ICELAND  |  Hellissandur, Iceland Travel Guide
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Hellissandur, Iceland

Church in Hellnar village, near Snaefellsjökull volcano and Hellissandur, Iceland (cc)
Photo: Chmee2
 

Hellissandur Travel Guide

Introduction

Hellissandur is an historic fishing village, one of the oldest such villages in Iceland, even though it lacks a natural harbor. Its main draw, however, is its proximity to the Snaefellsjökull National Park, situated practically on its doorstep, where the Snaefellsjökull glacier famously provided the setting for Jules Verne's 1864 science fiction classic, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and, later on, Icelandic author Halldor Laxness' novel, Christianity Under the Glacier. In the village itself there are still fishing houses strewn about, but its micro economy is rapidly transforming into one centered on tourism. In fact, in recent years, in keeping with the prevailing trend in Iceland and to offer expanded visitor facilities, Hellissandur has banded together with the adjacent communities of Rif, Olafsvik, Arnarstapi and Hellnar to form the city of Snaefellsbaer.

Location

Hellissandur is located at the western end of Iceland, at the far northern end of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, west of Rif and Olafsvik and north of Arnarstapi and Hellnar, just outside the Snaefellsjökull National Park. From Reykjavik it is approximately 49 miles (78 km) to the north.

How to Get There

To get to Hellissandur, fly into Reykjavik – IcelandAir is a good choice, as are several other international carriers that offer flights to the Icelandic capital's Keflavik Airport. At Reykjavik you can rent a car and drive directly north on Route 1, past the Akranes turnoff, to Bogarbyggo, from where you can take Routes 54 and 574 northwestward to Snaefellsbaer and so to Hellissandur. The total driving distance from Reykjavik to Hellissandur is about 49 miles (78 km).

Sightseeing

In Hellissandur, the principal interest lies in its Maritime Museum on Utnesvegur, where you can see an authentc turf-roof cottage which once was the standard for dwellings in Iceland, as well as one of the oldest existing rowboats in Iceland, dating from 1826. There is also a restored fisherman's hut, originally built around 1700, now on display at the Sjominjasafnid Heritage Center, and a yellow lighthouse at the western end of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, some 5 miles southwest of town, which has been active since 1931. Of interest, too, a mile (2 km) west of town, is the Gufuskalar Radio Mast, which, at 1,350 feet (412 m), has the distinction of being the tallest structure in Western Europe. In Gufuskalar, too, in the fields around it, are the remains of fishermen's shacks, literally hundreds of them, some from as far back as the 13th century. Another curiosity, just south of Hellissandur, are the cliffs at Ondverdarnes, where bird-watching opportunities abound. Oh, and the main happening at Hellissandur is the Sandara Festival, held on one weekend in July.

Main Neighborhoods

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How to Get Around

Where to Party

Party scene in Hellissandur? That's funny. The closest thing to a night out in town is a visit to the restaurant and bar at the Hellissandur Hotel. Unless one considers the scheduled dances held at the Rost Community Center as the next best thing to a disco! Sometimes on weekends there's live music at the Kaffi Sif Café located at Klettsbú_ 3 in town.

Where to Eat

The restaurant at Hótel Hellissandur is about the only dining option in Hellissandur, where traditional Icelandic cuisine is the order of the day, centered around fish specialties. A bar at the restaurant caters to the nightlife crowd. Another possibility is Kaffi Sif (+354 8203430), a cozy, casual café at Klettsbú_ 3, where you can enjoy Colombian coffee or a few drinks in a pub-style setting, or hamburgers, crépes, Mexican soup, chicken, or even a four-course fish dinner prepared by the resident chef on occasion. On weekends there's often live music at the Kaffi Sif.

Where to Stay

The 20-room Hótel Hellissandur (+354 4308600) at Klettsbú_ 9 offers good, clean overnight accommodations, with views of the Snaefellsjokull Glacier and surrounding fjords. TV, Wi-Fi, on-site bicycle rentals and use of fishing poles and hiking maps are all part of the deal. There's also a restaurant-cum- bar on the premises. Other hotels can be found in the other nearby communities of Snaefellsbaer, just east of Hellissandur.

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit:
  • Cost Per Day: US$-US$ (-)
  • Currency: (US$1 ~ )
  • Electricity: 220-240V - 50Hz
  • Phone Code: +354
  • Population: 600
  • Official Website:

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© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated December 13, 2013
Posted in   Iceland  |  Hellissandur
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