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Have you ever heard of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula? This mountainous peninsula in North Iceland is probably essentially the most stunning detour from the Ring Highway.
Tröllaskagi, which is Icelandic for Troll Peninsula, has lengthy been a well-liked vacation spot for Icelanders. However in the previous couple of years, it’s turn out to be fairly a treasure for vacationers within the know.
Tröllaskagi was super-high on my record of priorities for my Iceland highway journey. And I completely LOVED it right here.
So why ought to you come to Tröllaskagi?
For starters, this a part of Iceland is off the crushed path — you gained’t even discover crowds in excessive season.
Secondly, the surroundings is completely spellbinding. Tröllaskagi is house to Iceland’s tallest mountains outdoors the Highlands, tall and jagged and swooping over one another, forming deep valleys dotted with brightly coloured cottages. It’s a scenic drive for the ages.
Lastly, this peninsula is stuffed with fascinating gems. An unbelievable museum. A spectacularly set swimming pool. The oldest church in Iceland. Basalt columns. And lovely small cities with brightly painted cottages set towards the snow-capped mountains.
Visiting Tröllaskagi isn’t difficult — the roads are paved and it solely provides about an additional hour and a half of driving time.
So resist your dogmatic urge to remain on the Ring Highway — and are available detour across the Tröllaskagi Peninsula. You’re going to like it right here.
The place is Tröllaskagi?
The Tröllaskagi Peninsula is among the central peninsulas extending from Northern Iceland. It’s surrounded by a deep fjord on either side: Skagafjörður to the west and Eyjafjörður to the east. See the map above for the websites I point out.
The principle roads on this route are Route 76, operating from Varmalið to Ólafsfjörður, and Route 82, operating from Ólafsfjörður to Akureyri.
Town of Akureyri, typically known as the capital of the North, is within the southeast nook of the peninsula. Akureyri is nearly all the time a cease for Iceland Ring Highway vacationers, which makes Tröllaskagi a straightforward detour so as to add.
Including Tröllaskagi to an Iceland Ring Highway Itinerary
If you’re following the Ring Highway precisely, you’ll drive straight from Varmalið to Akureyri (or vice versa) and miss Tröllaskagi in its entirety. Driving Route One straight between these two cities will take you about 70 minutes.
And you already know what? There’s nearly nothing to see on that drive. It’s Iceland, so in fact it’s stunning, however anticipate a lot of limitless inexperienced hills and never a lot else.
BUT — if you happen to head northward from both Varmalið or Akureyri by way of Siglufjörður, the drive will take you about two hours and 40 minutes. And it’ll embrace a number of the most dramatic surroundings you’ve seen within the nation.
Some individuals drive from Akureyri to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and even Reykjavík (eek!) in a single day. I do NOT advocate that; it’s a LONG day with approach an excessive amount of driving. As a substitute, in a single day in Blönduós, a city in North Iceland with a number of lodging choices.
What to See in Tröllaskagi
I’m together with the record of locations to see so as, from Sauðárkrókur to Akureyri, as that’s the order through which I visited them (and my Ring Highway guides on this website are all clockwise).
However you’re completely welcome to drive the peninsula in both path.
Black Seashore of Sauðárkrókur
Sauðárkrókur isn’t often a cease on an Iceland highway journey, but it surely does have a stunning black seaside with views of the mountains. Love Iceland’s black seashores? This one has considerably fewer individuals than Reynisfjara!
Sauðárkrókur can also be the place you will get tours to Drangey Island, a nature haven stuffed with puffins and different wildlife. Excursions take 3.5-4 hours, so I don’t advocate this until you’re spending a couple of days in Tröllaskagi.
And if you happen to want one thing to eat, Sauðárkrókur has a big N1 gasoline station with a good meals choice. (This was a giant deal after our lengthy, desolate drive via rural West Iceland the day earlier than.) We loved our quick meals and Collab sodas earlier than transferring on.
Grafarkirkja, situated on the outskirts of Hofsós, is considered the oldest church in Iceland! This turfed church was constructed within the seventeenth century. That is your first cease if you happen to’re driving the route clockwise.
Whereas Iceland has a number of church buildings with turfed roofs you can nonetheless go to at the moment, Grafarkirkja is exclusive in its decor, that includes attractive hand-carved picket beams inside. And its location, in entrance of the mountains, makes for beautiful pictures.
To get right here, you’ll have to open a gate, drive via, shut the gate, park, after which stroll all the way in which as much as the home.
Hofsós is a really small city (inhabitants: 200) that was as soon as one of many main buying and selling facilities within the north of Iceland. In the present day it’s a peaceful and quiet place to go to, with attractive views over Skagafjörður and the islands of Drangey and Málmey.
Hofsós can also be house to the Icelandic Immigration Center, which tells the tales of Icelanders who migrated to North America. The primary Icelanders believed to make this migration had been Thorfinnur Karlsefni and his spouse Guðríður Thorbjarnardóttir, who migrated from Hofsós to Vinland (now Newfoundland).
Hofsós has a campground and is value a fast stroll round — however what actually makes Hofsós particular is its swimming pool.
Hofsós Swimming Pool
This swimming pool put Hofsós on the tourism map! Hofsós Sundlaug is essentially the most spectacularly set swimming pool in all of Iceland, on the sting of a cliff overlooking Skagafjörður. Whereas technically not an infinity pool, it appears like one — and you may’t beat these views.
The pool is a bit on the cooler aspect by Icelandic requirements, however there’s a smaller scorching tub if you wish to soak. Although a tiny bit dear for Icelandic swimming pools, it’s a discount in comparison with the Blue Lagoon or another geothermal spa.
Admission to Hofsós Sundlaug is 1,090 ISK for adults and 325 ISK for youngsters 6-18, and free for youngsters underneath 6. The pool is open all day throughout summer time hours (often June 1-August 28), with noon closings through the winter. More info on their website here.
Staðarbjörg Basalt Columns
Proper subsequent to the swimming pool in Hofsós are the Staðarbjörg Basalt Columns — a beautiful edge alongside the fjord. Right here yow will discover rows and rows of tall, elegant basalt columns, much like those you see in Stuðlagil Canyon in East Iceland.
There are mountaineering paths that lead additional down previous the columns for extra stunning views of the fjord. On a transparent day, there’s no higher view in Hofsós.
The most effective viewpoints we noticed on our journey had been between Hofsós and Siglufjörður. That is essentially the most visually placing stretch of Highway 76 by far! There may be one little cease with a picnic desk overlooking the deep valley between the mountains.
As all the time, solely pull over when there’s ample room to take action. Stopping randomly in the course of these slim streets could be harmful to the individuals round you.
There are a couple of locations for horseback driving in Tröllaskagi — and Langhús Farm is in an simply accessible a part of the Troll Peninsula, proper between Hofsós and Siglufjörður.
Langhús gives a wide range of horse driving excursions, together with Viking rides via the mountains, rides alongside black sand seashores, and a few longer mixture choices.
In the event you’re all for horses, you completely should go horseback driving in Iceland. Icelandic horses are genetically distinctive and have a particular gait. Plus they’re quick, furry and so candy! And you’ll’t beat the landscapes.
When you get to Siglufjörður, you’ll be enchanted. Siglufjörður is the gem of Tröllaskagi — a timeless, impossibly stunning city, stuffed with vibrant colours and set in a surprising fjord, snuggled in by mountains.
Simply strolling round Siglufjörður and admiring the colourful buildings is a pleasant technique to spend a day. However it’s essential to go to the Herring Era Museum, simply the most effective museums in Iceland. Extra on that under.
Additionally on the town are Þjóðlagasetur, often known as the Folk Music Centre, the place you get free admission with a Herring Period Museum ticket; and the Saga Fotographica Museum, specializing in the historical past of images in Iceland.
In the event you’ve bought time, don’t miss the Seagull 67 brewery and the various cute eating places and cafes that dot the small city. Regardless of the place you go, you gained’t be capable to cease taking pictures! The favored Icelandic TV collection Trapped (Ófærð) was filmed in Siglufjörður, and it’s value watching earlier than your journey.
Siglufjörður has essentially the most vacationer exercise in Tröllaskagi, and if you wish to in a single day on the peninsula, I like to recommend you achieve this right here. There are many lodging choices at completely different value factors.
Herring Period Museum
Sure, the Herring Era Museum will get its personal itemizing as a result of it’s simply that extraordinary. I like museums that focus hardcore on one uncommon matter, and that’s the Herring Museum in a nutshell.
Siglufjörður was the middle of the Icelandic fishing trade within the Forties and Fifties, and it’s no exaggeration that this enterprise ran the entire city. Herring fishing declined sharply within the early Seventies and it’s not fished right here.
The museum has three buildings. The primary constructing is a re-creation of a fishing dock, with unique boats and captains’ quarters. The second is a re-creation of a fish meal and oil processing manufacturing facility with all unique gear.
And the third, my favourite, was a glance into how the individuals lived. Rooms the place “herring women” slept in bunk beds, their attire hanging up, books and music and a kitchen with cooking provides from many years previous. The most effective type of historical past museum.
The Herring Period Museum is open June via August, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM; Could and September, 1:00-5:00 PM; and October via April by appointment solely. Admission is 2200 ISK ($15 USD) for adults and 1200 ISK ($8 USD) for seniors.
Simply south of Siglu is Ólafsfjörður — one other beautiful seaside city. Chances are you’ll find yourself ready fairly some time to enter the one-lane tunnel, as we did. However if in case you have the time, it’s at the least value a brief stroll or photograph shoot!
Fairytale at Sea gives two-hour jetski excursions round Ólafsfjörður, together with stops in entrance of attractive waterfalls you’ll be able to solely see from the water. In the event you’re actually fortunate, you may spot some minke whales! Amazing Mountains gives snowmobiling, mountaineering, and tenting excursions.
Mígandifoss is a waterfall simply south of city that’s value a fast go to. You’ll need to park on the aspect of the highway and climb over the grass on foot.
Dalvík isn’t fairly as fairly as Hofsós, Siglufjörður or Ólafsfjörður — however that is the most important city within the space and it makes a good stopover.
Many whale watching excursions depart from Dalvík, together with Arctic Sea Tours. I like to recommend whale watching in Húsavík if you happen to can, but when not, this can be a good choice (with significantly better whale-sighting odds than Reykjavík).
Dalvík can also be the place ferries depart to Hrísey island (half-hour every approach) and Grímsey Island (three hours every approach). You possibly can e book ferries by way of Saefari.
Hrísey is a unusual little island with colourful cottages, a museum, and excellent chicken life.
Grímsey is the one place in Iceland that lies north of the Arctic Circle, and attracts a whole lot of bucket record vacationers for that cause. However you must know that the Arctic Circle is definitely fairly removed from the port, so if you wish to go above the Arctic Circle, your greatest guess is planning an in a single day journey.
Bjórböðin Beer Spa
How would you wish to spend the day soaking in a scorching tub, beer in hand? And even higher — soaking in a shower of beer itself? Bjórböðin Beer Spa is the place for you! This spa and restaurant is situated in Árskógssandur, simply south of Dalvik.
Right here they serve beer from the close by Kaldi brewery, simply down the highway. You possibly can take an indoor tub in beer, water, and herbs, the place you’ll be able to pour your self beer to drink proper from the faucet. Alternatively, soak in one of many two scorching tubs outdoors, overlooking the fjords.
The restaurant dishes up pub grub like burger, pizza, bacon fries, and fried cauliflower. In addition they have loads of wine and tender drinks if you happen to’re not a beer drinker.
I stay in Prague, a metropolis the place beer spas are each low cost and plentiful, so I skipped this one. However if you happen to’re intrigued, go for it!
Locations to Go to Between Blönduós and Tröllaskagi
In the event you’re driving Tröllaskagi in a single day, it’s sensible to start out or finish in Blönduós. The drive between Blönduós and Tröllaskagi is stretch of fairly however boring inexperienced landscapes — however there are a couple of locations value exploring within the Varmalið space.
Glaumbaer Museum — This museum exhibits how Icelanders lived centuries in the past of their turf homes, and succeeded regardless of the weather.
Church in Víðimýri — One other of Iceland’s grass-roofed church buildings, and this one is unquestionably value a go to.
Reykjafoss is a cool waterfall to start with — but it surely additionally has a pure scorching pot, known as Fosslaug, on the sting of the waterfall! A really cool spot for a soak.
(Be sure you get instructions to the Reykjafoss parking zone on Google Maps, not the waterfall itself — in any other case it is going to ship you within the flawed path.)
Locations to Go to in Akureyri
Amanda and I spent three nights in Akureyri, which was the most effective choices of our journey. It gave us a much-needed breather after altering lodging every night time, and there’s fairly a bit
In Akureyri you’ll be able to go to the Forest Lagoon Geothermal Spa, the Akureyri Botanical Gardens, and there are some bars, eating places and procuring. Simply outdoors city is the Akureyri Christmas Home, bringing vacation cheer year-round!
And the city of Húsavík is an ideal day journey from Akureyri! Only one hour away, it has the perfect whale watching in Iceland (significantly, FAR higher than Reykjavík), horseback driving on a black sand seaside, and Jaja Ding Dong Bar, full with a mini Eurovision Museum inside it!
You too can go to Goðafoss, a robust waterfall proper off the Ring Highway.
Ideas for Driving the Tröllaskagi Peninsula
Is Tröllaskagi a terrifying place to drive? I wouldn’t go fairly that far, however I don’t advocate Tröllaskagi for anxious drivers or individuals with a worry of heights. There are nearly no guardrails, and the world west of Siglufjörður is very twisty with steep drop-offs.
Tröllaskagi has two one-way tunnels — a shorter one close to Siglufjörður and an extended one close to Ólafsfjörður. These tunnels are free to drive via, however observe the site visitors lights and solely enter the tunnel after they’re inexperienced.
Amanda was driving within the shorter tunnel and we had the fitting of approach, however a number of vacationers had mistakenly pushed via and wouldn’t pull into the pull-outs. Amanda expertly backed up the automobile via the tunnel however that by no means ought to have occurred.
You don’t want a 4×4 to drive the Tröllaskagi Peninsula. The roads are paved and in respectable situation. Our sedan made the journey simply fantastic.
Whereas there are not any site visitors cops in Iceland, there are numerous pace cameras. Comply with the pace restrict (90 km/hour on paved roads until in any other case posted) or you might get a shock ticket out of your rental firm.
You must also hold a watch out for rogue sheep on the roads. They’re in all places!
Finest Time to Go to Tröllaskagi
The most effective time to go to the Tröllaskagi Peninsula is between June 1 and August 28. Sure, these dates are exact, and it’s for a cause: these are the dates that the Hofsós Swimming Pool and Herring Period Museum are open all day.
In the event you go barely outdoors that season, each locations have a lot shorter hours, and the Herring Period Museum does visits by association solely, which may make it powerful so that you can go to every part cool in Tröllaskagi in a single day.
(Initially I used to be planning a Could 31 journey, and it was stressing me out that I must depart SO early to have the ability to go to each the Herring Period Museum and the Hofsós Swimming Pool. That journey was rescheduled to mid-August, and I didn’t have to fret about lacking something.)
The summer time months additionally carry the warmest climate and longest days, particularly in June and July, which can assist you see much more in a single day.
Tröllaskagi is a well-liked place for Icelanders within the winter, because it’s house to a number of the nation’s high ski resorts! Boggvisstadafjall, close to Dalvík, is a perennial favourite. Winter sports activities and Northern Lights are different high attracts within the colder months. Simply watch out of winter driving on these curvy mountain roads.
The place to Keep in Tröllaskagi
Do you should keep in a single day on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula? You don’t need to, and we didn’t on our journey. However if you happen to do determine to remain in a single day, I like to recommend staying in Siglufjörður. This charming city is the best place to remain, and I’d have beloved the possibility to discover it extra.
The place to Keep in Siglufjördur
Siglo Hotel is my first alternative of the place to remain. What a pleasant resort! I seemed on with envy on the company having fun with their steaming scorching swimming pools with a view of the harbor!
Soffia’s House is the closest factor to price range lodging in Siglufjördur — a cute guesthouse run by pleasant locals, with shared bogs, a kitchen, and a front room for all company.
The place to Keep in Blönduós
Hvammur 2 Guesthouse, a farm on the outskirts of Blönduós, is the place we stayed. It was a stunning throwback to what guesthouses was once like earlier than social media! Rooms had been clear with shared bogs, there was a giant kitchen and a lounge with a TV the place individuals had been hanging out. And a cute kitten who seemed identical to my Murray.
Funniest of all, we had been by no means checked in — we simply bought an electronic mail telling us our room quantity, that the keys had been within the door, and to have enjoyable!
Hotel Húni can also be outdoors city within the countryside, with a swimming pool and breakfast included.
The place to Keep in Akureyri
IG Akureyri – Guesthouse Akureyri is a high quality price range choice, with easy guesthouse rooms. It’s proper on the pedestrian road within the coronary heart of Akureyri.
K16 Apartments is a top-rated choice if in case you have a bit extra to spend. These flats are central and have all of the facilities you want for a couple of days’ keep. We stayed in an house (not this one) in Akureyri and it was so good having a kitchen and front room for a couple of days.
Is Tröllaskagi Price It?
I completely beloved my day in Tröllaskagi and need I’d had additional days to discover! This was SO significantly better than merely driving straight via to Akureyri.
After I consider my reminiscences of Iceland, this picturesque shoreline route is seared in my reminiscence eternally. Simply the most effective locations I’ve visited within the nation.
Do I need to return? YES. And this time I’ll keep in a single day in Siglufjördur and do the jet ski tour with Fairytale at Sea. Or perhaps even come again in winter for snowier views.
Tröllaskagi is so value visiting. I hope it’s simply as magical for you.
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Have you ever been to Tröllaskagi? What else would you advocate?