Project Description


Sauðárkrókur – Varmahlíð – Hofsós


GPS: 65.7461103,-19.6481988



Skagafjörður is beautiful fjord located in the north of Iceland. It is around 40 km long and 30 km wide and has three islands in the midst, Drangey, Málmey and Lundey. The steep Drangey is, without a doubt the most known, shaped like a fort and has a rich birdlife. It also plays a role in the Icelandic Sagas, as it was the refuge for the outlaw Grettir in the Grettis Saga. In fact, the whole of Skagafjordur has a rich and interesting history and five of the largest battles in Icelandic history were fought there in the 13th-century civil war. Culture is, however, not the only factor that characterises Skagafjörð, but it is also known for its beauty. Towards the end of the fjord is a beautiful wide valley surrounded by majestic mountains, grassy plains, blue lakes and glacial rivers. Although there is no volcanic activity in Skagafjörður, there is a lot of geothermal warmth, especially around Varmahlíð. There are around 4000 inhabitants that call Skagafjörður home, there as around 2500 of them live in the town of Sauðárkrókur.

Despite the seemingly small community, culture notably thrives in Skagafjordur. Culture and entertainment have been intertwined in regional get-togethers, often referred to as Sæluvika, or Happy Week. These meetings can be traced back to 1874 and have included everything from theatre and dances to debates and handicraft.

Horsemanship puts a significant mark on the everyday life and culture of Skagafjorður. In 1881 the county purchased the old episcopal property at Hólar to establish an agricultural school. Today, Hólar University College is a modern and popular university focused on horse breeding, agriculture, and tourism. Therefore, agriculture remains the largest economic factor in Skagafjörður.

Skagafjörður offers an abundance of all kinds of adventures and a rich cultural sphere visitors can enjoy while here. The district is an excellent place to enjoy the Icelandic nature. Skagafjordur has some of the best rafting rivers in the country, so rafting is a very popular attraction here, along with horseback riding.


varmahlidMost travellers that are travelling route 1 or the Ring Road make a stop at Varmahlíð. The village developed around services for travellers and the oldest hotel and restaurant dates back to 1931. It’s a small village but does have all necessary services, such as gas station, restaurant, supermarket and an information centre. Varmahlíð has a lot of geothermal hot water which has resulted in locals building a number of greenhouses to cultivate tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables.

If you are looking for a longer pit stop there is also a sports hall and of course a local swimming pool. We also recommend the walk around the forest growth at Reykjahóll towards the viewing platform and fully enjoy the magnificent view over Skagafjord. Activities such as horse rentals and river rafting are also available in the surroundings of Varmahlíð. Salmon and trout can be caught in the nearby rivers and lakes along with many places of interest can be found near the village. North of Varmahlíð you can explore an old renovated turf farmhouse at Glaumbær museum, giving visitors a good sense of the rural life of 18th and 19th century Iceland and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

saudarkrokurSauðarkrókur is the largest town in Skagafjorður with the population of around 2600 people. Its name can be a bit tricky to pronounce but the direct translation would be ‘SheepRiver-Hook’, and it gets it’s name from the river Sauðá. The town provides a wide range of services such as accommodation, restaurants, shops, museums and exhibitions, sports facilities, skiing slopes and a local swimming pool. Unlike other settlements in Skagafjörður that focus on agriculture, Sauðárkrókur mostly relies on the fishing industry for livelihood although there are many kinds of industries to be found in the village, such as an insulation manufacturing factory, a fur skinning factory, creamery, shrimp factory to name a few.

There are loads of things to do and explore in Sauðárkrókur. We recommend taking a walk towards the cemetery that is located in the hills above the town. Nearby, you’ll find a viewing platform that provides wonderful views of the old town, the countryside and over the fjord. Sauðárkrókur has a lovely local swimming pool, perfect to relax in after a day of activities and the 9-hole golf course is considered one of the best in Iceland. In the nearby valley of Sauðá, you’ll also find Litli Skógur, or little forest which has lovely little trails through birch and beech trees and offers an excellent opportunity for picnics.

We also recommend that you check out Borgarsand, a 4-kilometre long beach, ideal to spend time with the family, taking walking along the sea and playing with the kids. Bird lovers should not miss out on Ásthildarholtsvatn, where you can find a diverse birdlife along with signs that inform of the species that can be found there.

hofsos 2Hofsós is a cosy village that has a 400 year old history and was for a long time the main trade centre in Skagafjordur. In the old village surrounding the harbour many of the houses have been renovated, giving the village a unique ‘period’ look and atmosphere. Because of its rich history, Hofsós has some great historical exhibitions, including the Immigration Museum that focuses on the mass migration of Icelanders to North America in the late 18 century. Across the river, you’ll also find one of the oldest timber buildings in the whole country, a tar-coated and log-built warehouse (Pakkhúsið) that was built in 1772. A little out of the town, you will also find the remains of an old trading centre from 1835.

Hofsós is a lovely village to relax in and explore. As well as major services, Hofsós also offer a range of activities. There is a lovely walk through the old town, over the pedestrian bridge over the river Hofsós, or just stroll around the village and enjoy the unique and cosy atmosphere. The Hofsós swimming pool was renovated in 2010 and is complete must-visit when in town. It was voted the best swimming pool in Iceland in 2015, because of its amazing location and wonderful views over the fjord.