Nestled in the west of Iceland, Borgarnes is a town that might not make it to every tourist’s itinerary, but it certainly holds its own with an array of breathtaking views and natural wonders. Often overlooked in favor of Iceland’s more famous attractions, Borgarnes offers serene beauty and landscapes that are a photographer’s dream. From majestic mountains to tranquil shores, here are the top 5 picturesque views in Borgarnes that you simply can’t miss.
The Serene Shores of Borgarnes Iceland
Borgarnes, a small town in West Iceland, is renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural beauty. Nestled on a peninsula at the Borgarfjörður fjord, it offers breathtaking views of serene waters and rugged landscapes. This picturesque setting is enhanced by the surrounding mountains, providing a perfect backdrop for the town’s charming architecture and historical sites.
Borgarnes is steeped in Icelandic culture and history, prominently featuring in the Icelandic sagas. The town is a gateway to exploring West Iceland, including the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the famous Hraunfossar waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy various outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching, and witnessing the Northern Lights.
The Settlement Centre in Borgarnes provides an immersive experience into Iceland’s history, while the local geothermal swimming pool offers a relaxing retreat. Its peaceful shores, combined with its rich cultural heritage, make Borgarnes a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of scenic beauty and historical intrigue. For more detailed information, visit Borgarnes Iceland.
The Historical and Scenic Landnámssetur Íslands
The Landnámssetur Íslands, or Settlement Center, located in Borgarnes, Iceland, offers a unique window into Iceland’s rich history. Housed in two of Borgarnes’s oldest buildings, the Center is dedicated to recreating the earliest days of Iceland and introducing visitors to the legendary hero of the Icelandic Sagas, Egil Skalla-Grimsson. This immersive experience is complemented by a cozy licensed restaurant, café, and a souvenir shop, making it an inviting destination for travelers.
The Center operates all year round, from 10:00 to 21:00, and also accommodates group visits upon request. It remains closed on select dates during the Christmas and New Year period. Located in a town that serves as a standard stopping point for buses traveling north from Reykjavík, the Settlement Center has become a notable attraction in Borgarnes, offering visitors a chance to delve deeper into the country’s past.
The Settlement Center is not just an educational hub but also a place of cultural significance. It provides a wealth of information about Iceland’s history and is a must-see for anyone interested in understanding the context of the country’s past. The museum is creatively situated in an imaginatively restored warehouse by the harbour and is divided into two main exhibitions, each offering a captivating 30-minute journey through the history of Icelandic settlement and the Saga era.
The Panoramic Splendor of Mt. Hafnarfjall
The Panoramic Splendor of Mt. Hafnarfjall, located near Borgarnes in West Iceland, is a notable geological and natural attraction. This mountain, about 4 million years old, is part of an extinct central volcano, sharing its origins with Skardsheidi. Mt. Hafnarfjall stands at an elevation of 844 meters, and its eroded sides are primarily composed of basalt, with a notable area of granofyr on the north side. Its unique shape is often likened to a flatfish, a feature that can spark the imagination of visitors, especially children.
Hafnarfjall is a haven for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, lying close to Iceland’s capital area. The mountain offers a diverse range of trails that provide both adventure and tranquility. These trails allow explorers to immerse themselves in the rugged beauty of the area. One of the more challenging trails is the Skarðsdalur Valley trail, which ascends the steep Grashólabrúnir ridge and offers majestic views of the Dalaskarð pass. This hike, reaching a maximum elevation of 687 meters, can take 5-7 hours to complete and traverses through the heart of Hafnarfjall’s rugged terrain.
For those seeking a less strenuous experience, the Hafnarfjall Return Hike is an ideal choice. This trail, with a gentler climb and a total hiking time of around 3 hours, provides a brief yet rewarding escape into nature. Starting either from the northern side of the bridge or south of the hill’s foot, the trail leads to a serene parking lot, marking a tranquil conclusion to the hike.
Overall, Mt. Hafnarfjall presents a blend of geological interest, natural beauty, and varied hiking experiences, catering to both avid hikers and those looking for a peaceful nature walk.
The Enchanting Borg á Mýrum
Borg á Mýrum is a historic settlement located west of Borgarnes township in Iceland. Its history dates back to Iceland’s settlement period. One of the initial settlers, Skallagrímur Kveldúlfsson, claimed the area around Borg, establishing a farm and residence there. His son, Egill Skallagrímsson, continued to live and farm in this area. In 1897, British antiquary William Gershom Collingwood discovered remnants of the historical homestead, noting its ancient oak-beam construction.
Although this original building has not survived, there is a 20th-century monument to Egill, created by Icelandic sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson, depicting Egill mourning his sons. Regarding hotels in Borgarnes Iceland, there are several options for accommodation. Websites like Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Hotels.com offer a variety of hotels with different amenities, prices, and guest reviews.
Some hotels in the area offer outdoor hot tubs, golf courses, and proximity to attractions like the Snæfellsnes National Park and Borgarnes Museum. Hotel Hamar and Hotel Borgarnes are among the notable options. For more specific details and to make a booking, you can visit these websites directly.
The Breathtaking View from Brúðarholt Hill
The Idyllic Borg á Mýrum, located just west of Borgarnes in Iceland, is a settlement steeped in rich history and cultural significance. Its origins trace back to the earliest days of Iceland’s settlement. One of Iceland’s original settlers, Skallagrímur Kveldúlfsson, claimed the area around Borg as his own, establishing a farm there. This historic site, known for its settlement history, includes a farm and a church estate. A notable feature of the estate is a church built in the 1800s, alongside a monument dedicated to Egill Skallagrímsson, a prominent figure in Egils Saga, a famous Icelandic saga.
The farm itself is named after a large rock, “borg,” located behind the farmstead. Visitors to the area can walk up to a cairn for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. There’s also a small cemetery on the premises, adding to the historical depth of the location. In modern times, Borg á Mýrum functions as a parsonage and is renowned for its church, constructed in 1880.
Conclusion: Borgarnes – A Photographer’s Haven
Borgarnes, a small town in West Iceland, has emerged as a photographer’s paradise due to its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Nestled by the Borgarfjörður fjord, Borgarnes is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, including mountains, waterfalls, and coastal vistas, offering diverse photographic opportunities.
The town’s proximity to the Snæfellsnes peninsula, with its iconic Snæfellsjökull glacier, further enhances its appeal to photographers. Borgarnes’ historical significance, highlighted by the Settlement Centre, adds layers of storytelling potential to photography, capturing Iceland’s Viking history and sagas. The Hafnarfjall mountain, a prominent feature, provides a dramatic backdrop to the town’s picturesque settings.
The midnight sun in summer and the possibility of northern lights in winter offer unique lighting conditions for photography. Additionally, its location away from light pollution makes it ideal for astrophotography. With its combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, and favorable lighting conditions, Borgarnes is a must-visit destination for photographers seeking inspiration and exceptional photographic subjects.