Information about Hafnarfjörður

Hafnarfjordur is part of the Greater Reykjavik Area.Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Udm

Hafnarfjörður is Iceland’s third most populous city, and located in the Greater Reykjavík Area. It has a population of 28,200, and is located to Reykjavík’s South.

Economy of Hafnarfjörður

Populated in the 14th Century at the latest, Hafnarfjörður was primarily a fishing and trading port in its origins, due to its excellent harbour and the fertile waters of Faxaflói Bay. While these industries are still going strong, Hafnafjörður has competing economies in tourism and heavy industry.

Tourism flourishes in Hafnarfjörður due to its proximity to Keflavík International Airport, the Blue Lagoon, the Reykjanes Peninsula and Reykjavík, as well as its natural beauty along its coast, and its wealth of services. Many tour operators will pick guests up from Hafnarfjörður, so if you would prefer to be away from the bustle of the capital, it is a great location to base yourself.

Hafnarfjörður also has a wealth of folklore that draws guests, no doubt due to the strange lava formations found in and around the town. These rocks are, according to Icelandic legend, the homes of the Hidden Folk, a mysterious elven people known for their mysterious, ethereal and often evil behaviour.

For such an urban centre, a surprising amount of locals still believe in the hidden folk. For this reason, people from Hafnarfjörður are often used as the butt of jokes by other Icelanders, in the same fashion of a ‘blonde joke’ in English. Of course, these jokes are not usually appreciated by those from Hafnarfjörður, who boast high levels of literacy and education.

The heavy industry in Hafnarfjörður revolves around its controversial aluminium smelter. While Iceland does not have its own deposits of aluminium, it has huge amounts of geothermal activity beneath its surface, making the processing of it incredibly cost-effective.

It was built to protests in 1969, and continues to face them today, for polluting the surrounding environment with fluoride, sullying Iceland’s environmental reputation, and being a general eyesore. Locals voted against its extension in 2006.

That being said, it is a large local employer and has brought prosperity to the city.

History of Hafnarfjörður

Hafnarfjörður has a history dating back to the 14th Century, where it is mentioned in early Icelandic literature. It was the site of the nation’s first Lutheran church, raised in 1553, and Lutheranism continues to be, by an enormous margin, the country’s dominant religion.

During the Danish Mononpoly, a period in which Iceland’s ruler, Denmark, controlled all the country’s trade, Hafnarfjörður was its busiest port. It was thus one of the earliest cities to get a town charter, in 1908.

As such a major trading port, Hafnarfjörður has seen some unusual milestones for the country, such as the arrival of its first car in 1913.

Culture in Hafnarfjörður

Hafnarfjörður is often called the “rock ‘n’ roll capital” of Iceland, as many of Iceland’s most popular rock bands can trace their roots here, such as HAM, Sign, Jet Black Joe, Jakobinarina and Ulpa.

 

Services near Hafnarfjörður

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Hafnarfjörður

Hnappavellir

Hnappavellir is Iceland's most popular climbing area, as well as its largest. These are vertical cliffs situated near Skaftafell in Vatnajok...

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Garðabær

Garðabær is a municipality in the Capital Region of Iceland, located between the districts of Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður.&n...

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Kapelluhraun

Kapelluhraun is a young lava field housing the ruins of a Catholic chapel, situated on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland.  The lava...

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Bessastaðir

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Kópavogur

Kópavogur is a municipality in the Capital Region of Iceland. It is the largest town of those surrounding Reykjavík City, as well a...

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Nauthólsvík

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Reykjavík Airport

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Búrfell

Búrfell is a mountain in the south of Iceland, situated along the western boundary of Þjórsárdalur Valley. Geology and his...

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Reykjavík

Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of any sovereign state in the world. Despite a small population (approximat...

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Perlan

Perlan ('The Pearl') is a museum and rotating glass dome built on top of six water tanks that together store 24 million litres of Reykjav&ia...

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Reykjahlíð

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Norræna húsið

Credit: The Nordic House Facebook.  The Nordic House (Est. 1968) is a cultural institution and exhibition space in Reykjavík which aims t...

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University of Iceland

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Helgafell

  Helgafell is a farm and church site, by a 73 m hill of the same name, and located on Thorsnes, south of Stykkisholmur on Snaefellsnes peninsul...

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Elliðaá

  Ellidaa is a river inside the Reykjavik area. Its source are two smaller rivers in the Blafjoll mountain range and the Hengill area that flow ...

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Hljómskálagarðurinn

Hljómskálagarðurinn is a park in Reykjavík’s downtown area, renowned for its birdlife, sculptures, and serenity. Loc...

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National Museum

  The Icelandic National Museum, located at Sudurgata 41 in Reykjavik, displays objects providing a great insight to the nation's cultural h...

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Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church, located on top of the Skólavörðuhæð hill in the centre of Reykjavík. A...

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Tjörnin

Tjörnin is the historic, picturesque pond that can be found in downtown Reykjavík. Sites and Activities at Tjörnin This popular s...

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Hlemmur

Hlemmur is a  long-time fixture of Reykjavík’s capital region, serving for the past century as a central transportation hub. Hlemm...

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Tours near Hafnarfjörður

Horseback Riding in the Lava Fields

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Family Horseback Riding Tour | From Reykjavik

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Two-Hour ATV Adventure from Reykjavik

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Horseback Riding and Whale Watching

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ATV Tour and Blue Lagoon | Reykjanes Peninsula Day Tour

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Meet the Icelandic Horse | Hafnarfjordur Horse Farm Visit

Meet the friendly Icelandic horse on this short and affordable tour to a local horse farm, where......

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Family Horse-Riding Adventure | Meet on Location

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Midnight Sun ATV Tour from Reykjavik

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Leidarendi Lava Cave Exploration

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Viking Express Horseback Tour | Helgafell or Heidmork

Jump in the saddle for a long afternoon ride with the Icelandic horse. This tour is recommended......

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Caving on the Reykjanes Peninsula | Half-Day Tour from Reykjavik

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Greater Reykjavik Area | Evening Tour

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Whale Watching & Horse Riding | Day-Tour from Reykjavik

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Reykjavik to Keflavik Airport | Sightseeing Reykjanes Before Departure

Make the most of your final hours in Iceland with this sightseeing tour from Reykjavík to......

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Fat-Bike Adventure on the Reykjanes Peninsula

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Three-Course Home Cooked Christmas Dinner in Hafnarfjordur

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Private Northern Lights Hunt | Personal experience

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Christmas Walking Tour in Hafnarfjordur

Immerse yourself in Icelandic Christmas culture with this wonderful walking tour. This excursion......

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Luxurious Private Transfer from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik

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Private Return Transfer to the Blue Lagoon

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