Hofsós tiny hamlet in Skagafjörður fjord
Updated: Mar 28
The tiny hamlet of Hofsós in the Northern Region of Iceland was a rather busy trading post in the 17th and 18th centuries. Located on the western side of the large Tröllaskagi (Troll Peninsula), Hofsós had all the historical prerequisites to become a large town. It was a trading post for the Danish Trade Monopoly, and it was close to the fishing grounds; it was centrally situated in the region and had a relatively good marine harbor. Despite the merchant activities, however, this small village did not grow as much as one could expect during the 20th century. Somehow, in the late 19th century and the early 20th century, most of the activity in the region moved to Sauðárkrókur, the town on the other side of Skagafjörður fjord.
One of the oldest villages in Iceland
Although there are few attractions near Hofsós, the hamlet has an attractive neighbor, Hólar í Hjaltadal, which has great historical importance in Iceland as one of two suffragan bishops resided there during Catholicism in Iceland. Because of its early history as a trading post, Hofsós has one of the oldest houses in Iceland, Pakkhúsið, built in the late 18th century. The house is now a museum owned by the National Museum of Iceland, and it is an enjoyable spot to visit for anyone traveling in the country. The village also has a cluster of impressive old houses by the small bay, near the old landing spot by the harbor. Most of the other homes and buildings in the village are from the middle of the 20th century, when the fishing and fish processing industries first started developing here.
Today, part of a larger municipality
Today, Hofsós is part of a larger municipality, Skagafjörður, which includes many former rural and agricultural municipalities in the region as well as Sauðárkrókur, the town on the other side of the Skagafjörður fjord. The municipality provides services to the residents at Hofsós. The village has a small preschool, a primary and secondary school, and a gorgeous swimming pool. Other services are part of the Skagafjörður municipality and not necessarily located in the village.
Fishing is still the primary source of income
In recent years, Hofsós's economy has been shifting from fishing toward tourism, although fishing and fish processing is still its mainstay. Even though the village is relatively small, a population of approximately 160 inhabitants as of January 2022, it has two museums—the Pakkhúsið mentioned above and the Icelandic Emigration Center, dedicated to commemorating Icelandic emigrants to North America and promoting connections between their descendants and the people of Iceland. Hofsós also offers a few options in accommodation, a good camping site, a café, a small grocery store, and one of the nicest swimming pools in all the country's small towns and villages. The weather in the fjord Skagafjörður is often relatively calm in the summer evenings, offering an excellent opportunity for an evening stroll; sunsets during summer are often spectacular. An excellent idea for evening relaxation, and a wonderful way to enjoy the sunset, is to walk down to the coastline by the swimming pool to look at the unusual and beautiful basalt columns, Staðarbjörg.