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Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður
Region Southern Region
Constituency South Constituency
Mayor Björn Ingi Jónsson
Area 6,280 km2
Population 2,167
Density 0.35/km2
Municipal number 7708
Postal code(s) 780, 781, 785
Website .ishornafjordur

Höfn or Höfn í Hornafirði (Icelandic pronunciation: ) is an Icelandic fishing town in the south-eastern part of the country. It lies near a fjord named Hornafjörður.

This harbour town, the second largest in the south-eastern part of Iceland, gives scenic views of Vatnajökull (the largest ice cap in Europe by volume). The community was formerly known as Hornafjarðarbær, between 1994 and 1998.[1][2][3][4]


  • Geography 1
  • Economy 2
  • Culture 3
  • Gamlabúð 4
  • Education 5
  • Sports 6
  • Climate 7
  • Transport 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Höfn harbour
Höfn from above

Höfn is located on a peninsula in the south-east of Iceland. The name Höfn means harbour and it is a fishing port surrounded on three sides by the sea, with beaches on the long shoreline on the south-east. Sand bars and glacial rivers traverse this area with many shifting lagoons and sand reefs being formed. Höfn is surrounded by several small islands, the largest of which is Mikley, followed by Krókalátur and Hellir to the east of the town.

Höfn is one of very few harbours in the southern part of Iceland and it needs to be navigated with care due to the changing pattern of shoals. Dredging is an essential requirement to remove sand accumulated near the harbour to let ships moor in the harbour.[5] The entrance channel to Höfn port has a minimum depth of 6–7 metres (20–23 ft). However, the depth at the entrance itself is 7–8 metres (23–26 ft). The harbour at Höfn is reported to freeze during severe winter months.[6]

Eagle Airways operates domestic flights from Höfn's airport[3] and the town is a major centre for visits to the Vatnajökull Glacier.[5] Höfn lies at the end of Road 99, which leaves Iceland's National Road 1 several kilometres north of the town. A tunnel is located near the town, measuring 1,300 metres in length, which is named Almannaskarðsgöng. It was opened in 2005.

Nearby areas include Suðursveit (birthplace of Þórbergur Þórðarson), Öræfasveit, Lón, Mýrar and Nes. In Nes there is a small village called Nesjahverfi. Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, is about 458 kilometres (285 mi) from Höfn along the south coast.[4]


Hafnarkirkja, Höfn

In this small harbour town, the main economic activities are fishing and tourism. Fishing involves both sea fishing and then processing and packaging in the factories; one major fish processing factory, Skinney-Þinganes is one of the largest fish factories in the eastern part of Iceland, which employs a large number of people. The main production of these factories is bacaloa (saltfish) and processed lobster. Herring and capelin are also processed there. Ten large and a few smaller boats operate from Höfn.[3] During the summer tourist season, trips are offered to the nearby Vatnajökull glacier. The surrounding area has served as a filming location for feature films including the James Bond movies Die Another Day and A View to a Kill, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Batman Begins.[3]

Höfn has a supermarket, two cloth shops, a flower shop and a computer shop, four hairdressers, a gym, a golf course, two banks and four schools.[7] Höfn contains a few hotels, most notably the Hótel Höfn, which was built in 1966. Located in the centre of the town, the hotel has 68 rooms, five conference rooms and a dining room that can serve up to 140 guests. The hotel also has a smaller restaurant named Ósinn, which serves pizza, steak and lobster.[3][8] Also of note is the Fosshótel Vatnajökull, located near the Vatnajökull glacier and the Árnanes hotel, a small farm hotel.[1] Notable restaurants include Kaffi Hornið and Víkin Restaurant.[1]

The tourist office has a display of Vatnajökull and the south-eastern corner of Iceland, and also strange-looking glacial mice. The headland of the town is called the Ingólfshöfði, which is 76 metres (249 ft) high and 85 kilometres (53 mi) (in a direct line) from the town. Sea birds such as skuas, guillemots, fulmar and puffins can be seen from the headland.[9]


A cultural highlight of the town is the annual Humarhátíð (lobster festival) held on the first weekend of July, although today the Humarhátíð has been described by some as a "drink'n fun festival". During the summer season, the Glacier Exhibition is held in the old supermarket building.[4]

Höfn contains several museums, including the exhibition about the Vatnajökulsþjóðgarð in Gamlabúð which has a variety of displays on the geology, ecology and history of the glacier.


Gamlabúð ("Old Shop") is one of the oldest houses on Höfn still being used. It has served at least three purposes and has been moved around southeast Iceland equally often. First it was a trade center in Papós and then it was a store in Höfn. Most recently it has been moved again and now it serves as an information center.[10]

It was first called “Krambúðin”. The name literally means “The Mercantile Store”. In a short time it had already managed to become one of the main trade centers for the people of southeast Iceland, as there were few other settlements in the area. Just about everything available in those parts of Iceland was sold there. Farmers were the main group of people making purchases there. So naturally it sold mostly tools and such things that farmers needed on daily basis. In 1897 it was moved to the harbor of Höfn and stayed there for 80 years.[11]

The house was the main trade post for the citizens of Höfn from the years 1937-1977. But when the town began to develop and modernize, the shop had neither a place at the harbor nor in the town so it changed and moved yet again. This time it was moved to Sílavík on the outskirts of town.[12]

The municipality decided to move it again in 2012 and this time back to the harbour of Höfn.[13] This was done with the blessing of The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland which oversees the conservation of historical buildings.[14] It now serves as an information and visitor centre for Vatnajökull National Park.[15]


Höfn used to have three schools: Nesjaskóli, located in Nesjahverfi, Hafnarskóli and Heppuskóli. Now, the three schools have been merged into one school called Grunnskóli Hornafjarðar. In the secondary school Framhaldsskólinn í Austur-Skaftafellssýslu 70 to 100 students study in the day school and over 100 students are under distance-study programmes. The school maintains close collaboration with other schools in Iceland, the College in Egilsstaðir and the Vocational School in Neskaupstaður. The school has modern teaching facilities such as wireless internet, a computer centre, availability of laptop computers for students, overhead projectors and in-built sound systems.[3]

Höfn í Hornafirði


The local football club is Sindri, which plays in the Icelandic 3rd tier.


Climate data for Hofn, Island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2
Average low °C (°F) −3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 163
Mean monthly sunshine hours 0 29 93 120 186 180 155 150 124 62 30 0 1,129


Höfn is well connected via Route 1, which circles Iceland. The distance to Reykjavik is 455 km (283 mi). In the past, during the harsh winter months, the road just east of Höfn would often become blocked because of regular snow, hampering communications and access. To address this, a new tunnel, named Almannaskarðsgöng, was constructed and opened in 2005. The tunnel measures exactly 1,312 metres (4,304 feet) in length (although the sign rounds it off to 1,300).

By air, Hornafjörður Airport provides service to Reykjavik.


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Andrew (2008). Iceland. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 384–385.  
  2. ^ Parnell, Fran; Etain O'Carroll (2007). Iceland. Lonely Planet. pp. 291–292.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Höfn í Hornafirði". Water and Fire. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  4. ^ a b c "Hofn – Hornafjordur". NAT Nordic Adventure Travel. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  5. ^ a b Young, Don; Marjorie Young (2008). ravel Adventures Iceland. Hunter Publishing, Inc. pp. 325–327.  
  6. ^ G. J Dodd, G. P Benson and D. T Watts (1996). Arctic pilot: Volume 2. Hydrographer of the Navy. p. 127. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  7. ^ "Höfn". Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  8. ^ "Hótel Höfn". Riki Vatnajokuls. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  9. ^ Harding, Paul; Mark Elliott (2007). Scandinavian Europe. Lonely Planet. p. 268.  
  10. ^ Author unknown. Hornafjörður Cultural Centre. Retrieved 28.2.2013 from
  11. ^ Björnsson, S, Bjarnason, B and Björnsson, G. (1976). Byggðarsaga Austur-Skaftafellssýslu. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa Guðjónson
  12. ^ Björnsson, S, Bjarnason, B and Björnsson, G. (1976). Byggðarsaga Austur-Skaftafellssýslu. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa Guðjónsson
  13. ^ Hornafjörður Cultural Centre. (2007). Stefnumótun í menningar– og safnamálum Hornafjarðar 2007-2017. Retrieved from:
  14. ^
  15. ^ "A new Information Centre in Höfn". Vatnajökull national park. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 

External links

Höfn travel guide from Wikivoyage

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