Hafnarfjörður is a beautiful port town located on the south-west coast of Iceland. Approximately 17 kilometres south of capital Reykjavik, it is the third most populous city in Iceland. In addition to its fascinating heritage, the city hosts several annual festivals and is home to mystical elvish legends. It is also known as a popular area to view the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.
The city of Hafnarfjörður has much to offer visitors. Head to the harbour to see fishermen at work, stop for a coffee and observe this age-old tradition in full flow. The old city is a fascinating place to discover, as its colourful corrugated houses are typical of the Icelandic landscape. Nearby, the park of Hellisgerði is pretty as a picture, adorned with natural lava formations and mystical walks. Shopping is a fun pastime in Hafnarfjörður. The main shopping street, Strandgata, offers visitors the chance to browse charming independent art galleries, boutiques and cafes. Those keen to delve into the city’s culture can explore Hafnarfjörður Museum. It houses two exhibitions, one dedicated to the history of the city and the second, children’s antique toys. Adventurers interested in enveloping themselves in nature can enjoy horseback riding or a walk through the unspoilt Krýsuvík Geothermal Area, a 25-minute drive away. Thousands of birds reside among the rugged clifftops, and it’s possible to spot guillemots, razorbills and other species while admiring the wild Atlantic coastline. One activity no visitor should miss is a trip to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Due to low light pollution, it is possible to view this incredible natural light show in the night sky close to Hafnarfjörður. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture this once in a lifetime experience.
The city centre of Hafnarfjörður is compact and easy to walk around, with many attractions walking distance of each other. Regular bus services operate to the Icelandic capital Reykjavik. Alternatively, visitors can drive to the outlying geothermal areas or take an organised trip to the famous Blue Lagoon. Taxis and Uber are available across the island.
Hafnarfjörður takes its name from the city’s natural harbour, as it means “harbour fjord”. The city dates to medieval times, with reports of voyages and trading from the 14th century. The city became part of the Hanseatic trade league and also became the site of the first Lutheran church in Iceland. The city’s economy is strongly tied to fishing, as it’s home to one of the country’s largest fishing centres and markets. Visitors and locals flock to Hafnarfjörður to enjoy the many festivals the city hosts. From Rock concerts to Viking re-enactments, there is something to suit everyone.