see and do around Kópasker are visits to the Snartarstaðir heritage museum with its unique collection of handicrafts and the Kópasker Earthquake Center which features information on an earthquake which struck the village in 1976 causing considerable damage. There are also some interesting walking trails around the village and very rich birdlife.

Each year, Kópasker celebrates the summer solstice in June with an extended weekend of various activities and happenings and visitors are welcomed.

Laugar

Laugar in Reykjadalur is a community which has sprung up around the geothermal activity which is a characteristic of the area. The village is home to the Laugar in Reykjadalur primary and secondary schools, besides being the administrative and service centre for Þingeyjarsveit District, with, for example, a bank, a shop and a restaurant. During the summer months, visitors can find accommodation at the summer hotel, or with one of the other service providers in the surrounding area. Laugar has an excellent swimming pool and other sports facilities.

Svalbarðseyri

Svalbarðseyri is a village in the Svalbarðsströnd district on the eastern coast of Eyjafjörður. Svalbarðsströnd is a thriving agricultural area and in the village there is a long tradition of agricultural service and industry and there you also find a small boat marina. Tourism has been on the rise and today the main pillars of the economy are industry and service.

Eyjafjarðarsveit

Eyjafjarðarsveit has been referred to by tourists as the countryside of Akureyri, the place you can view the wonders of Icelandic agriculture. The river of Eyjafjörður runs through it and adds it´s picturesque character to almost everywhere you look while nurturing the land and making it one of the most fertile countryside in Iceland. Cows, horses and the Icelandic sheep along with other mammals can be spotted along the road while bird viewers can enjoy a variety of birds at the islets of the rivers, just on the doorsteps of Akureyri.  

Several trails can be enjoyed in Eyjafjarðarsveit and among the many favourites is the newly paved hike- and bike trail between Akureyri and the friendly neighbourhood of Hrafnagil. It’s a trail where people can hike, bike or jog in the beautiful and romantic scenery of the river. By Akureyri airport you can hike the nice scenery of the islets while the mountains embrace you when you reach further into the valley.

The small town of Hrafnagil in Eyjafjarðarsveit offers a family friendly geothermal pool and an outdoor play area for the kids along with a great camping side. When exploring Eyjafjarðarsveit, you will find a great selection of places to stay, to dine and things to do. You will enjoy local food and be able to relax in the relaxing atmosphere of the countryside while embracing the local culture. The largest crafts festival in Iceland, Handverkshátíð, is held in Hrafnagil and will offer you the chance to experience amazing culture and handcraft.

Dalvík

For those who want first hand experience with nature, Dalvik in the municipality of Dalvikurbyggd is the perfect choice. Dalvik is placed in the nature paradise that is Trollaskagi peninsula and has a great access to the ocean.

There are many hiking routes in Dalvikurbyggd and everyone can and will find routes for their ability.

Dalvík harbour is a large fishing and commercial port; the ferry Sæfari, wich sails from Dalvík, serves the island of Grímsey, Iceland's northenmost community, wich lies on the Arctic Circle.

In Dalvik you will also find a well equipped swimming pool, folk museum Hvoll, a unique skiing facilities, a golf course, sea angling and whale watching, horseback riding and many, many other things.

It is ideal to visit Dalvik to experience the stillness, safety and the spectacular view we have to offer.

Make an apperance in Dalvikurbyggd and you will not regret it!

Hjalteyri

Hjalteyri is a small village on the western shores of Eyjafjörður. Until the early 20th century, this was one of the main hubs of the herring fishing industry and is today an aquaculture centre where research is conducted into the feasibility of halibut culture. The buildings of the old herring factory are often used as a venue for art exhibitions during the summer months. Hjalteyri boasts some of the most interesting diver areas in the World, as the famous geothermal struts are right offshore.

Mývatn

Mývatn offers a unique natural environment. With large contrasts and short distances, you can experience the most and the best that Iceland has to offer. Large open spaces with roads and walkways lead travellers to unworldly locations, where volcanic eruptions have played a crucial role in the formation of the landscape. Whether the plan is to enjoy the landscape, examine unique natural phenomena or take a closer look at the plant and birdlife, Mývatn has it all. Furthermore, the area offers a variety of services in accommodation, food, and entertainment, based on years of experience and knowledge. Mývatn attracts huge numbers of travellers in the summer, but many believe the lake and its surroundings to be no less impressive in the wintertime.

Mývatn is the 4th largest lake in Iceland, 37 km2 in area. Its shores are indented with many coves and inlets and its surface is dotted with around 50 small islets and skerries. Midges (Chironomidae) are abundant and the ubiquitous swarms of these tiny flies give the lake its name.

The lake itself is very shallow, and the rays of the sun reach the lakebed everywhere. The ecology of the lake area is extremely diverse and interesting; one important characteristic of Mývatn is the prolific growth and abundance of freshwater seaweed. On the bed of the lake there are great quantities of diatoms, while nearer the surface, Mývatn's famous arctic char weave their way between aquatic plants and little islets topped with fertile vegetation. 

On and around the lake there is a teeming and varied birdlife and Mývatn is the habitat of many kinds of lake and marsh birds. However, much of Mývatn's fame can be attributed to the fact that during summer, there is a greater variety of duck species gathered on and around the lake than anywhere else in the world. Mývatn is a legally protected conservation area and appears on the register of internationally important wetlands, along with the Laxá river which flows out of the lake. Lake Mývatn is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle www.northiceland.is/diamondcircle

Hauganes

Hauganes is a part of the Árskógsströnd coastal area. It is also the most southerly community in the municipality of Dalvikurbyggd, with a population of about 140. Life in the village is mostly concerned with fishing and fish processing. In this small but attractive community, you can combine luxury with the surrounding country atmosphere.

In Hauganes you will find the oldest whale watching company in Iceland with over 27 years of experience in the area. There you will also find a very popular and unique restaurant, Baccalá Bar, where you can get great selection of different dishes. We especially recommend either the deep-fried bacalao with fries or the bacalao-pizza.

You will find a very nice camping area in the heart of the village and the hot tubs by the sea in Sandvikurfjara have become very popular amongst guests that visit Hauganes.

If you like hiking, it is strongly recommended to hike up to Þorvaldsdalur Valley. There you will get to experience the stillness, safety, and a spectacular view.

Hauganes is spectacular every season.

Árskógssandur

Árskógssandur in Dalvikurbyggd is a village placed by the coast and is the crossing point to Hrísey island, by the ferry Sævar.

At Árskógssandur you will find the local brewery Bruggsmiðjan. There you can have a tour where you'll see how the beer product Kaldi is made and the story behind the company. At Árskógssandur you will also find the Beerbaths, that are unique in Iceland. At the Beerbaths you can either bathe in beer or in the outside hot tubs that have an amazing view over the Tröllaskagi peninsula and over the Eyjafordur fjord. There you will also find a very good and popular restaurant with a great selection of different dishes. We especially recommend the popular burger, Kaldaborgari.

The proximity with nature is high and there are a lot of different hiking routes suitable for everyone and everybody can find something to their liking.

Take a trip to Árskógssandur. There you will get to experience the stillness, safety, and a spectacular view.

Árskógssandur is spectacular every season.

Hrísey

The island of Hrísey is rightly known as Eyjafjörður's pearl of nature and is renowned for its abundant birdlife. It lies out in the middle of the fjord and can be reached by the ferry Sævar - a journey of about 15 minutes.

This small fishing village provides various services that will benefit the visitor e.g. a swimming pool, small guesthouse, restaurant, camping site, café, and shop.

From the village, walking tracks fan out to many parts of the island, and for those who are less energetic an entertaining itinerary could be the following: Sightseeing by a tractor around the island, taking in a visit to the shark museum en route. This museum contains much valuable information on the shark hunting activities of yesteryear, as well as other details on the history of island life on Hrísey.

To get to Hrísey, first head in the direction of Dalvík, but before you reach the town, take the turning leading to Árskógssandur. The Hrísey ferry runs a scheduled service from Árskógssandur - and you can pick up a copy of this at any tourist information center, most hotels or online.

Ólafsfjörður

Ólafsfjörður is a town in the northeast of Iceland located at the mouth of the fjord Eyjafjörður.
The town is connected to Dalvík on Eyjafjörður by the 3.5 km one-lane Múli tunnel (the Múlagöng) and to Siglufjörður by the 11 km Héðinsfjörður Tunnels, opened in 2010.

The still waters of Ólafsfjörður Lake often mirror Ólafsfjörður town, its surrounding mountains and the sky above. Occasionally a trout breaks the surface, as a reminder of what is up and what is down in this mysterious mountain retreat. The lake has a long-lived reputation for mystery, not least because both fresh-water and salt-water fish are caught in it.

For the general tourist, as well as those who are keen on outdoor activities, Ólafsfjörður town has many interesting and enjoyable pursuits on offer.

During the winter months, it is a skier's paradise and an outdoor enthusiast's dream come true. There is a choice of cross-country skiing, slalom, skating, zooming around on a snowmobile or hand line fishing in the waters of Ólafsfjarðarvatn.

During the summer, it is the mountains, the lake and the black sandy shores which beckon us, and there is a wide selection of walks and hikes in both mountain and valley to tempt the visitor. A few hours walking through the area's rugged landscape gives one the chance to savor the peace and tranquillity which emanates from these natural elements.

The diversity of leisure activities is almost endless and in Ólafsfjörður it is possible to go sea angling or angling in the waters of Ólafsfjarðará river or Ólafsfjarðarvatn lake. And we must not forget the fishing from the end of the pier can also be fun. There is a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and an excellent natural history museum containing many stuffed birds

Siglufjörður

Siglufjörður is Iceland’s northernmost town and is a historic fishing town whose fame, and fortune has always been linked to the ebb and flow of the fishing industry. A tiny shark fishing village in 1900, Siglufjörður soon became one of the largest towns in Iceland and the undisputed capital of herring fishing in the Atlantic. Siglufjörður is an area of spectacular natural beauty. The mountains and the fjords are awe-inspiring and the opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation are almost inexhaustible. The closeness to nature is always within reach, whether you wish to go on a hike, play golf, try ocean swimming or go skiing.  In Siglufjörður there is a flourishing cultural life. There are several restaurants, there are also numerous galleries and workshops, museums and our local church in Siglufjörður. 

Siglufjörður has a 25-meter indoor swimming pool, a sauna, an outdoor hot tub, and a gym. There is a nine-hole golf course in Siglufjörður.

The ski area in Skarðsdalur is arguably one of the country’s best ski areas. In Hólsdalur there is a cross-country ski trail. Mountain skiing is becoming an ever more popular leisure sport. Few places boast better conditions for this sport than Siglufjörður.

Hofsós

Hofsós is a peaceful seaside village on the Eastern shore of Skagafjörður Fjord, with over 400 years of history.

The Hofsós Swimming Pool is fast becoming one of the best known pools in Iceland as well as the most popular tourist attraction in Skagafjörður. The pool is one of the most scenic eternity-pools in Iceland overlooking the island of Drangey and the fjord.  Located on the coast just below the swimming pool are the amazing basalt formations at Staðarbjargavík. It is said to have been the capital of the Skagafjörður elf population.

In Hofsós you will find the The Emigration Center, an exhibition about the mass migration of Icelanders to North America in the late 18th century, and few minutes from Hofsós you can step into the past and visit the old times at The Vintage Auto Museum.

Services in Hofsós include accommodation options, cosy restaurants, a grocery store, a fuel station, swimming pool and a campground.

Hólar í Hjaltadal

This is one of Iceland's most famous historical sites and was, for centuries, an Episcopal see. There has been a church at Hólar from the 11th century, the present one dating from 1763. It was built from red sandstone quarried from the mountain Hólabyrða, and is the oldest stone church in Iceland.

The student population at Hólar University College has risen dramatically over the past few years and the number of halls of residence has also increased to meet the demand. During the winter months, over 200 people reside at Hólar.

Archaeological digs have taken place over the past few years and more than 40,000 items have been found. A selection of these finds can be seen in the old schoolhouse. A walk through the winding paths of the wooded area will lead you into the wonderland of natural beauty surrounding this ancient place; a site filled with echoes from Iceland's history.

During Hólar Festival, which is generally held in the middle of August, there are many ecclesiastical and cultural events on offer, e.g. Pilgrims´ Walks, church services and other activities.

The Laufskálaréttir horse round-up pens at Hjaltadalur are among the most popular in the country, and each year up to 3,000 visitors congregate there to be part of the proceedings. In fact some say that the Laufskálaréttir pens are the crème de la crème of all round-up stations.

Varmahlíð

This community offers a wide variety of services for visitors and local people alike, making it one of the most popular stopping points for those travelling along highway 1. There you will find, for example, a service shop with petrol pumps, a food store and restaurant facilities.

The Tourist Information Centre, located right next to the KS shopping premises, has on display, items from the Skagafjörður area, crafted by the Creative Arts Society, Alþýðulist. There is also a good sports stadium, a child-friendly swimming pool and a football practice pitch. If you require a place to stay, there is a wide choice on offer in Varmahlíð and the surrounding area; a hotel, summer chalets, farm accommodation and camping sites.

The Miðgarður Cultural Centre is situated in Varmahlíð and is the locale for a variety of entertainments all year round. The woodland at Reykjarhóll is also recommended, with its marked paths, one of which leads up to the viewfinder at the top of the hill. On a good day, the view across the central region of Skagafjörður is magnificent.

Laugarbakki

The village Laugarbakki stands by road one just east of Miðfjarðará River. The hot water from Laugarbakki's geothermal area is used to heat up houses in both Laugarbakki and neighboring Hvammstangi. Langafit handicraft center and Edda Hotel is open during the summer. The campsite and sleeping bag accommodation around Ásbyrgi community center, offer options for both groups and individual travelers. Hotel Laugarbakki is also located in the village. The road to Arnarsvatnsheiði heath lies through Laugarbakki.

Borðeyri

This small settlement, once a flourishing trading centre, has seen its population and level of service decline in the last couple of decades. It has a garage and a school, but more importantly for travellers, both a guesthouse and a camping place. As one can imagine, personal service is of high importance there. On the list of must-sees is the oldest house, the Riis-house. It was home to a merchant by the name of; you guessed it, Riis, who lived in Borðeyri in the early 1900s. Other service is provided at the nearby Staðarskáli, at the crossroads between north, west and south.

North Iceland

Towns & Villages

Society and the economy have many faces. Whereas agriculture is the mainstay of rural areas, the towns depend upon fishing, industry, trade and a range of services, with each village having its own characteristics though they all prove hospitable hosts. 
The availability of food and accommodation and the possibilities at every location for recreation and entertainment make hopping between the villages informative as well as fun.   
In every case, the residents are lively and ready to celebrate.

Explore map with pictures

Map Akureyri Hrafnagil Grímsey Raufarhöfn Kópasker Þórshöfn Bakkafjörður Húsavík Mývatn Laugar Svalbarðseyri Grenivík Hjalteyri Hauganes Árskógssandur Dalvík Hrísey Ólafsfjörður Siglufjörður Hofsós Hólar Varmahlíð Sauðárkrókur Skagaströnd Blöndós Hvammstangi Laugarbakki Borðeyri