Dalabyggð is characterised by its rolling valleys heading inland and its narrow shoreline. It is the last outpost of West Iceland before the impressive landforms of the north and the Westfjords take over. The west coast has a few bays and harbours and many skerries and islands lie offshore at the shallow head of Breiðafjörður bay on Skógarströnd.
It’s a family-friendly place to visit as it combines historical and cultural attractions with a fascinating world of wildlife and nature. It’s an ideal place to relax, away from city life, to enjoy the outdoors, discover and learn about the Icelandic Sagas. Dalabyggð is extremely rich in history and is a major setting for the sagas and served as the setting for one of the most popular Icelandic sagas, Laxdæla Saga. In fact, few parts of Iceland are as rich in history as Dalabyggð, where records go back to the Settlement in the 9th – 10th centuries. Ancient Icelandic sagas tell how Eirik the Red, who in 985-6 AD pioneered the settlement of Greenland, lived in Haukadalur valley at a place called Eiríksstaðir. His son, Leifur Heppni, or Leif the Lucky, was born there and a reconstruction of his birthplace has been built in Dalabyggð, based on the ruins of Eiríks farmhouse.
There is considerable vegetation in the districts and the islands offshore are abound of rich bird life and seals. Farming and processing of agricultural products are the main local industries along with service and commerce. Búðardalur is the main administrative and service centre in Dalabyggð.
In addition, the area offers beautiful scenery for hiking and walking, both along the shore and inland, and has good rivers for angling and a diverse bird life. Other activities include horse riding trips, bird and seal watching, and swimming in geothermal heated outdoor pools. Visitors can also explore the Dalir Heritage Museum as well as local farms, such as Erpsstaðir, where you are offered to taste and buy local products and get to know the way of life in Dalabyggð. Trout fishing is available in the area, in Lake Haukadalsvatn and the lakes of Ljárskógar and Sólheimar.
Búðardalur is the largest town in the municipality of Dalabyggð and is situated on the Hvammsfjörður in the north-west of Iceland. The village has around 270 inhabitants and is a service centre for the area, including the regional tourist information centre but the village has all necessary amenities.
The village has a long history, dating back from the time of the first settlements in Iceland. The name of the town means ‘Camp Valley’ and it got the name because the settlers had temporary camps when coming into the area. Búðardalur was officially granted the right of commerce in 1899, and an old house from that time still stands in the village.