10 small towns to visit in Iceland

10 small towns to visit in Iceland

19.05.2016 | Kaelene Spence

With all the gorgeous nature in Iceland, there is one thing that tends to be overlooked, the island's charming small towns! From fishing villages to towns located in beautiful fjords, the small towns around Iceland are not to be missed. Add a stay in one for the perfect addition to your Icelandic adventure.

Hvalfjörður in West Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Hvalfjörður

Photo: Kaelene Spence

This picturesque fjord is located in the west of Iceland between the towns of Mosfellsbær and Akranes. Hvalfjörður, meaning “Whale Fjord” in English, is not exactly a town, but instead a 30-kilometer fjord packed with Icelandic beauty. From waterfalls to hiking trails there is something to make everyone in your group happy. If you are into hiking I recommend a hike back to the lovely Glymur waterfall or try a sea kayaking trip, the gorgeous views you will see around the fjord will make the effort of paddling worth it. 

Stykkishólmur in West Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Stykkisholmur

Photo: Kaelene Spence

If you are short on time, but still want to get an Iceland road-trip adventure in, head off to explore the diverse Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. This area has a little bit of everything. Lava fields that stretch for miles, waterfalls and beaches, it is a must see while in Iceland. While exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula you can’t miss stopping at the most charming town found in the northern part of the peninsula, Stykkishólmur. I can’t leave this town without a hike around the harbor area; it has the best view of this beautiful small town that is surrounded by the ocean. 

Heydalur in the Westfjords

Small Icelandic Towns: Heydalur

Heydalur is located in the beautiful Westfjords at the bottom of the fjörd Mjóifjörður. The perfect location to stay for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to spend the day out hiking, kayaking or horseback riding before coming in for an evening of relaxing in the natural hot pools. You can even get firsthand experience of Icelandic farm life while in this gorgeous area. If you are lucky enough to explore the Westfjords be sure to make the most of your trip and check out this Impressive Westfjords extension tour featuring all the best the Westfjords have to offer. 

Hvammstangi in North Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Hvammstangi

Photo: Kaelene Spence

Located in the north-west of Iceland in the Vatnsnes peninsula is an off the beaten path stop, the lovely Hvammstangi. The slow paced style of life of this small town will quickly have you feeling at ease and ready to enjoy the Icelandic nature. Check out the local swimming pool before heading down to the harbour to get in some seal watching. And on your way out of the town be sure to stop by one of my favourite spots in Iceland, the beautiful Kolugjúfur waterfall. 

Húsavík in North Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Husavik

If whale watching is on your Iceland to-do list, Húsavík is the place to be! Often referred to as the “Whale watching capital of Europe” the small town of Húsavík is found in the north-east of Iceland. This charming town has more to offer than whale watching, from its colorful houses and beautiful mountain views, several museums and delicious restaurants Húsavík has a little bit of something for everyone. Its location is near many of the must-see spots in the area, such as the diverse region of Mývatn and the powerful Dettifoss waterfall, making it the perfect location to stay while travelling the North of Iceland. 

Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland


One thing you can be sure to find in small Icelandic towns, friendly people. And the 700 residents of Seyðisfjörður will be more than happy to welcome you to their home. A town surrounded by mountains on all sides, the seclusion of Seyðisfjörður in the east of Iceland just adds to its beauty. And while it might be small there is still plenty to do in the area, from hiking trails to unique art exhibits this small town is a must stop in the east of Iceland.

Höfn in South Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Höfn

Located near Vatnajökull glacier and the Glacier Lagoon is the fishing town of Höfn. With nothing but the Icelandic nature for miles in either direction, Höfn is a welcomed stop with beautiful views of the glacier. Refuel with a meal of lobster and a relaxing overnight stay before continuing with your adventure along the south or east coast of Iceland.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur in South Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Kirkjubæjarklaustur

If you are looking for a town to unwind and relax in, Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the place for you. Enjoy a stay out in the countryside with nothing but green farming fields and mountains with waterfalls trickling down in view. This area is an ideal stop to stay while exploring the nearby Vatnajökull National Park. You can spend the day out hiking and discover as many waterfalls as you can before relaxing in the local pool in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Beautiful views, waterfalls and a charming countryside accommodation, this town makes for the ultimate Icelandic getaway. 

Heimaey in South Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Heimaey

Photo: Kaelene Spence

The only inhabited island in the Westman Islands is the lovely Heimaey where you will find 4,000 of the friendliest people in Iceland. If you have dreams of seeing a puffin while in Iceland, Heimaey is the place you want to go with almost eight million puffins heading there during the summer months. Enjoy hiking around the diverse landscape of Heimaey and learn more about the volcanic eruption of 1973 that has given Heimaey the nickname “Pompeii of the North.” While a ferry ride or flight is required to visit Heimaey, this unique stop is more than worth it. 

Flúðir in South Iceland

Small Icelandic Towns: Flúðir

Photo: Kaelene Spence

A small town located in the south of Iceland, Flúðir is a quiet area to stay after visiting the popular Golden Circle attractions located nearby. From walking trails to a lake with views of the area, the small town of Flúðir has lots of beautiful places of its own to visit. One can’t come to Flúðir without a soak in one of the oldest pools in Iceland, the Secret Lagoon.

While the Icelandic nature deserves most of your attention, I hope you will give these charming Icelandic towns a second look, or even a night or two of your time!

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