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Hafnarfjörður (literally, harbour fjord) is a town in Southwest Iceland with a population of 30,000. The town was built atop lava fields that erupted 12,000 years ago. Hafnarfjörður was first settled in the late 14th century, a long history as a town by Icelandic standards, although today it is considered a suburb of Reykjavík. Hafnarfjörður is the westernmost town in the contiguous urban area of the capital.


Strandgata, "beach street"

Hafnarfjörður is in many ways dominated by its neighbour Reykjavík. However, it is also a separate town with its own centre and independent town spirit. It forms a sort of second centre of gravity in the greater Reykjavík area (or the greater Hafnarfjörður area as some locals call it), with most of the suburbs having formed between these two towns. The name of the town means harbour-fjord and Hafnarfjörður has a large harbour, used both for imports, exports and fishing. It also has some of the most important industrial areas around the capital.

The old town of Hafnarfjörður is what most people come to see. Despite its growth and becoming part of the much larger capital area, Hafnarfjörður retains a village charm in its heart, with small wooden buildings and narrow winding streets. You get the feeling of a place where everybody knows their neighbours.

One of the things that has helped Hafnarfjörður retain this status is how the town is planned and built around nature. It sits in the middle of a lava field, and in many places the lava formations have remained untouched, giving the town a very organic feel to it. This is what gives Hafnarfjörður the nickname "the town in the lava," and it is also partly because of this that the town has become associated with legends of the Icelandic elves.

Get in


There are two main ways of reaching Iceland, by plane or by boat. Keflavík international airport is 39 km from Hafnarfjörður.

By plane

  • Flybus [formerly dead link] offers regular service from Keflavík Airport and it can stop in Hafnarfjörður if requested. The one-way trip takes 45 minutes and costs 2,800 kr. Tickets can be bought either at the airport or online.
  • Strætó operates buses from Keflavík International Airport. Route 55 operates between Hafnarfjörður and Keflavík Airport every 2 hours. One-way trip takes 76 minutes and costs 1,600 kr.

By bus


Strætó operates buses from North, West and South Iceland, stretching from Egilsstaðir in the east to Höfn in the south-east. The main terminal for Hafnarfjörður is Fjörður. Long-distance buses travel from Mjódd in Reykjavík. Strætó also operates buses to the Reykjanes peninsula including the town of Keflavík.

By car


Hafnarfjörður can be reached from Keflavík Airport by following road 41. It is about a 35-minute drive.

In order to get from other parts of the country to Hafnarfjörður, drive Road 1 to Reykjavík. Road 1 connects to all regions of the country, except the interior and the Westfjords. Once in Reykjavík turn into road 49 and turn left onto road 41.

By boat


Several cruise liners stop in Hafnarfjörður each summer, arriving close to the city centre.

Hafnarfjörður is not served by any ferries, but if you have an abundance of time it is possible to take the Smyril Line from Hirsthals in Denmark to Seyðisfjörður (a small town on the east of Iceland), via Tórshavn. This service is on the expensive side, and puts you on the other side of the country. From there, follow road 93 to Egilsstaðir and then turn into road 1. You will have a choice of taking an 658 km northern route or an 700-km southern route.

Get around


The centre of Hafnarfjörður isn't too big and it is easy to walk between the local attractions. Bus routes are available, with route 1 connecting the town with other towns in the capital area. Route 1 operates every 15–20 minutes. The main interchange is called Fjörður. Bus prices are 400 kr within the capital area.



Hafnarfjördur Museum

Spend a day walking around in the old part of Hafnarfjörður. See the old houses and visit Hellisgerði, a popular public park where the natural lava formations of the area can be observed. In the park you can also find the only collection of Japanese bonsai trees in Iceland. As a part of your walking tour you can walk along the beach in the heart of the town. Five minutes away is a magnificent cliff from the top of which there is a view over the town. Hafnarfjörður has one of the only monasteries in Iceland and is home to a few museums.

  • 1 Hafnarborg, Strandgata 34, +354 587 5590, . F-M W 12:00-17:00, Th 12:00-21:00. An art gallery and venue run by the town. Free.
  • 2 Hafnarfjörður Museum (Byggðasafn Hafnarfjarðar), Vesturgata 8, +354 585 5780, . Variable opening hours (different houses are open at different times). A collection of old houses in the centre of town, some of them have simply been renovated and demonstrate their original use, others contain different exhibitions relating to the history of Hafnarfjörður.
  • 3 Hafnarfjarðarkirkja, Strandgata 49, +354 520 5700. The oldest church in town. It was consecrated in 1914.
  • 4 Sankti Jósefskirkja (Saint Joseph's Church), Jófríðarstaðarvegur. Founded in 1926, it is one of the few Roman Catholic churches located in Iceland.
  • 5 Karmelklaustrið í Hafnarfirði (Carmelite Convent), Ölduslóð 37, +354 555 0378. the only Catholic monastery located in Iceland.
  • 6 Safnaðarheimili Fríkirkjunnar í Hafnarfirði, Linnetsstígur 6, +354 565 3430. a Protestant church built in 1913.
  • 7 Hellisgerði, Hellisgata 3. A small public park with lava rocks. Some people believe that elves and trolls live there.
  • 8 Víðistaðatún, Flókagata. A park well-known for its sculptures created by artists from Iceland and elsewhere.
  • 9 Viti (The Old Lighthouse), Vitastigur 12. A lighthouse built around 1900, sometimes considered a symbol of Hafnarfjörður itself.



Hafnarfjörður has marketed itself well as the town of the Icelandic elves. This is understandable, given the local nature and the close proximity between human habitation and lava rocks. Several companies offer tours visiting the homes of the elves and listening to stories about them. The town is also becoming increasingly popular in December for its Christmas Village, open in the centre of town during weekends that month. People frequently come from Reykjavík and other towns in the Southwest to do some of their Christmas shopping.

There are several good options for outdoor activities around the edges of Hafnarfjörður. You can go hiking on the town mountain Helgafell or take a walk around the lake Hvaleyrarvatn. Íshestar offer horse riding tours from their stables on the outskirts of town.



There are two annual festivals in Hafnarfjörður that can make for an interesting visit:

  • Bjartir dagar (Bright Days). An arts and culture festival held annually for a weekend around the beginning of June to coincide with the national celebrations of the Seamen's Day (the first Monday in June).
  • Viking festival (Víkingahátíð). Every summer Hafnarfjörður is host to a Viking festival, where people dress up in viking costumes, fight with viking weapons, etc. There is a market with craftsmen selling their viking-like wares.
  • Seaman’s Day Festival (Sjómannadagurinn). ‘Sjómannadagurinn’ means Seaman’s Day. The day is a public holiday in Iceland and a celebration of the fishing industry.

Geothermal pools


Hafnarfjörður has three swimming pools, two outdoors and one indoors:

  • 1 Suðurbæjarlaug, Hringbraut 77, +354 565 3080. M-F 06:30-20:30, Sa Su 08:00-18:00. The main swimming pool in Hafnarfjörður, just outside the centre of town. Includes an outdoor pool, several hot pots, a steam bath and a water slide.
  • 2 Ásvallalaug, Ásvellir 2, +354 512 4050. M-F 06:30-21:00, Sa 08:00-18:00, Su 08:00-17:00. The newest pool in Hafnarfjörður, part of a larger sports complex on the way out of town towards Keflavík.
  • 3 Sundhöll Hafnarfjarðar, by Herjólfsgata, +354 555 0088. M-Th 06:30-17:00, F 06:30-19:00, closed Sa and Su. The old, indoors swimming pool - not a typical tourist pool. Today it is frequently closed, so it may be best to call first if you're planning a visit.


  • 4 Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar (FH), Kaplakriki, Kaplahraun 220. Founded in 1939, FH play soccer in Besta deild karla, the top tier. Their home ground Kaplakriki has a capacity of 6500. The playing season is April-Sept. FH men's football (Q97516218) on Wikidata FH men's football on Wikipedia



Downtown Hafnarfjörður is well-known for its art galleries (such as 1 LitlaGallerý), boutiques (such as 2 Andrea by Andrea), jewelry stores (such as 3 Sigga og Timo), and small galleries and shops.

During weekends in December, there is a 4 Christmas village in the centre with a market place and free live entertainment.



There are several nice restaurants in Hafnarfjörður.

  • 1 Tilveran, Linnetstígur 1, +354 565 5250. Variable opening hours. Restaurant in downtown Hafnarfjörður with seafood, pizza, and meat. Meals in the range of 1,000 to 5,000 kr.
  • 2 Viking village, Víkingastræti 1, +354 565 1213. Variable opening hours. Restaurant with traditional Icelandic food, meat, and fish.
  • 3 Súfistinn, Strandgata 9, +354 565 3740. Variable opening hours. Café. Meals in the range between 1,000 to 2,000 kr.





There are several hotels in Hafnarfjörður.

Stay safe


Safety concerns in Hafnarfjörður are mostly the same as in other towns and cities, but Hells Angels have set up base in Iceland - in Hafnarfjörður to be precise. Their headquarters are in an industrial area in the southwest of town, and although it's unlikely anything will happen to you if you're not involved in criminal activities yourself, it's a good idea to stay away.

Go next


Apart from getting on the next bus to Reykjavík, there are several options to get out from Hafnarfjörður. You could take the road south towards the lake Kleifarvatn and Krýsuvík, a geothermal area on the south coast of Reykjanes which in fact belongs to the municipality of Hafnarfjörður. You could also drive west on Reykjanesbraut towards Keflavík (about 20 minutes away) and the other towns on the Reykjanes peninsula, or even go on a trip to the Blue Lagoon.

This city travel guide to Hafnarfjörður is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.