Hofsós, Iceland


Hofsós at a Glance

Located in north Iceland about 37 km east of Skagafjörður, Hofsós is a small fishing village and one of Iceland's oldest trading centers. Dating back to the 16th century, the village has a population of about 200 people, one street, a tiny harbor, and a beautifully-designed outdoor swimming pool built into the hillside above the sea with breathtaking views over to Drangey.

A visit to Hofsós is a must-do for anyone with Icelandic roots. The Icelandic Emigration Center, or the Vesturfarasetrið as it is called, provides a captivating insight into Icelandic emigration to North America. Many American and Canadian emigrants come here to research their Icelandic ancestry. The center is located in a number of buildings set in the beautiful surroundings of the seafront and harbor. The center's information and genealogy service can be found in the Frændgarður building, while the main exhibition, which tracks the migration of the many Icelandic people who moved to North America over the centuries, is located in another building nearby. The Konungsverslunarhúsið, near the footbridge to the main exhibitions, houses a photographic display charting the lives of Icelandic children who made the journey to North Dakota. The Drangey Exhibition is housed in Pakkhús, the tar-coated 1777-built warehouse constructed during the trading monopoly. Another place of interest is Massacre hill farm (Mannskaðaholl), which can be found south of Lake Höfðavatn. This marks the 1431 massacre of a group of English invaders. Additionally, visitors to Hofsós can partake of pleasant walks along the shore where there are fine examples of hexagonal basalt columns and views of Thorðarhöfði headland, rising like an island in the distance.

In recent times, Hofsós has developed into a viable tourist attraction, drawing many visitors each year. The houses in the old village around the harbor have been recently renovated, giving this place a unique and appealing period look. There are also a few guesthouses, a campsite, and a restaurant to cater for visitors and overnight stays.