Garðabær is one of the most affluent towns in Iceland and has quite often had the highest income per Family compared to other municipalities. The population in 2016 was 14.717, so it is also one of the larger municipalities in Iceland. Like its neighboring town Kópavogur, it has grown from a small village in the fifties to a relatively large town in recent years compared to other communities in Iceland. Both towns have gained an advantage from their location close to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
A small village acquired a new role
Interestingly Garðabær has been around, in a sense, since Iceland´s first settlement in the 9th century. At that time, Vífill, a slave of Ingólfur Arnarson, Iceland’s first settler, became a free man and started a farm and household at Vífilsstaðir. Because of the short distance from Reykjvavík, Garðabær is more of a suburb rather than a town. The town offers good service and has excellent schools, good health care, an active sports club, sports facilities, and many other impressive services. Most people that live in Garðabær consider the service the town offers of good quality and Garðabær a beautiful place to live. The Independent party, the right-wing party in Iceland, has ruled Garðabær as long as the oldest people can remember, as we say in Iceland.
Two of the best golf courses in Iceland are in Garðabær. Urriðavöllur located in a beautiful setting, in lava surroundings at the southeast edge of Garðabær. Urriðavöllur is considered one of the top golf courses in Iceland. The other golf course is the Garðabær golf club, located near Vífilsstaðir.
Moving to service commerce and industry
In recent years, Garðabær has developed both a new town center and a relatively large industrial and commercial area. In the center, you can find interesting businesses and the Museum of Design & Applied Art in the center. Some of the leading industrial companies are located in Garðabær industrial area, among them Marel. You can also find the only IKEA store in Iceland in the commercial area. Unfortunately, for those who would be interested in staying in Garðabær, there are few restaurants or accommodations in the town.
The home of the Icelandic president
Álftanes point is a part of Garðabær. Bessastaðir farm, located in Álftanes, has a prominent place in Iceland’s history. And more importantly, it is the home of the Icelandic president. All of our four presidents have lived there since the time Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944. Garðabær shares ownership of Heiðmörk, a stunning outdoor recreational area, with Reykjavík and Kópavogur. Entrance into the southeast area of Heiðmörk is nearby the Urriðavöllur golf course. Heiðmörk is one of the most exciting places around the Capital Area. It has many interesting hiking paths and is ideal for a relaxed hiking tour in beautiful surroundings.