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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Sauðárkrókur is the main hub in the west of the Northern Region

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Sauðárkrókur harbor
Sauðárkrókur has a strong place in the fishing industry

Sauðárkrókur has quite a remarkable status in Iceland. One of Iceland’s most powerful companies with interests and equity in many other companies, Kaupfélag Skagfirðinga (The Skagafjörður Cooperative Society) is located in Sauðárkrókur; its economic and political influence extends to diverse corners of the region and Icelandic society.

Sauðárkrókur town has an interesting economic base

Swimming pool in Sauðárkrókur
Sauðárkrókur swimming pool

Sauðárkrókur has a unique and remarkable history. It has continually fought setbacks and difficulties throughout the last 150 years and has developed the most diverse economy of all the smaller towns and villages in Iceland, giving it an extraordinary status among its ilk. Today, Sauðárkrókur has an admirable economic base compared to any small town in Iceland. Sauðárkrókur’s great cafés, restaurants, and accommodation—including an excellent camping site in the town center—make it an ideal place to visit. Although there are not many natural wonders located near Sauðárkrókur, Drangey, Grettislaug, and Ketubjörg are all exciting attractions and driving to the Skagi Peninsula makes for an excellent day trip. In addition, the neighboring tiny village of Hofsós is also an interesting place to visit when in the fjord Skagafjörður.

Sauðárkrókur is more like an agricultural service center than a fishing town

Factory in Sauðárkrókur
The fiber insulation factory in Sauðárkrókur

Although Sauðárkrókur is by the coast and not inland, it has always served more as a service center for the vast agricultural area in Skagafjörður, rather than as a fishing town. Many of the town’s services and companies have originated as agriculture-focused and trading enterprises. During its time as a trading post, Sauðárkrókur had to compete with the small village and trading post of Hofsós on the other side of the fjord. In 1857, Sauðárkrókur received a certification to trade, and the town’s businesses took off. Since then, trading has become quite lively and many trading companies and shops compete in the small market.

Fish processing came late in the town’s development

Town Hall in Sauðárkrókur
The town hall in Sauðárkrókur

Fishing and fish processing did not develop in Sauðárkrókur until the third decade of the 20th century. One reason was this was the lack of a good harbor. It was only after a protective wall was built that the ideal conditions for development in the fishing industry were created. Since then, Sauðárkrókur has developed and maintained its share in the fishing industry. Today, the town has a firm economic base for enterprises as wide-ranging as agricultural and fishing-related industries and a large fiber insulation factory.

A town with excellent service for residents

Sauðárkrókur village
Headquarters of Kaupfélag Skagfirðinga (The Skagafjörður Cooperative Society)

The town provides excellent service to its residents. The community consists mainly of single-family houses and a few apartment buildings. Sauðárkrókur’s source of heating is geothermal, from one of the oldest geothermal heating plants in Iceland. The town has good kindergartens, excellent primary and secondary schools, and a high school. It has state-of-the-art sports facilities for indoor and outdoor sports and training. In Sauðárkrókur, health care is excellent as are the services for the elderly. The town has a great library and has always been enthusiastic about history and historical interest. Art has always been highly appreciated in Sauðárkrókur, and the town has one of the oldest amateur theaters in Iceland. Two of Iceland's favorite writers, Hannes Sigfússon and Gyrðir Elíasson, come from Sauðárkrókur as do many renowned painters and artists.

The town has a good campsite, a few nice restaurants, and an excellent bakery with a café. It also offers good accommodation during summer and winter.


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