Information about Stykkishólmur

Stykkisholmur is a colourful and charming town.Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir

Stykkisholmur is a town of about 1,100 people on northern shore of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is a centre of service and commerce in the area, and the ferry Baldur sails from here to Brjanslaekur in the Westfjords.

History of Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur has long attracted settlers due to its natural harbour and its access to the fertile fishing grounds of Breiðafjörður.

Because of its early settlement, it features in the Sagas (if not by name), notably Laxdæla Saga, one of the great early works of Icelandic literature. It is one of the earliest European stories with a passionate and powerful female lead Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir, who struggles against a destiny to lose four husbands while trying to keep her children close and safe.

According to the tale, she eventually became the country’s first nun, and when she died, was buried at Helgafell, a small mountain near Stykkisholmur.

The first proper development for the town, however, came in 1550, with the creation of a trading post. Trading posts were uncommon in Iceland at the time due to the dangers and distances involved with travelling across the Atlantic, but Stykkisholmur’s natural harbour made it possible.

The settlement grew further with the beginning of the Danish Trade Monopoly over Iceland, starting in 1602 and not ending until near the end of the 18th Century. Though the policies of this monopoly disenfranchised and impoverished many Icelanders, it did help the development of towns along the peninsula such as Stykkisholmur.

In spite of the animosity felt from Icelanders towards the Danish under their colonial rule (a wound that has all but healed in every arena apart from perhaps sports), Stykkisholmur has always boasted good ties with their former rulers.

Every years since 1994, on the third weekend of August, Stykkisholmur holds a ‘Danish Day’, where it celebrates the historic and continued relations between the town and country. It is also the sister town of Kolding in Denmark.

Culture at Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur has long been a fishing and trading harbour.Photo from 'The Ultimate Guide to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula'

Stykkisholmur is a cultural hub, particularly considering its size. There is museum called the Norwegian House, which is the oldest two-storey building in Iceland, from 1828, and reveals what life was like for wealthy Icelanders of the day. There is also a Volcano Museum and the country’s oldest weather station, dating back to 1845.

Scenes to represent Greenland in the film ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ were shot in Stykkisholmur. In the novel Red Storm Rising, the town was the landing point of American troops liberating Iceland from the clutches of the Soviets.

Surroundings of Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur is on the northern side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and thus close to many incredible natural sites. The two most significant are Mount Kirkjufell and Snæfellsjökull National Park.

Kirkjufell is often nicknamed Iceland’s most photographed mountain; it rises from the edge of the ocean like a pyramid, and can be admired from many angles. Particularly pleasant is viewing it from beside the waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss, which trickles nearby.

Snæfellsjökull is one of Iceland’s three National Parks, named after its crowning glacier and volcano. This magnificent, twin-peaked feature has featured in novels such as Jules Verne’s ‘A Journey to the Centre of the Earth’, and Halldor Laxness’ ‘Under the Glacier’.

It is also steeped in folklore and mystery, said to home the spirit of the peninsula’s guardian spirit and a centre of strange energies. This was so much the case that thousands of people, including new crews from the United States, showed up one evening that some theorists predicted an alien craft landing on it.

On the southern side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula are many more attractions such as the Lóndrangar basalt cliffs, Ytri Tunga seal watching beach, and the Rauðfeldsgjá gorge.

 

Services near Stykkishólmur

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Stykkishólmur

Höfði

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo by Laurentgauthier Höfði is a building in Iceland’s capital, most famous for being the meeting poin...

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Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum

Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Xfigpower The Bjarnahöfn Shark Museum is a fascinating exhibition on the processing of traditio...

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Berserkjahraun

Berserkjahraun is a 4000-year-old lava field situated on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It covers the western part of Helgafell, between Stykkish&oa...

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Bjarnarhöfn

Bjarnarhofn is a farmstead on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Many notable Icelanders lived here. Bjarnarhofn's church and shark museum are listed as ...

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Melrakkaey

Melrakkaey ("Fox Island") is a small island found at the mouth of Grundarfjörður. Melrakkaey was protected in 1972 and today, onl...

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Gerðuberg

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Geri340 Gerðuberg is a row of perfectly shaped hexagonal basalt columns that run along a cliff on the ...

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Grundarfjörður

Wikimedia, Creative CommonsChensiyuan  Grundarfjörður is a small town found on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula ...

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Breiðafjörður

Breiðafjörður is a nature reserve and bay between the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords in west Iceland. Geography of Bre...

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Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell, or 'Church Mountain', is a distinctly shaped peak found on the north shore of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula, only ...

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Ljósufjöll

Ljósufjöll is a central volcano and fissure vent system, located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula’s volcanic zone in West Icelan...

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Flatey

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Kolbrún Ragna. Flatey ('Flat Island') is just one of the thousands of islands that dot Brei&...

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Ytri Tunga Beach

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by pjt56. Ytri Tunga is a beach by a farm of the same name on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Unlike many...

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Eldborg

  Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir. Eldborg is a 60 m (197 ft) high volcanic crater, located north of Borgarnes in West I...

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Búðir

Búðir is a small hamlet in the municipality of Snæfellsbær on the westernmost tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The ha...

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Búðardalur

  Budardalur is a village of around 650 inhabitants in the fjord Hvammsfjordur, innermost off Breidafjordur. It is the service center for the ar...

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Leifssafn

The Leifssafn museum in Budardalur village in West Iceland features the Vinland Exhibit of viking and explorer Leif Ericsson. The exhibitio...

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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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Guðrúnarlaug

Guðrúnarlaug, or "Guðrún’s pool," is a pool with naturally hot water in West Iceland.  The pool has over...

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Ólafsvík

Olafsvik is a fishing town of just over a 1000 people, located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.  Economy and services Olafsvik h...

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Ölkelda

  Olkelda is a farm in the south of Snaefellsnes, taking its name from a renowned mineral spring close by. The pristine mineral spring by the O...

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