Travel search
Can't find it? Try searching for it :)

Interesting towns and villages

holmurinn.png
Interesting towns and villages

The population centres in West Iceland are as varied as they are many. Ten places have over 50 residents and Akranes is the most densely populated with 6,500 inhabitants. 

All of the larger communities put ever-increasing emphasis on dynamic tourism where a wide selection of recreation and services are offered.   

Budardalur

Budardalur is the main administrative and service centre in the Dalabyggd region.

Few parts of Iceland are as rich in history as Dalabyggd, where records go back virtually unbroken to the Settlement in the 9th and 10th centuries.

On the 24th July 2000, a replica of a Viking ship, Islendingur (Icelander), set sail from Budardalur harbour en route for Greenland and America, retracing the first Viking voyages to North America.

From Reykjavík City Centre to Budardalur: 153 km.

Tourist Information Office, guesthouse, camping site, restaurant and café.

Borgarnes

Borgarnes lies in the middle of West Iceland about 75 km from Reykjavík City Centre.
In Borgarnes you can create an unforgettable holiday: breakfast and a beautiful view at Geirabakarí, Relaxing in the Skallagrímsgarður public Park, Visiting the bird and photography exhibition at the Borgarfjörður Museum, watching the saga exhibits at the Settlement Centre. hiking in Einkunnir Country Park or climbing the Hafnarfjall mountain. Shopping in the local stores, take a dive at the Borgarnes Swimming Pool, eating delicious meal made from local products in the restaurants, and resting in one of the town's hotel, guesthouse, or B&Bs.

And don't forget to take a walk along the beach or stop at the playground Bjössaróló were children of all ages can play for hours.

Stykkisholmur

Stykkishólmur is located by Breiðafjörður Bay on the north of Snæfellsnes peninsula, and is surrounded by wonderful views of the innumberable islands. One of the defining landmarks in Stykkishólmur are the old houses which reside in the old city center and this is reflected in the atmosphere – it sometimes feels like a place from a different time. In 2008 Stykkishólmur was presented with a planning award in part for its renovation of the old houses. The town and its inhabitants have systematically rehabilitated the houses, and they have gained new and exciting purposes – what once was a library is now an art installation, a fish packing house is now a restaurant, the old recreation center is now a volcano museum!  The church in Stykkisholmur is an fascinating architectural structure. It makes a beautiful landmark both from land and sea. The view from the church over Breidarfjordur is spectacular.

Stykkisholmur is, as we mentioned above, known as the gateway to the innumerable islands of Breidafjordur bay, which is renowned for its natural beauty and remarkable wildlife. We have plenty of ways to explore these sight on different levels via kayaking and tour boats of all sizes.

Stykkishólmur boasts of a great swimmingpool, that includes an indoor and outdoor pool, a large water slide and hot tubs with water with healing properties certified by the Institut Fresenius. In Stykkishólmur we have open wi-fi access for tourists, numerous hotels, youth hostels, bed and breakfasts, a large camping site and a 9-hole golf course. In Stykkishólmur everyone should be able to find a restaurant to their liking as there is not only many of theme here, but they also cater to diverse tastes.

Within the city center you can visit three unique museums: The Volcano museum, The Library of Water and The Norwegian House.

The Volcano museum is The private collection of Haraldur Sigurðsson, a renowned volcanologist who has carried out research on colvanoes worldwide. Aunique exhibition of international art and objects related to volcanoes and their impact on our historu. Enjoy or movies of volcanic eruption all aroud the world

The Library of Water is an istallation of 24 glass columns, by the artist Roni Horn, containing melted ice from some of the major glaciers around iceland. The glass colums refract and reflect the light onto a rubber floor embedded with a field of words that concern with weather, water, words and identities.

The Norwegian house serves as the regional museum for the Snæfellsnes area. The house has been renovated back to it original style, with an open storage on the top floor. Rotating exhibiton as wrll as a museum shop with handicraft, sweets, coffee from the area.

Stykkisholmur has been the frontrunner in environmental consciousness in Iceland and along with the four other municipalities on the Snaefellsnes peninsula it is the first community in Europe to get  the EarthCheck environmental certification. The town is operated in as environmental friendly way as possible continually measuring various environmental indicators. The town was also the first municipality in Iceland to start fully sorting its waste as well as the first town in Iceland to receive the prestigious Blue flag eco-label for its harbour, and has been an European Destination of Excellence (EDEN), since 2011.

Akranes

Akranes is just a stone's throw away from the capital largest town in West Iceland with the population 6630.

The Museum Area at Gardar is without a doubt the cultural centre of Akranes and a popular destination for tourists. Not far from there is the highly-praised 18-hole Gardavollur golf course and, likewise, the Gardalundur outdoor area with a playground for children of all ages.

The swimming pool at Jadarsbakki are also just a few minutes from the Museum Area.

If you are into photography or just interested in exploring new things in Iceland you need to look at Akranes lighthouses. Down by the harbour you will notice two lighthouses. The bigger one that is currently in use is open to the public so you can go up and enjoy the view from there and there is even a photography exhibition to enjoy in there.

From Reykjavik City Centre to Akranes 49 km. There is a regular bus service from Reykjavik to Akranes several times a day.

Guesthouses, camping site, restaurant, café, museum, swimming pool and an 18- hole golf course.

Hvanneyri

For centuries Hvanneyri has been a chuch centre and a small comunity of 250 inhabitants formed around agricultural organizations. The main one is the Agricultural Universtity, which traces its roots back to 1889.

The little church now standing in Hvanneyri was built in 1905.

The Agricultural Museum exhibits antique tractors and farming tools and Ullarselid is a woollen and handicrafts workshop.
From Reykjavik City Centre: 80 km.

Grundarfjordur

Home to Mt Kirkjufell

Though Grundarfjörður is not the most well-known town in Snæfellsnes, its mountain is certainly one of the most famous mountains in Iceland, if not the world. It is not unusual for photographers from all over the world to make their way to Grundarfjörður for the sole purpose of photographing this unique landmark which has even starred in a number of films.

Once the increasing number of visitors have had their fill of Kirkjufell, they quickly discover that there is a lot more on offer in Grundarfjörður than merely magnificent mountains. Nature abounds, with vibrant birdlife, spectacular waterfalls, great hiking trails and exciting marine visitors such as seals and whales putting in an appearance every now and then. During the long summer days, there are daily boat trips where visitors can go deep sea fishing, see puffins and other beautiful birds and perhaps even catch sight of a whale or two.

Grundarfjörður is conveniently located in the middle of Snæfellsnes and provides easy access to Stykkishólmur, Snæfellsbær and the Snæfellsnes National Park. There is a great selection of accommodation available, with a high quality hotel and hostel, two guesthouses, a farm holiday guesthouse and a campsite by the swimming pool.

The swimming pool with its hot tubs is just one of a number of exciting services around the town. There is also a golf course, a family restaurant, a hotel restaurant, a coffee shop, information centre, horse rentals, a pharmacy, a liquor store, a dry cleaning and laundry service and a well-stocked grocery store.

Though most visitors to Grundarfjörður arrive by road, there are also thousands that come by sea. Grundarfjörður Harbour makes every effort to make a cruise ship's visit comfortable and memorable for passengers and crew alike and as a result the number of cruise ships visits have increased from 2 in 2001 to no fewer than 18 scheduled for this summer.

During summer the town truly comes alive in a number of different ways. The local Viking Association are building up a Viking "village" in the centre of town and Viking-age re-enactments are often the highlight of the day for cruise ship passengers.

During the town festival, Á góðri stund, which is held the last weekend in July, the town literally changes colour when inhabitants and their guests decorate their houses in red, blue, yellow and green and indulge in a range of activities for all the family, from art exhibitions to fighting Vikings to concerts on the pier.

From Mt Kirkjufell to the sea, Grundarfjörður welcomes all its visitors equally. See you in summer!

Olafsvik

Olafsvik is a town on the northern side of Snaefellsnes peninsula, close to the magnificent glacier, Snaefellsjokull.

Olafsvik has a large fishing harbour which is ideal for watching the lively seamans life.

An old warehouse, built in 1844, is now protected and houses a museum, with exhibits displaying working methods from ancient times.

At the end of Baejargil gorge is the beautiful Baejarfoss waterfall. Snaefellsjokull National Park with its amazing nature is in the vicinity.

Distance from Reykjavik City Centre: 195 km.

Tourist Information Office, hotel, guesthouse, camping site, restaurant, museum, Maritime Museum, swimming pool and a 9-hole golf course.

Hellissandur & Rif

Hellissandur was once a major fishing centre but Rif was one of the main trading ports on Snaefellsnes peninsula. Most of the villages' fishing fleet is now based at Rif. These two villages are only 2 km apart.

The Maritime Museum at Hellisssandur has displays that include Iceland´s oldest rowboat, built in 1826.

The area between Hellissandur and Rif is a bird-lovers' paradise and one of the largest arctic tern nesting areas in Iceland.

Snaefellsjokull National Park is on the doorstep of Hellissandur.

From Reykjavik City Centre to Hellissandur:195 km.

Hotel, camping site, restaurant, cafés and museum.

Bifrost

Bifrost is a university village with a population of 200 but during the winter months 600 - 700 people live there.

Bifrost is a direct descendant of the Cooperative School, which was founded in Reykjavík in 1918. In summer 1955 the school was moved to Bifrost, in the valley of Nordurardalur, in the Borgarfjordur area.

Close by is Mt Baula, Glanni Waterfall and a 9-hole golf course named after the waterfall Glanni.

From Reykjavik City Centre: 107 km.

Restaurant and a 9 - hole golf course close by.

Hvalfjordur

Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord),only 50 km from Reykjavik, gives an excellent opportunity to enjoy the unique beauty of Icelandic fjords,with its sloops, shores, canyons and waterfalls and its somewhat controversial history of whaling. The area is especially quiet and tranquil with few people around. Glymur, the highest waterfall of Iceland (198 m) is in Hvalfjordur.

Borgarfjordur

Borgarnes and the surrounding Borgarfjörður region can be regarded as the setting for most of the Icelandic sagas. The area's landscape, nature and culture reflect this heritage and bring history to life

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

This 90- km long peninsula comprises a world of diversity. Friendly towns and villages, spectacular mountains, a multitude of bird species nesting on treacherous cliffs, beaches of sand and pebbles popular among horsemen and rock skimmers, remnants and relics scattered here and there of times and ways of life long past. Saga sites and hiking trails.

The Snaefellsjokull National Park is at the westernmost part of the peninsula, including the mystical glacier Snaefellsjokull, as well as other unique sites such as Djupalonssandur, Thufubjarg and more.

In 2008, the communities of Snaefellsnes Peninsula were the first in Europe to receive certification from Green Globe, an international benchmarking system for sustainable travel and tourism.

West Iceland

Towns & Villages

The population centres in West Iceland are as varied as they are many. Ten places have over 50 residents and Akranes is the most densely populated with 6,500 inhabitants. 

All of the larger communities put ever-increasing emphasis on dynamic tourism where a wide selection of recreation and services are offered.   

Explore map by categories

Map Hellissandur, Rif Grundarfjörður Stykkishólmur Búðardalur Dalir Arnarstapi Hellnar Snæfellsnes Bifröst Húsafell Reykholt Borgarfjörður Hvanneyri Borgarnes Hvalfjörður Akranes Ólafsvík