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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 hopping 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 in time to 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, then perhaps look into the restaurant Báran, and sample their excellent soup made from ocean quahog (Arctica islandica). Fishing for ocean quahog 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 a fishing village with 250 inhabitants and is also the most northerly community in Iceland. Because of its position, Raufarhöfn has the longest days in Iceland during the summer and the shortest ones in winter.

The Arctic Circle lies just off the coast and in the village an arctic henge is being prepared.

There is a good camping site with excellent facilities, including showers and electric hook-ups for caravans, tent trailers and camper vans. And for the youngest and most energetic members of the family there is a playground, situated close to the elementary school, and a sports centre beside the camping site.

In Raufarhöfn can be found all the basic services, such as a health centre, chemist's shop, food store, a bank, post office, petrol station, garage, hotel, pub, gallery, etc. And from the village it is possible to book a sail to take you north across the Arctic Circle.

There are many other pursuits which may tempt the visitor, for example bird watching, fishing by the harbour or in one of the many lakes and rivers, or going for a walk on Höfði or around the flatlands of Melrakkaslétta.

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

Whatever the time of year, Akureyri is a lively and energetic town, and home to around 20.000 inhabitants. It is by far the most densely populated community outside the Reykjavík area, and is the centre of trade, culture and services for the north of Iceland.

It is a town closely associated with educational institutions and cultural events, all of those having strong traditional roots. Two of the largest fisheries in Iceland are based in Akureyri, and the growth of the tourist industry means that this is playing an ever more important role in the life of the town.

Akureyri is close to many of Iceland's most renowned natural beauty spots and the town itself is a popular stopping place for both long and short stays.

Below is a list of places we would recommend as being well worth a visit while in Akureyri:

  • The Akureyri Botanical Garden (with 400 plants indigenous to Iceland and more than 7,500 foreign species)
  • the Akureyri Art Museum Listagil Art Centre
  • Akureyri swimming pool
  • Húni II - a boat built from oak in 1963, which is to be found at Torfunefsbryggja pier
  • restaurants which offer dishes prepared from produce originating in the surrounding countryside
  • Kjarnaskógur wood the
  • old town -museums, a church and historical buildings
  • Jaðar golf course - the most northerly 18-hole golf course in the world
  • Hrísey island - the pearl of Eyjafjörður
  • the Akureyrarvaka festival which is held in August each year and is the culmination of the Summer Festival (Listasumar) which runs from mid -June until the end of August
  • beer from the local breweries, Víking and Kaldi
  • Brynja ice cream - a favourite with the local people
  • Akureyri Church
  • Hlíðarfjall ski slopes.
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 called the Whale Capital. Up to 23 species of whale, including the Blue Whale, as well as large colonies of puffins can be found in 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 a sail through the ocean waves in pursuit of these wonderful creatures is an experience no one should miss and will certainly never be forgotten.

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. 

Sauðárkrókur

Sauðárkrókur lies on the south west shore of the inner reaches of Skagafjörður fiord. Here you will find a variety of services on offer; exhibitions, museums, places of entertainment, shops, restaurants, accommodation, a hospital, workshops and garages, a sports ground, a beach volleyball pitch, a swimming pool etc.

On Aðalgata, you will find a store bearing the name Haraldur Júlíusson, which has been in constant operation since 1919. Also the Minjahúsið Folk Museum, where four small workshops demonstrate the types of occupation pursued by the inhabitants of Sauðárkrókur in days gone by - and they even have a polar bear on display! Minjahúsið also houses the Tourist Information Bureau.

On top of Nafir, the ancient sea cliffs which rise above the town, there is a golf course and also a viewfinder which gives you a wonderful view across the fjord.

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 from April 20th to the 20th of June, 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 with an extended weekend of various activities and happenings. This year’s celebration is June each year 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 offers a family friendly geothermal pool and an outdoor play area for the kids along with a great camping side. Here you will also find the amazing Christmas house with its strong character and wonders of joy. In the countryside you will find six beautiful churches and the charming Museum of Sundry Objects, Smámunasafni Sverris Hermannssonar, which stores an amazing variety of artefacts from all over the world that have in one way or another founds its way to Eyjafjarðarsveit.

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 travelers 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 pant 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. A large number of travelers visit Mývatn 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 lake bed over its entire surface. The ecology of the lake area is extremely diverse and interesting; one important characteristic of Mývatn, being the prolific growth and abundance of freshwater seaweed. On the bed of the lake 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 is due to the fact that, during summer, there are more different species of duck 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.

Hauganes

Hauganes is 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 the luxury of experiencing a country atmosphere.

The hot tubs by the sea in Sandvikurfjara have become very popular and it is ideal to visit Hauganes to experience the stillness, safety and the spectacular view we have to offer.

Make an apperance in Dalvikurbyggd and you will not regret it.
No one should miss the oppurtunity to visit Hauganes.

Árskógssandur

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

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

Make an apperance in Dalvikurbyggd and you will not regret it.
No one should miss the oppurtunity to visit Árskógssandur.

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 fiord and can be reached by the ferry, Sævar - a journey of about 15 minutes.

This small fishing village provides various services which 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 tractor round 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 centre, 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 small community lying on the east of Skagafjörður fiord. In days gone by this was the main service centre for the region and is one of the oldest trading posts in Iceland still in existence.

Here you can see an old log building, Pakkhúsið, a warehouse dating from the times of the Danish trade monopoly (1602-1787). Another old building, which has newly been renovated, houses yet another museum which is well worth a visit - the Icelandic Emigration Center - which tells the story of Icelandic emigrants to North America.

The restaurant Sólvík offers refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere. There is a camping site by the primary school and also a guesthouse. On 27 March 2010 a new and impressive swimming pool was opened at Hofsós. The new swimming pool and its surroundings are beautifully constructed. The pool itself is situated on the sea shore, to the south of the village and above Staðarbjargarvík. It is so designed that when one swims from south to north, the surface of the pool and the surface of the ocean below appear to merge, and the swimmer seems to be setting a course straight for the island of Drangey.

On Midsummer's Day a festival is held at Hofsós.

Hólar

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. T

he 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

Laugarbakki village is situated in the west Húnaþing district, on the eastern side of Miðfjarðará river, and close to highway 1. The first house to be built at Laugarbakki was erected in 1933. In 1970 a large boarding school was built, which is now used as year round hotel with modern luxury and a big ballroom cabable of hosting 400 people.

There is a shop, a swimming pool (which has been converted into relaxing hotpots) and a community centre which is popular as a venue for family gatherings during summer. From Laugarbakki it is only 7 km to Hvammstangi.

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