Suðurnes and the Capital Region
The far south-western peninsula of Iceland is usually seen as a distinct region because of its unique landscape and its high human population density. The strange lavascape of Reykjanes has a lot more to see than you might guess.
In electoral terms, the Suðurnes region is strictly the Reykjanes peninsula, starting west of the capital city. But for the sake of this article, the region starts at Þorlákshöfn in the east, encompasses Reykjavík and metropolitan area and goes all the way to Keflavík and Sandgerði in the west. It’s only fair…the region is so small anyway!
Having said that, there is little point in writing about Reykjavík here because there are dozens of other articles about our Glorious Capital City elsewhere in the online magazine; not least by clicking here. But the other towns in Suðurnes have not yet been discussed in detail.
Þorlákshöfn is a small town known mostly as the south coast’s only viable port and location of the ferry terminal for the Westman Islands. Unfortunately for Þorlákshöfn though, this is no longer true since the troubled new port at Landeyjahöfn was completed. Now the boat only comes to Þorlákshöfn on occasions when the new port is temporarily closed for reasons of weather, wave size or silt…
Despite this, it is a pleasant and likely place to end up if you are out exploring the region and you will find a warm welcome and good food at the local restaurant. The town also boasts a motocross field in addition to the usual features, like the swimming pool.
The only other settlement on the south of the Reykjanes peninsula is Grindavík, 60 km further west along some of the most interesting coastline in the country. Grindavík is interesting not only because it is where you’ll find the Blue Lagoon; but also because of its famous Leifur Eiríksson bridge between two continents, where you can symbolically walk over a bridge between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It would be a great place to hold a meeting…or a press conference!
Elsewhere on the peninsula you will enjoy exploring the Krýsuvík area, with its amazing hot springs, bubbling mud and scalding sulphur pools, its beautiful lake and the nearby bird cliffs.
Keflavík is among the biggest towns in Iceland and has plenty of eating, drinking and shopping options – as well as the Viking World museum and activity centre.
Everyone notices the landscape of Reykjanes when travelling between Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík. It is unlike anything else most people have ever seen before. So weird is it, in fact, that NASA sent their astronauts here to practice moon walking back in the 1960s. Those who give this barren and, at-first-glance, uninviting lavascape a second look are richly rewarded.