Information about Borgarnes

An aerial view of the town of Borgarnes.Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Chensiyuan

Borgarnes is a town of less than 2000 people, located on a peninsula at the shore of Borgarfjörður. It is a historical settlement, a cultural hub and an essential commerce centre for a large part of western Iceland.

Getting to Borgarnes

Borgarnes is located to the north of Reykjavík, reached by travelling Route 1, otherwise known as the Ring Road which encircles the country. This journey takes you through a six kilometre tunnel beneath the fjord of Hvalfjörður, and over the second longest bridge in Iceland.

The tunnel comes with a small charge (as it was an ambitious infrastructure project that still needs to be fully paid for), so alternatively, visitors can take the long, scenic route around Hvalfjörður by turning at Route 47. This route is encouraged if you plan on hiking to the second tallest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur, which is nestled in the fjord.

Please note that taking the long route will double the time of the otherwise hour long trip.

If driving to the Westfjords,  the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, or the north, Borgarnes serves as a great place to stop for fuel, food, drinks and a place to explore.

History and Culture at Borgarnes

Borgarnes from the ocean.Photo from Flickr by Funky Tee

Borgarnes was settled in Iceland’s earliest days, over a millennium ago, and has long been occupied by fishermen; the village was not to substantially grow, however, until the 20th Century when Iceland’s infrastructure boomed and it became an important gateway to the country’s north and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

The town is now home to two museums, the Settlement Centre and, curiously, the Centre for Puppet Arts.

The Settlement Centre is the largest and most famous. It houses two exhibitions, one on the Settlement Era and another on the Saga of Egil.

The former talks about how Iceland’s settlement began in the late 9th Century, as Norwegian jarls began to unite under a king, and chiefs sought new land where they could maintain control. En route, they took slaves, mainly women from Ireland, and the Icelandic population was formed.

They settled across the country in approximately thirty clans, before uniting in 930 to form what would later become the world’s longest running representative parliament, thus beginning the Commonwealth Era.

The exhibition is interactive and great for children and adults alike. Icelandic history is often overlooked by visitors in lieu of its incredible nature, yet is a surprisingly well-recorded story of hardship, unity, folklore and endurance against all odds.

The exhibition on Egil’s Saga is fascinating even to those unfamiliar with Icelandic texts. Icelanders have always been storytellers, and their greatest heroes often poets and writers rather than kings and warriors.

The sagas are amongst the first records of these stories, and are still read in school today, much like Shakespeare in England. Interestingly, however, Icelandic is one of the world’s oldest languages, and the texts still read similarly to modern-day works of writing.

The tale perfectly captures what life in Norway and Iceland were like from 850 to 1000 AD, over several generations, and like many Icelandic pieces of writing, shows the many contradictions of the Icelandic character, spirit and family in a way that is both stark and sympathetic.

If travelling with children, Bjössaróló environmental playground is a great place to spend an hour or two, which Björn Hjörtur Guðmundsson spent years developing using salvaged materials for all the equipment.

Here you'll find slides built into the surrounding hillocks, many slings, a jungle gym, spinning top and several lookout points. There's also a castle, an old boat, seesaws and a climbing dome. It's renowned as the best playground in the country, and additionally provides an excellent view of the sea.

 

Services near Borgarnes

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Borgarnes

The Settlement Center

Photo from: The Settlement Centre Facebook.  The Settlement Centre is an exhibition space and museum in Borgarnes, in the west of Iceland, dedic...

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Settlement Center

At the Settlement Center in Borgarnes in West Iceland, you can learn about the age of settlement and about viking and poet and Egill Skallagrimsson ...

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Húsafell

Húsafell is a large farm and church site in the Borgarfjörður district of West Iceland. With incredible natural beauty, it has been ...

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Borg á Mýrum

Borg á Mýrum is a farm and church estate just west of the town of Borgarnes in Iceland.  The estate is especially rich in settleme...

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Borgarfjörður

Borgarfjörður is a fjord and a district in south western Iceland, by Faxaflói bay. It covers the coastal land between Reykjaví...

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Hvanneyri

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Álftanes

Álftanes is a town and former municipality in Iceland, located roughly twenty minutes drive from the capital, Reykjavik, on the northeastern ...

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Fossatún

Fossatún is a country hotel, renowned for being a centre to learn about Iceland’s troll folklore. Nearby are Troll Waterfal...

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Hvalfjörður

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Axel Kristinsson Hválfjörður is a fjord in southwest Iceland. The fjord is approximat...

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Akrafjall

Akrafjall is a mountain located on the Akranes Peninsula on the west coast of Iceland. Mount Akrafjall is a lone and eye-catching mountain that ris...

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Bjarteyjarsandur

Bjarteyjarsandur is a family farm in west Iceland, where visitors can enjoy an authentic, rural Icelandic experience. Located in Hvalfjörður...

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Akranes

Akranes is a port town in the west of Iceland, approximately 42 km from Reykjavik, lying at the tip of the peninsula separating Hvalfjörður a...

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Hítardalur

Hitardalur is an ancient manor estate and vicarage in the valley of the same name in West Iceland, close to Borgarnes. History Hitardalur is widel...

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Krauma Spa

Photo from Admission to Krauma Geothermal Baths The Krauma Spa is a geothermal bath and spa resort in West Iceland. It is located near Europe&#...

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Árhver and Vellir

Árhver (and nearby Vellir) is a geological feature which consists of six to eight vents on small sand flats, some slightly elevated but most ...

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Glanni

Glanni is a beautiful waterfall in West Iceland, located close to the Grabrokarhraun lava field and the village Bifrost. Situated nearby, in the mid...

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Valshamar

Valshamar is a vertical cliff in Hvalfjordur in Southwest Iceland, highly popular for rock climbing. The cliff is bolted and offers many great routes...

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West Iceland

West Iceland is home to the country’s capital city, Reykjavík, and an array of impressive natural sites. These include Europe's mos...

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Grábrók

Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir Grábrók is a volcanic crater east of Lake Hreðavatn in the fjord of Borgarfj...

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Reykholt

Reykholt is a tiny village in west Iceland, which was once home to one of the world’s greatest medieval writers. Packed with history and cultu...

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