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Stykkisholmur is a town that will make you believe in elves.
Yes, those little creatures we envision as Santa’s helpers or as the mythical creatures that live in forests. But the village isn’t fictional or based off a fairytale. In fact, Stykkisholmur is a little fishing village in western Iceland that overlooks the North Atlantic Ocean.
During my 10-day Iceland road trip, I spent one night in the historic streets of Stykkisholmur and fell in love with the city’s history, culture and quirky architecture.
The house that I stayed at was rightfully called Gardur, or Garden. The bright, canary yellow fishing home, located in the center of town, on top of the hill overlooks the harbor. Below primary-colored houses and businesses clustered around the harbor where sailboats, ferries and barges docked for the evening.
The cobblestone streets transported visitors back to a simpler and more historic time for the village. A time where elves became a popular belief among the villages and an intrical part of the Icelanders’ culture.
In those days, when the newest catch was brought into the port from the sea, the entire village would shut down. Mothers, fathers, and children, old enough to work, would help bring in the fish, clean them and preserve. After all, ensuring the livelihood of the port ensured the livelihood of the town. This meant that children were often responsible for themselves and watching their younger siblings. And Gardur was present for this cultural event.
Walking down the streets of this town, that is evident. It’s no bigger than a fishing wharf and a neighborhood surrounding a school and a few Arctic museums. With a population of nearly 1,000 folks, the town seems to be stuck in a simpler and more family-centered time.
The house overlooking the harbor
In fact, Gardur was one of the first fishing homes in Stykkisholmur. The home was built by the current owner’s great-grandfather and has been passed down through the generations.
The house, though it appears to be stuck in a different age, it not outdated or irrelevant. In fact, Gardur successfully embraces the charm of the retro chic and welcomes visitors into a hip, yet, quaint home that overlooks the harbor.
The burgundy fridge in the kitchen and white leather couch in the nearby living room scream 60s, but with the high-end finishes and heated floors, the home is nothing less than spectacular.
The basement of the home is where the majority of the cozy rooms are with a shared bathroom among them. This is also where visitors can visit the backyard to soak in the home’s own geothermal hot tub.
After a long day of battling snow and hurricane-strength winds, Gardur gave me the relaxation and rejuvenation that I needed. The house is quaint and quirky in its own right.
The blend of the 60s retro vibe and traditional Icelandic fishing homes gave visitors a taste of the diverse culture that Iceland has to offer. And, of course, it got me thinking about the elves, Greenland shark, and the other whimsical features Iceland is comprised of.
I quickly nestled into my home for the evening and was lulled to sleep by the sound of the rain pattering against the window. The cobbled streets outside grew slick and glossy with raindrops and though a storm hovered at the edge of the harbor, I felt safe inside Gardur.
In the morning, I sprung awake and brewed tea and oatmeal. I ventured down to the harbor and lugged myself towards the lighthouse against the pelting snow and rain. Again, it was a rainy day in Western Iceland, but I couldn’t even think negative thoughts while in Stykkisholmur.
Would I stay again?
The location of this Airbnb is ideal for those travelers who are trekking the Ring Road, or just want to escape the busyness of Reykjavik for a few days.
Ideally, visitors should stay more than one day to fully explore the fishing village and nearby attractions. My suggestion is to explore the cobbled streets of Stykkisholmur, climb to the town’s lighthouse and then enjoy an early lunch at one of the many harbourfront cafes that serve deliciously, intoxicating Icelandic fish. Don’t forget to head back to Gardur for the evening and soak in the geothermal hot tub in the backyard for a perfect end to your stay in Stykkisholmur.
Depending on which direction you’re traveling on the Ring Road, you could venture north of Stykkisholmur by ferry to visit the remote island of Flatey or further north to the Westfjords. I was unable to make this trip due to road closures and not having a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. In the Westfjords there are numerous hot springs to soak in and a multiple of new adventures to be had.
Also, take a few days to visit and hike the national parks in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. These parks are gorgeous and spotted with endless lava fields and rock formations. I had to cut my time in the park short due to bad weather, but the short time I spent there was wonderful.
If you are interested in booking Gardur, use my referral link to save money on your first Airbnb booking.
This is a sponsored post by the Airbnb owners of Gardur. This post also contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.