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Culture and Sagas

Culture and Sagas

Day 1: Historic Húnavatnssýsla


•  Bjarg in Miðfjörður fjord, which was home to Grettir the Strong, a bellicose outlaw.
•  Vatnsnes peninsula and seals in their natural habitat, Hvítserkur sea cliff, Borgarvirki volcanic plug and historic fortress.
•  Þingeyrarkirkja church built of stone in 1877, historic home of chieftains and the elite. 
•  Vatnsdalshólar, a cluster of drumlin-like hills where the last execution in Iceland took place in 1830.

Day 2: Blönduós and Skagafjörður


•  The textile museum in Blönduós exhibiting wool, national costumes and intricate embroidery.
•  Skagaströnd, a  historic fishing village, the town of country music and home of Þórdís the Fortune-Teller, who lived in the late 10th century.
•  Sauðárkrókur town and Skagafjörður, the cradle of Icelandic horsemanship. The Tannery Visitor Centre and the old turf farm, Glaumbær. 
•  Horseback riding through pleasant countryside or river rafting on Jökulsá glacial river. 
•  The historic geothermal nature bath, Grettislaug, with views of Drangey Island.

Day 3: Tröllaskagi Peninsula


•  Hólar in Hjaltadalur, for many centuries an Episcopal See, is one of the most famous historical sites in Iceland and features the oldest stone-built church in the country.
•  Geothermal swimming pool in Hofsós, one of the oldest trading centres in Iceland.  
•  Siglufjörður, Ólafsfjörður and Dalvík fishing towns and their surrounding fjords.

Day 4: Akureyri and Eyjafjörður fjord


•  Sail to Hrísey Island, to enjoy its tranquillity and experience the traditions of an Icelandic fisherman’s way of life, or step over the Arctic Circle on Grímsey Island.
•  A Botanical Garden with its diverse collection of arctic flora. Visit the beautiful old churches and fascinating museums. Dine in a restaurant or taste Icelandic delicacies on farm visits or from local food producers.


Borgarvirki is a 10-15 metre high ridge of columnar rock. This phenomenon is a volcanic plug, and there is speculation as to whether it was, in ancient times, a district fortress and even, perhaps, a battleground.
From Borgarvirki there is a wide panoramic view over a large part of the region and a viewfinder is in place to help locate some of the important landmarks.
This is truly a unique natural phenomenon, but one which has also seen some improvements by the hand of man in bygone days.

Þingeyrakirkja church

Þingeyrar was, in past times, one of the most famous estates in Húnaþing and also the site of a church. Now, the Þingeyrakirkja church commands one of the widest and most beautiful panoramic views in the county. It is said that no estate was as big as or endowed with such elegant buildings as Þingeyrar, which is probably not surprising as it was home to chieftains and the elite for many centuries. Þingeyrakirkja church was built of stone and consecrated in 1877. Þingeyrar was also the site of the Iceland's first monastery, founded in 1133.


Vatnsdalshólar are a cluster of hills of all sizes across the mouth of Vatnsdalur valley. Thought to have been formed by a catastrophic landslide. These hills are considered to be one of the three "innumerables" things in Iceland along with the lakes in Arnarvatnsheidi and the islands on Breidarfjord in the west.


Hvítserkur is a 15 m-high sea stack just off shore on the eastern side of Vatnsnes. Good seal spotting place at the estuary of the Sigridarstadir lake, south from the stack.


Vatnsnes is an area of varied animal life, and it is here that we find the largest and most accessible seal sanctuary in Iceland, where the common seal (Phoca vitulina) can be seen at quite close range. Facilities for seal watching can also be found at Illugastaðir, Svalbarð and Ósar, but please note that the Hindisvík station has now closed.

The area offers a beautiful environment endowed with many pearls of nature such as Hvítserkur and Borgarvirki, as well as some famous historical trails and sites.

The ring road round Vatnsnes is about 90 km and is mostly dirt road, passable all year round.


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.


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.


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. 

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.


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.

Grímsey Island

It's a unique feeling to walk around the green island of Grímsey. Look to the horizon on the Atlantic ocean in the north, or turn your head to the south to see the glistening mountain tops of the shoreline of North Iceland. In this remote place, it's easy to imagine you are alone in the universe, even though roughly 70 people call this island their home. Feel the birds' vibrating sounds in the cliffs, see the puffins poke their head up from their nests, and the roaming sheep eating the green grass. There is no place quite like Grímsey.

The travel to the island is an adventure in itself. Either you fly for about 20 minutes from Akureyri or take the ferry from Dalvík that gets you there in 3 hours. Some only stop for a few hours, but many choose to stay for a few days, disconnect from the busy life, find their connection to nature, and relieve stress. In Grímsey, two guesthouses are open year-round, but it is best to book your stay in advance, especially during summer. In the small village, you'll also find a small convenience store, a café, and a restaurant (pre-booking recommended during the off-season.)

One of the major attractions of Grímsey is the puffin that makes its nest in the cliffs in April and goes back to sea in August. Another one is the Arctic Circle, with many visitors aiming to step over the circle. In 2017 a new landmark was revealed that signifies where the Arctic Circle goes through the island. It's a giant ball and is called "Orbus et Globus. " Weighing almost 7 tons, it is moved each year to align to the Arctic Circle.

A visit in the summertime is highly recommended, but a visit during winter will not disappoint.  With little sunlight, the isolation from others almost becomes tangible, with the Northern Lights dancing around in the sky.


For those who want the first-hand experience with nature, Dalvík is a perfect choice. Dalvík is placed in the natural paradise that is Tröllaskagi peninsula and has great access to the ocean.

There are many hiking routes in and around Dalvík 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 northernmost community, which lies on the Arctic Circle.

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

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

Make an appearance in Dalvík and you will not regret it!


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.


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

Horse Activities

It is not surprising that these horses were called man's most necessary servant, considering the total lack of roads in former times. Leading through the untouched, charming nature of North Iceland, riding trails follow the coast, wind into the scenic mountains, or revive the use of age-old trails with varied history.

Experiencing an autumn roundup by the owners of free-ranging horses is no less of an adventure. Sitting on the corral fence and watching the action, you will see excitement, hear singing, and find happiness in every face. Many places in North Iceland have special exhibitions that introduce travellers to the Icelandic horse, and events related to riding and raising horses are always on the increase.

River Rafting

Anyone seeking excitement will find river rafting down Jökulsá Vestari or Jökulsá Austari ideal. Trips on these two adventurous glacial rivers are extremely popular, since the streams run through unique, spectacular canyons which draw ever more people to try this experience. 

While floating down these rivers, you will see plenty of impressive scenery and noteworthy locations. Why not try out river rafting for yourself, where the conditions are the best in Iceland? The excitement and the pretty nature of Skagafjörður are a wonderful mixture! Experienced Icelandic and foreign guides accompany the rafts, ensuring complete safety. 

You are not likely to forget your moments on the billowing waves of any of these glacial rivers.


Every town has museums representing many different aspects of life in Iceland. The culture and way of life from past centuries is commemorated in historical museums showing artefacts of olden days, mostly relating to the traditional occupations of agriculture and fishing. Natural science museums focus on representative samples and noteworthy characteristics of Iceland´s geology, flora and fauna.


The locals of the Arctic North are proud of their history and eager to introduce visitors to their art of storytelling, poems, and sagas stretching back to the Viking Age. The area has numerous historical interest sites and museums, presenting a specific part of Iceland's history and culture. Art also has a massive presence in the area. You can choose between visits to the artists in their studio or view larger art galleries and exhibitions. 

The culture and way of life of past centuries on display in historical museums showing artifacts of the olden days, mostly relating to the traditional occupations of agriculture and fishing. The traditional country architecture of natural stone and turf houses is also well represented. Natural science museums focus on representative samples and noteworthy characteristics of Iceland's geology, flora and fauna. Be sure to check out the various musical events or theatre productions available throughout the year. 

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 Eyjafjarðarsveit 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