General – Nature

Húnaþing vestra is a unique place of natural beauty and historical significance.  The crown jewel of our region is Hvítserkur, a 15 meter high rock at the tip of the Vatnsnes Peninsula. According to Icelandic folklore this is a troll petrified on its journey to silence the church bells at Þingeyrar. Borgarvirki, a columnar basalt volcanic plug, and perhaps once used as a fort, affords stunning views of the region. The canyon and waterfalls at Kolugljúfur, named after the troll Kola, is a spectacular example of  a river cutting through the rocky landscape.

The fjords of our region are also home to Iceland’s largest permanent colonies of seals. These seal are a major tourist attraction and visitors from all over the world come to observe seals either from the sea or from special sites on the Vatnsnes peninsula. The  Icelandic Seal Center (Selasetur Íslands)  is based in Hvammstangi and serves as Iceland’s major organization for seal-related research. Tourism related to seal watching accounts for a significant amount of visitors to Húnaþing vestra, with over 26,500 visitors attending the center over the year. The majority of visitors arrive during the summer months though winter tourism to our region is increasing.

The region is also rich in historic sites. Perhaps the most famous is Bjarg, the birthplace of “Grettir the Strong” the hero of Grettir’s saga and Iceland’s greatest outlaw. Illugastaðir is a well-known  historical site because of a housefire and murder in 1828 that led to the last execution in Iceland, and Efri-Núpur is the resting place of the 19th century Icelandic poet Vatnsenda-Rósa. Húnaþing vestra has also played its part in Iceland’s broader history: some of the first laws of Iceland were written at Breiðabólsstaður; while the British army built a large encampment during World War II at Reykjatangi to protect the north of Iceland.