The fishing hamlet of Hofsos, halfway up Skagafjörður’s eastern shore, was a trading post as far back at the 1500s. Later it became a launching point for many of Iceland’s emigrants to North America.

The population of Hofsos is around 200. This small but beautiful village nests along the eastern shore of Skagafjordur fjord. The town is an old trading port, one of the busiest ones in 17th and 18th century. Today the village houses the Icelandic Emigration center but other services include accommodation in guesthouses, a restaurant, coffee-house, and a camping site. We recommend visiting the town’s local swimming pool. It is located on the cliff tops with spectacular views across Skagafjörður Fjord to Mt. Tindastóll.

The Icelandic Emigration Center in Hofsos

One of Iceland‘s oldest buildings, it is in the charge of the National Museum. The house was renovated in the 1990’s. It is now on view in its near-original state. The renovated old Co-op now functions as the original home of the Icelandic Emigration Center (Vesturfarasetrið). It also houses the Glaumbaer Folk Muesum’s exhibit “New Land, New Life”. The exhibition tells the story of the Icelandic people who emigrated to North America. From June 2002 it will exhibit the life and works of the Markerville poet Stephan Stephanson.

In Frændgarður, the Center’s new building by the harbour, there is a genealogy service and an exhibit on the Icelandic Mormons’ journey to Utah. In June 2002 an exhibit on the North Dakota Icelanders opens in a new building. Both these new buildings are in the style of the Old Warehouse, giving the old village back the feel of the trading center of by-gone days. The cove Staðalbjargavik just below Hofsos is lined with tall hexagonal basaltic columns. All along the shore you find similar rock formations. Many of which are picturesque and beautiful and well worth the stop.

Check out our complete guide to travelling in North Iceland.