Stykkisholmur, West Iceland

By Paul S Bryers, August 2015.

Two hours from Reykjavik is the small fishing town of Stykkisholmur on the Snaefellsnes Peninsular. The trip to Stykkisholmur is quite spectacular. Initially, you are close to the coast with high mountains immediately to the West. After a 6 km tunnel that takes you under the Hvalfjordur, the countryside starts to get pretty desolate with big lava fields and huge volcanic mountains visible in all directions. Some of the lower hills are very red in color, which contrasts nicely with the sage colored moss/lichen coating the lava fields. Small alpine plants appear here and there; they seem quite lonely.

   
  
Stykkisholmur itself sticks out into the Breidafjordur, with views to the distant mountains of Westfjords. While the town is small with only about 1100 inhabitants, it boasts some great accommodations (including the best hostel in Iceland) and restaurants, notably Narfeyrarstofa and Sjavarpakkhusid.  

 There is not a huge amount to do in the town itself, but two “musts” are the short walk over to the basalt island of Sugandisey, where you can sit and enjoy great views of the fjord, and the Vikingsuchi Adventure Tour operated by Seatours. On this tour you approach a number of small uninhabited islands – note the very strong ocean currents – and get to see lots of seabirds, including pretty Puffins, regal Shags, Fulmars, Kittiwakes.  

    
   
You also get to eat seafood straight from the sea. The crew drop, trawl and then hoist a net which comes back up from the seabed full of creatures – colorful starfish and sea urchins, slightly scary looking sea cucumbers, crabs and lots of scallops. The fresh scallops and sea urchin roe were excellent, especially when accompanied with a little soy, wasabi and ginger!  

   
   
   
After the tour, you might like to pop into the Volcano Museum. 
So, that was Stykkisholmur – definitely worth a visit.

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