Text by: Samantha Bazely
The short answer, yes!
Sitting on the northern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, Stykkishólmur is known for its picturesque beauty. As a small town, around 1,100 inhabitants, Stykkishólmur is actually the largest town on the peninsula and it is worthwhile to make the drive from Reykjavík – around 2.5 hours – to take in all this town has to offer.
For a small town, Stykkishólmur has a lot to offer when it comes to dining out. There are four fabulous – very unique from each other – dining options.
The one thing you cannot miss when you drive into town is the adorable little bakery on the left-hand side. The aroma of the fresh bread will be enough to draw you in from the parking lot. After recent renovations, the window encased dining room allows for basking in the sunshine while you devour some delicious pastries. Nesbrauð is the only full service bakery in Stykkishólmur and if sweets aren’t what you want in the morning you can also find fresh made sandwiches (with house bread of course), savory pastries such as a “Cheese Bow” which is a bread like pastry with a creamy ham and cheese filling (or bacon and cheese!) The Snuður (cinnamon bun) is the size of your head and the coffee is always hot.
In an effort to be more “waste conscious” the owners recently installed a self-service booth just outside the door. This booth is stocked at the end of the day with bags of bread, sweets, and other items from inside not purchased during the day. This booth has bank information on the outside for locals to transfer money, or even a small cash box inside to leave payment for the discounted sweets. Personally, I love to see a business trying to reduce waste, and it’s something I would like to see more do around Iceland.
Right across the street from the bakery is what looks like an ordinary gas station. However, inside you will find some of the best burgers and pizza this town has to offer. Originally just Skúrinn, offering daily lunch specials and some epic burgers, the owners have expanded into the pizza and wing market lately. Considering I was driving to Reykjavík to get my hot wing fix, I was exceptionally happy about this expansion. Now finally housed under one roof, this place offers it all. Skúrinn offers not only a shop vibe with snacks, candy, pop, cigarettes, and even an option to play the lottery, but a full menu that is not to be ignored. If you want a burger topped with pulled pork, or mango chutney (or a plain old cheeseburger) this is the place to go. The pizza menu is just as diverse offering toppings such as nacho chips, or ranch dressing and with the buffalo ranch hot wings, it is a meal you won’t soon forget.
Traditional Sit Down
If you are more in the mood for a family style sit down meal, then you need to venture a bit further into town. Narfeyrarstofa is one of the coziest (and tastiest) places in town. Whenever I have family in town, we always share a meal here. As the oldest restaurant in Stykkishólmur, they have certainly learned what works, and what doesn’t. Offering local cuisine from lamb to mussels, Narfeyrarstofa holds a special place in this community. Offering delicious fish dishes, lamb steaks, and even a magical fish soup and fresh bread, this place is perfect for a cozy date night, or shared family meal. Their specials are always unique from goose meat to seared scallops and their cocktails before and coffee after definitely turn the meal into an event. Don’t forget to get some hot chocolate cake and fresh ice cream before you leave!
Many people who visit Iceland (or hear I live in Iceland) always ask about the seafood. If seafood is what you are after, Sjávarpakkhúsið is the place you want to enjoy a meal. This restaurant is located down in the harbour with a beautiful ocean view. It is common to see a boat come into harbour, and literally walk a fresh crate of seafood up to the kitchen doors (how much fresher can you ask for!) Seasonal specials keep locals coming back, as well as the amazing fish burger. If you’d rather stuff yourself with fresh seafood, you need to order the seafood tower. Your whole party will be thrilled! With a happy hour daily, it’s a perfect place to come in and unwind after a long day touring and exploring Iceland.
So, we can eat, but what else is in this town?
Although small, there are a lot of activities in town to work up your appetite. You can visit museums, hike, and unwind at the end of a long day in the hot tub. The Norwegian House, the Volcano Museum and the Library of Water are all attractions you should make note of. These three museums, while all widely different, each offer something special to learn about Iceland. Súandisey is something we recommend to everyone. A small hike up to a lighthouse on the other side of the harbour offers stunning views of town, or of Breiðafjörður Bay. The swimming pool will be the perfect way to unwind and relax for the whole family. The thermal hot tubs are filled with Frasenius certified water. With hot tubs, cold tub, a children’s wading pool, an indoor pool and a seasonal water slide, this hot spot has options for everyone.
Stykkishólmur is a cozy town which although it looks small, truly has so much to offer. As a quick day trip from Reykjavík, or a weekend getaway, you won’t be disappointed by your visit.