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Your Guide to Hellissandur in West Iceland

Dubbed the “Street Art Capital of Iceland,” the historic village of Hellissandur was formerly a fishing and trade centre. Hellissandur is located on Iceland’s iconic Snæfellsnes peninsula and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the diverse scenery surrounding it.  If you’re curious about this Icelandic village dotted with traditional turf-style houses, keep reading to discover more.. 

Things to do in Hellissandur

On the surface, Hellissandur gives the impression of a small historic village. But the attractions it offers are at par with any city in Iceland. From immersing yourself in Icelandic birdlife to exploring the newly famous artistic flair of the time, there are several things to do that will make your time in Hellissandur worthwhile. 

1. Visit the Snæfellsjökull National Park 

Throughout Icelandic history, the scenic beauty of Snæfellsjökull - a stratovolcano and glacier in western Iceland - has been a source of inspiration to renowned artists, writers, and even the layman with a creative spark. At the Snæfellsjökull National Park, you can marvel at the stunning black sand and golden beaches, volcanic craters, and moss-coloured lava fields that surround it, in addition to the cliffs of Arnarstapi. 

Recently, a new visitor centre was opened with exhibitions being held throughout the year. You can munch on some refreshments as you explore the campsite surrounding the most beautiful glacier in the country. Opening times vary based on the season you’re visiting Iceland.

The Snæfellsjökull National Park Visitor Centre in Hellissandur, Iceland.

2. Explore the Maritime Museum in the Fishermen’s Garden 

Hellissandur is home to the lovely Maritime Museum and Fisherman’s Garden. The museum is dedicated to the fishing culture in Iceland and the way of life in the past. You will find the oldest rowing boat in Iceland - Bliki - dating back to 1826 in this museum. Don’t forget to check out the reconstructed Icelandic turf house - Þorvaldarbúð - on your historic stroll. 

 Maritime Museum in Hellissandur, Iceland.

3. Dine at Viðvík, the Finest of Hellissandur’s Restaurants

Want to enjoy an Icelandic meal surrounded by volcanic views? In the heart of rural Iceland lies one of Hellissandur’s, and in fact the country’s, best restaurants, Viðvík. It offers fantastic service and has a comforting atmosphere overall, but the highlights are the lamb, beef cheeks, scallops, and cod. If you’re truly looking to embrace dining out in Iceland, this is an absolute must-eat during your stay. Don’t forget to try Skyr for dessert!

Grilled Icelandic lamb served with chips.

4.Visit Europe’s Largest Tern Nest in Rif 

One of Hellissandur’s neighbouring villages, Rif, is home to the largest nest of Arctic terns in Europe. The region is a paradise for bird lovers wanting to catch a glimpse of this small bird aggressively defending its turf. Visitors should drive through the area carefully in order to preserve the terns’ natural habitat.

An Arctic Tern flying in the sky.

5. Explore Hellissandur’s Best Street Art

Hellissandur’s street art is among the best in Iceland with three galleries hosting regular exhibitions featuring both Icelandic artists and international ones. As you stroll through town, you will discover buildings engraved with vibrant murals as a mark of the 2018 Street Art Festival. Discover “The Ship” by Jón Gunnar, “Waiting in Hope” by Grímur Marinó, “The Lighthouse of Freedom” by Jo Kley, “The Glacier People” by Ragnar Kjartansson, and other prominent art sculptures on your trip to Hellissandur. 

The Lighthouse of Freedom by Jo Kley.

Hotels in Hellissandur, Iceland  

The breadth of cultural experiences that Hellissandur has to offer is best enjoyed by staying in the area. The Welcome Hotel by Snaefells Glacier National Park offers a comfortable stay right next to the Snæfellsjökull National Park at budget-friendly prices. If you’re looking for apartments to rent, The Freezer Apartments and Snæfellsjökull Apartments are top choices in the vicinity. 

A four-century-old village, Hellissandur honours Iceland’s fishing history. Alongside its historical significance, the village has also gained international fame following the discovery of its fantastic murals. If you’re keen to explore this Icelandic gem, rent a car for your next trip to Hellissandur.