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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Þorlákshöfn small village on the South Shore in Iceland


Swimming pool in Þorlákshöfn
Swimming pool in Þorlákshöfn

For visitors, Þorlákshöfn is a good place to stop. The village offers most of the necessary facilities and service visitors look for when finding an overnight place to stay or a place to rest. Þorlákshöfn has a great swimming pool, a good campsite, a convenient store, and excellent accommodations. It is a young village with a short history. Throughout history, the question of a good harbor for the long south shore in Iceland has always been pressing. Although merchant vessels in the 16th up to the 19th-century didn't need a dock as they anchored near the coast in the nearby village of Eyrarbakki, they needed some protection from the unpredictable forces of the Atlantic Ocean. And fishing boats needed a landing area to bring the catch in. The harbor puzzle was an ongoing issue throughout history in southern Iceland. Attempts were made but without success.

Þorlákshöfn is on the South Shore on the map of Iceland
Þorlákshöfn is on the South Shore on the map of Iceland

The question of a harbor on the south coast


Þorlákshöfn is a good place for families
Þorlákshöfn is a good place for families

In the first decade of the 20th century, the country's chief engineer researched the area around the Ölfusá river mouth with the purpose of finding out if a harbor was possible at all. After his analysis, he came to the conclusion that a harbor on the east side of the river was impossible. He recommended building a dock on the west side of the river mouth. This was the primary premise for the village Þorláskhöfn. The best option for a harbor on the whole south shore is between Höfn in the east and Grindavík in the west.


A new village with a few decades of history

Camping site at Þorlákshöfn
Camping site at Þorlákshöfn

The dock wasn't built until the fourth decade of the 20th century. A project that marked the beginning of Þorlákshöfn as a village. And the small village is probably the newest and most recent village in Iceland, along with its neighbor Selfoss. It is interesting because most of the houses and homes are quite new in a historical sense. Most of them were built in recent decades, and the first ones were in the fifties and the sixties. Accordingly, because of this beginning, most of the economic activity and livelihood at Þorlákshöfn is tight to fishing and fish processing.


A small fishing village and a semi-suburb

Preschool in Þorlákshöfn village
Preschool in Þorlákshöfn village

Today the village Þorlákshöfn is part of the municipality Ölfus, which also includes surrounding rural and agricultural areas. Much of the economic activity is related to fishing, although, in recent years, some of the residents seek employment in the capital Reykjavík less than an hour's drive. The community offers excellent service to its residents, with schools reaching from preschool to high school. A good sports center and a beautiful swimming pool. Like most communities in Iceland, Þorlákshöfn has a community center and a library and takes good care of the elderly. For people traveling in Iceland and visiting some of the interesting places in the neighborhood, Þorlákshöfn has an excellent camping site and a golf course and offers a variety of accommodations.




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