Selfoss is the fifth biggest town in Iceland (if you lump the capital city municipalities together as one) and is the biggest settlement in the South. And as Route 1 runs right through it, there is a very good chance you’ll end up there at some point.
The town is an excellent service centre; complete with a good variety of shops, supermarkets, places to stay and the obligatory swimming complex and golf course.
Selfoss is a pleasantly open, airy place with modern buildings, wide streets, a huge river and wide open, flat surroundings of fertile farmland. We wouldn’t call the town boring; but it does perhaps lack old-world charm and a portfolio of town centre attractions. In fact, the town doesn’t really have a ‘centre’, thanks to all the important bits being stretched out along the main thoroughfare. A car is useful in Selfoss.
And that’s a good thing because the town’s top attraction is actually what lies nearby in all directions. If you base yourself in un-crowded, airy Selfoss you are a stone’s throw from Reykjavík and Hveragerði to the west, the Golden Circle to the north, the pretty villages of Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki to the south, and Vík to the east (as well as all the other attractions like the glaciers and waterfalls of South Iceland).
As a base of operations throughout your entire stay, Selfoss is an unusual choice, but could also prove to be an inspired one – and as a place to stop and re-stock during a journey around the country, there is nowhere finer. Plenty of choice, without the queues…and an excellent hot dog stand to boot!
Selfoss barely existed before the 20th Century and was built up in response to the construction of the suspension bridge. The small-scale industrial town makes a lot of its living from the agricultural sector and from its huge dairy. In more recent years it has also become something of a satellite town, with people going to work under an hour’s drive away in Reykjavík.