The charming little port of Stykkishólmur is located on the Breiðafjörður Fjord, on the north coast of the Snaefellsnes peninsula in western Iceland.
This impossible to pronounce name derives from Stykkið, a small hill above the port, which dominates the landscape when you arrive in Stykkishólmur.
A few years ago, feature film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was filmed here, which really put the place on the map. Now, this place is known throughout the world for its charming harbour and colorful houses, so typical of Nordic countries.
Stykkishólmur Harbour is located in the north of the fantastic Snaefellsnes peninsula, which is a fantastic place to visit full of points of interest, right at the entrance to Hvammsfjörður.
The port is very easy to get to, even by conventional passenger vehicle. Road 54, which goes around the peninsula, is almost entirely paved, except for a 40 km stretch of dirt track, but altogether in very good condition. It takes you along the north coast from Stykkishólmur to Buðurdalur. You'll be exiting onto Road 58, which branches north and gets you to the port in less than 10 minutes from the main road.
Stykkishólmur is easily accessible by bus with two Stræto lines:
The village is easily accessible even in winter and links to the sights in the region, which makes it an excellent choice of to stay overnight when visiting the peninsula.
The port of Stykkishólmur
The village of Stykkisholmur is known for its fishing industry, which covers the very well-stocked Breiðafjörður Bay. By 1550 the small village had grown quite fast due to this booming fishing industry.
The port of Stykkishólmur remains one of the fishing hotspots of the region, and the city has developed a great deal. With nearly 1,200 inhabitants, Stykkishólmur is one of the main towns in Iceland and the largest on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, ahead of its neighbor Olafsvík with 1,000 inhabitants.
Stykkishólmur is known for its dynamic cultural life and superb colorful houses that never fail to impress visitors arriving in town, always taken in by its particular charm. The city is often cited as a prime example for why it's important to preserve the local heritage in Iceland, and in particular the renovation of its historic houses.
The city is also at the cutting edge of environmental policy and has been certified for many eco-friendly initiatives, including the EarthCheck environmental certification a few years ago.
Other awards were soon to follow, such as the Blue Flag eco-label for its exceptional environmental quality, as well as the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) award, in 2011.
Stykkishólmur is really the perfect place to stay when visiting the peninsula. In addition to its convenient location, the village has some great restaurants and accommodation options, and being the biggest town in Snaefellsnes, it has everything you could need: shopping center and high street, gas station, pharmacy...
Near the golf course, about a 5-minute walk from the city center, you will find the Stykkishólmur Campsite, open in summer from May 15 to September 1.
Tel: 438 1075/849 8435
If camping is not your thing, there are several accommodation options on site, but we would recommend two that stand out: The Helgafell guesthouse, slightly outside the city, and the Fransiskus Stykkishólmi hotel, which has a very good value for money.
As for restaurants, there are two top choices in the city center: the Sjavarpakkhusid, very famous for its seafood and soups, and the Narfeyrarstofa, also offering seafood specialties and traditional recipes.
Both have similar prices for a main course: around 4,000 ISK for a cod fillet or 2,200 ISK for a burger.
While you may be here to snap photos of the beautiful, colorful houses of Stykkishólmur, you may in fact just be passing through on your way to catch the ferry.
The village is the port of departure for a range of ferry trips to the small island of Flatey and the northwestern fjords. The Baldur ferry crosses Breiðafjörður Bay several times a day to reach the small island of Flatey. This island is a stopover before striking out for the northwestern fjords and the port of Brjánslækur.
This is also the port of departure for numerous sea excursions to see whales and local maritime birdlife.
And there are a number of kayaking tours in this harbour as well:
When you arrive in Stykkishólmur, the first thing that will catch your eye will be the Stykkishólmskirkja, the village church, which dominates the town from its hill. Designed by architect Jón Haraldsson, this is unlike any church you've ever seen, with its large white bell tower and unusual shape. Its interior is just as surprising as the exterior and well worth a visit.
From the church car park, you have a very beautiful view of the village and its colorful houses.
For culture vultures, there are no less than 3 museums on site:
The volcano museum is owned by volcanologist Haraldur Sigurðsson and boasts unique exhibits related to volcanic phenomena.
Library of water is an installation by artist Roni Horn with 24 glass columns in a theme honouring the great Icelandic glaciers.
Finally, the Norwegian House, Norska Húsið, is an elegant 19th century building that really stands out in the village. Within you will find a rich collection of artefacts displayed in picture-perfect interior to give you an idea of what 19th century Nordic houses looked like.
From the harbour you will see just off the coast the small basaltic island of Súgandisey. It was still connected by land to the port a few years ago, but there remains a path to reach it from the port car park.
The tour of the island is a short walk, less than 1 km, with a stunning view overlooking the port, a beautiful panorama of the multicouloured houses. From the sea looking inland the view of the Breiðafjörður fjord and its islets is truly beautiful, and the trail takes you past the small orange lighthouse of Stykkishólmur.
From here, it's just a 15 minute walk to see the famous basalt columns of Súgandisey up close.
In the region you can visit Helgafell, well worth a detour on Road 58, about 5 kilometers from the harbour. This small mountain is known for the local legend that surrounds it. Apparently you have to climb it in total silence, without ever turning around or looking east towards the summit. Those who meet these conditions will be granted three wishes... Good luck!