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Hvammstangi is one of the best places in the world to learn about seals.

Hvammstangi is a village on the Vatnsnes Peninsula, four miles(six kilometers) north of the Ring Road. Nestled beside the Midfjordur fjord, Hvammstangi is the most densely populated area in West Hunathing County, with roughly 600 inhabitants.


Photo by Pascal Mauerhofer


History

Historically, Hvammstangi was an important trading center, dating back to 1856. The Trade Museum Bardúsa, located in the central town, tells this story, offering visitors an insight into both the small town’s development and how early settlers to the island once conducted their day-to-day business.

Culture

Today, Hvammstangi is a regional provider of education, administration, and tourism. The village's main draw is the inquisitive seal colonies who spend their days sunbathing or playing on the Vatnsnes peninsula. This area, along with the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, is the best place to go seal-watching in the country, so a great way to get to know this charming marine mammal is by staying in accommodation in Hvammstangi.

It comes as no surprise that Hvammstangi is home to the Icelandic Seal Center, found right beside the town’s picturesque harbor.

Here it is possible to learn about the different seal species around Iceland, their importance to the country’s folklore, and their historical cultivation by the people. The building also acts as a tourist information bureau, directing visitors toward the seal-watching, sightseeing, and sea angling trips that are all available on boat tours.

Hvammstangi has a reputation for its specialized small businesses. Next door to the seal center, there is a seafood restaurant - Sjávarborg - that boasts brilliant views of Midfjordur and presents the opportunity for visitors to try some of the local produce fresh from the ocean.

The museum Bardúsa, also a crafts shop, sells and displays locally made, beautifully handcrafted items. Bardúsa also hosts “S. Davíðsson Merchant’s Shop,” an old general store that was still up and running in the early 20th century.

The town also boasts a goldsmith, supermarket, health center, swimming pool, cliff-side campsite, and the largest sewing and knitting factory in Iceland.

Geography

Hvítserkur is the most known feature of the Vatnsnes Peninsula, near Hvammstangi.

The Vatnsnes Peninsula is easily accessible from Hvammstangi and offers a wealth of adventure on its own. Visitors here can explore the jagged rock Anastadastapi, on the peninsula’s western coastline or, alternatively, drive over to Húnafjörður bay to see the 15m high basalt monolith, Hvitserkur, sticking itself awkwardly through the battering ocean waves.

Photographers will find Vatnsnes a dream come true, with the abandoned farm of Stapar, the wild plains of the lowlands, and the encircling, mountainous horizons.

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