top of page
  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Selfoss the largest town on the south shore


Selfoss town
Selfoss town

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, Iceland, as a small country, took on an enormous task in transportation, building a suspension bridge over the river Ölfusá. The bridge and the service around the bridge mark the beginning of the town of Selfoss, today the biggest inland community in Iceland, located on the Ring Road about 50 kilometers east of Reykjavík. The old bridge collapsed when two vehicles attempted to drive over at the same time in 1945, and a new bridge was built. For anyone traveling in Iceland on the Ring Road, it is almost inevitable that they will visit Selfoss as it is a drive-through place on the Ring Road and thus a very busy tourist town regarding shopping for provision. Not necessarily a place to stop at or find something interesting.


Selfoss town is in the Soth Region in the map of Iceland
Selfoss town is in the Soth Region in the map of Iceland

Selfoss is the center of the dairy industry in Iceland

Selfoss is a tremendous first night place for a ring road drive - great for stocking up and accommodation
Selfoss is a tremendous first night place for a ring road drive - great for stocking up and accommodation

Although the bridge instantly had a significant role in transportation in Iceland, a community didn't start to come to live by the bridge until the third decade of the 20th century. At first, a couple of merchants started trading and opened stores by the bridge. Later a local coop society, a dairy company, and a meat processing company began to build various operations and became a leading force in the town's development. Today the dairy company is the largest dairy company in Iceland with an easily recognizable brand name, MS. Not surprisingly, since it has almost a monopoly in the dairy industry.

Unlike many other small communities and small clusters of houses, Selfoss grew fast. Today it is one of the larger towns in Iceland, and due to its closeness to Reykjavík, the capital, it is almost like a suburb. Most of the houses are from the period between the fifties and the eighties in the 20th century.


Selfoss is part of the municipality of Árborg

The beautiful church at Selfoss town
The beautiful church at Selfoss town

Selfoss is part of a larger municipality Árborg that includes the small villages of Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki and the surrounding rural communities. Selfoss is considered an excellent place to live, and residents are quite satisfied with the service provided. The community has good schools, from preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school to college. It has an elegant swimming pool, a sports center, and a state of the art outdoor sports facilities. It also offers excellent public health services and a hospital.


22 views