Gardabaer (Icelandic pronounciation: [ˈkarðapair̥]) is a rapidly growing municipality in the greater Reykjavik area of Iceland. It is the 6th largest town in Iceland and gained municipal rights in 1976.
The site of Gardabaer has been inhabited since Iceland was first settled in the 9th century. Landnamabok, the Book of Settlement, tells of two farms on the site of Gardabaer: Vifilsstadir and Skulastadir. The former was named after Vifill, who was a slave of Ingolfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland. Ingolfur gave Vifill his freedom and he made his home at Vifilsstadir. An archaeological excavation at Hofsstadir in Gardabaer uncovered ruins of a viking house, one of the largest ever found in Iceland.
In Gardabaer farming used to be the main occupation along with fishing.
What to do in Gardabaer
There are many nature reserves surrounding Gardabaer and the scenery from various sites in Gardabaer is phenomenal. Heidmork Nature Reserve in the east is one of them, the biggest outdoor recreational area in the greater Reykjavik area.
Those who like hiking should check out Alftanes peninsula in Gardabaer with its many hiking trails around the shoreline and clear ponds bustling with migratory birdlife.
Alftanes is also the home of Bessastadir, the official residence of the president of Iceland. Bessastadir was first settled in the year 1000 and served as Royal Norwegian stronghold for some time. Then it became a farm and a school, before being donated to the state in 1941. After that it served as a residence for the regent and later the president.
One attraction, especially for people with kids, is also the Alftaneslaug thermal pool. The swimming pool features one of the largest waterslides in the country, and also the only wave pool in Iceland.
If you feel like going shopping and visiting cafés or restaurants, the town center Gardatorg is the place to go. For art lovers, The Museum of Design and Applied Art is also located here, hosting various exhibitions on Icelandic design.