Shaped by the Bay
A Base on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
On the northern part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula lies Stykkishólmur, a picturesque seaside town that overlooks the beautiful Breiðafjörður bay. The town’s rich history as a centre for trading, transportation, culture and service for the bay area gives it a unique sense of antiquity and historical significance. The town’s centre is home to some of the most colourful and oldest houses in the country—almost making the whole town a museum in itself.
Stykkishólmur is viewed as one of Iceland’s most charming towns by many Icelanders. The town’s proximity to Breiðafjörður bay contributes to the town’s character to a large extent, surrounding it with exclusive natural beauty. Likewise, the town’s historical significance, as a former centre for trade and commerce centuries ago, and a seat of government. The inhabitants have consciously made an effort to preserve the town’s old spirit, by retaining its appearance and maintaining old traditions from the bay area.
Visitors will get a chance to experience this when dining out in Stykkishólmur, where they’ll get fresh ingredients from the bay and surrounding area, served on plates made by local chefs from local ingredients.
Sail Away in Breiðafjörður Bay
If you only have time to partake in one activity while you’re in Stykkishólmur, a chance to go sailing in Breiðafjörður bay is not to be missed. There are numerous professional guides available in the area that will happily provide you with this unforgettable experience. A calming cruise navigating the stunning islets gives a unique opportunity to view the splendorous wildlife in the area close-up, such as the seals and the colourful seabirds inhabiting the holms, including the distinctive puffin from just metres away. You will have a chance to taste the freshest sushi you will probably get in your lifetime.
A common practice is to offer guests to sample whatever seafood delicacy comes up when the nets are pulled, such as sea-urchin or scallops, while sailing between the seemingly countless islands and enjoying the quiet grandeur of the scenery.
A Trifle of Culture
History and culture are prominent in Stykkishólmur as the town has three museums. In the ‘Norwegian House’, the oldest two storey timber house in Iceland, you will find the Snæfellsnes district museum. There you can receive a lot of information about the region and its history. The house itself was built in 1832 by Árni Thorlacius, who was a merchant and ship owner in the 19th century.
A Library of Water
Stykkishólmur also prides itself on fine museums that represent the two prevailing elements of Icelandic nature: fire and water, in both original and conventional ways. In the case of water, on the highest point of Stykkishólmur, with its splendid views, the old town library has been changed into a museum of water, weather and words. In the museum you’ll find 24 glass columns with specimens of water from all the primary glaciers of Iceland, in a piece made by renowned artist, Roni Horn.
The Volcano Museum
Dr. Haraldur Sigurðsson, the world-famous volcanologist, founded the Volcano Museum in 2009. In the museum, you not only learn about everything connected with volcanoes, eruptions and other geological matters, but also see how these strong forces of nature have been expressed in artwork throughout the centuries, in Iceland and around the world. The Perfect Base
Accommodation and services in Stykkishólmur are plentiful, with options ranging from a quality campsite, budget hostels and high-class hotels. You’ll find quality restaurants, a supermarket, golf course and an amazing swimming pool, in which the water has gotten a quality certification from Institut Fresenius, two hot pots with water straight from the earth and an excellent waterslide.
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is a must to visit when coming to Iceland. It is strewn with natur al, historical and mystical phenomena and Stykkishólmur is the ideal base to explore it.-VAG