In the past few years the small town of Stykkisholmur in western Iceland has become one of the most popular destinations in Iceland. There are many reasons for people flocking to this idyllic town but the conservation of cultural heritage and history as well as its environmental awareness plays a big role in increasing the number of visitors.
Stykkisholmur boasts of exceptionally environmentally conscious directors and inhabitants and along with four other municipalities on the Snaefellsnes peninsula it is the first community in Europe to get the EarthCheck environmental certification. The town is operated in as environmental friendly way as possible continually measuring various environmental indicators. The town was also the first municipality in Iceland to start fully sorting its waste as well as the first town in Iceland to receive the prestigious Blue flag eco-label for its harbour.
The hot water used in Stykkisholmur is completely sustainable as it is reinjected into the ground when it has been used for heating purposes. The town has on top of all this started a project eliminating invasive plants from its land.
Only a few decades ago the town was one of the typical small Icelandic fishing villages. In the eighties the first of many old houses of the town was renovated and then served as a ticket office for Sæferðir, a sailing company which offering trips around Breidafjordur fjord. Many other house owners followed in Sæferðir‘s footsteps and gradually the town was raised to its former glory. The centre of Stykkisholmur has now become a living museum of historical houses. A part of the local heritage museum, the Norwegian House, is situated in the heart of the town. Taking a tour of the house is both fun and informative. In the museum you find a reconstruction of a 19th century home, crafts/souvenir shop and a exhibition space.
Due to increasing number of tourists visiting the town, the tourism operators and restaurants have been able to prolong their season as well as starting to offer an impressive selection of local products, both in food and raw material for arts and crafts. One can visit a pottery studio where only local clay is used. The studio is housed right beside a dry fish factory, a local brewery and a mussel production. After the tour one can visit the local restaurant which serves the mussels, the local fish and the local beer on plates and jugs from the local pottery.
Contrasts of the Icelandic nature characterize the country and the most impressive ones are fire and ice. In Stykkisholmur you can visit two interesting museums that give an exciting account of these elements. On one hand the Library of Water, an installation by the American artist Roni Horn. And on the other hand the Volcano Museum exhibiting possessions of the well known volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson who has studied volcanoes all around the world for over 40 years.
But that's not all. Other places of interest include the swimming pool with its Fresenius certified water, which locals claim has regenerative powers, hiking trails, one of the few convents in Iceland and a popular golf course by the seashore to name a few. Close by you will also find Snæfellsjökull National Park with its mysterious Snæfellsjökull glacier, Jules Verne's entrance to the centre of the earth.
In the past few decades Stykkisholmur has changed drastically from being a typical Icelandic fishing village basing its livelihood on scallops into an historical environmentally conscious town proud of its heritage. And this truly makes Stykkisholmur a town to remember...