The one and only Grafarvogur

If Grafavogur, a neighbourhood in Reykjavík, were an independent town, it would be the fourth largest in the country. More than 20,000 people live in the area, in a mixed settlement of single-family, terraced, and apartment buildings.

Development began in the 1990s and is still ongoing. Now, there is even a Vínbúð (the state liquor store). Residents pointed out a few years ago that there was no such store in the city’s largest neighbourhood. At the same time, Kópasker, one of Iceland’s smallest towns in North Iceland, had one. Grafarvogur can be broken down into eight smaller districts; Hamrar, Foldir, Hús, Rimar, Borgir, Vík, Engi, Spöng, Staðir, Höfðar, Bryggjuhverfi, Geirsnef, Gufunes and Geldinganes. The last one is the only one still uninhabited, but there are future plans for construction there. The view over Reykjavík and Seltjarnarnes is breathtaking from there. Mount Esja gives Geldinganes, and the whole neighbourhood, good shelter from the cold northern winds.

The Grafarvogur neighbourhood is named after a cove by the same name, which is named after the deserted farm Gröf. It used to stand at the edge of the gorge where Grafarlækur flows into the sea.

Looking across Grafarvogur Cove to the Grafarvogur neighbourhood and the Grafarvogur church. It’s the neighbourhood’s only church and stands by the cove. Mount Esja and Móskarshnjúkar (on the right) can be seen in the background.

A large outdoor recreational area and an amusement park are in the neighbourhood.

Korpúlfsstaðir was originally a dairy farm built by Thor Jensen around 1925. The City of Reykjavík bought the land in 1942, and it is now an art centre, restaurant and facilities for golfers, while Korpúlfsstaðarvöllur Golf Course is on the old farm fields.


The Bryggjuhverfi district stands south of Grafarvogur; you can see Sundahöfn, Reykjavík’s large shipping port, across the cove.

Egilshöll in Grafarvogur is the country’s largest sports and entertainment centre, with a cinema, bowling, soccer fields and a skating rink mixed with restaurants and gymnasiums.

Hallsteinsgarður Park in Grafarvogur. It’s on a hill east of Gufunes. It has 16 aluminium sculptures by artist Hallstein Sigurðsson, made from 1989 to 2012, and is part of the Reykjavík Art Museum.

Reykjavík 08/08/2022 : A7R IV: FE 1.2/50mm GM

Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson