Borgarnes is a town in West Iceland about 75km north of Reykjavík, with a population of around 2000. It stands by a fjord called Borgarfjörður and is the centre of a vast municipality, Borgarbyggð.
While not traditionally a big tourist destination, Borgarnes is a town many people see on their travels in Iceland. This is because of its location on the ring road between Reykjavík and North Iceland. In fact Icelanders themselves often don't know much more of the town other than its highway dining options. However, tourism has been growing in recent years with increased interest in the region's history. In fact, Borgarnes is a perfect getaway from Reykjavík: It only takes about an hour to get there, but the setting is completely different, much closer to what some people would term the "real" Iceland.
The name Borgarnes means "Borg peninsula" and refers to a farm of that name, Borg. Borg was the home of Egill Skallagrímsson, the titular character of Egil's saga.
Borgarnes lies on the ring road and is easily accessible by car. It's about an hour's drive from Reykjavík, four hours from Akureyri. Borgarnes is also close to the junction where the road out to the Snæfellsnes peninsula splits off from the ring road and Stykkishólmur is just over an hour away by car. Between Reykjavík and Borgarnes there is a toll road, the tunnel under Hvalfjörður. The toll is 1000kr. each way for a normal car, but it's also possible to drive around the fjord adding just under an hour to your journey.
Several busses leave from BSÍ bus terminal in Reykjavík every day heading up to Borgarnes. Any northbound bus from Reykjavík should make a stop in Borgarnes. In addition, buses connect Borgarnes to Akureyri, Hólmavík and the towns on the north coast of Snæfellsnes.
Borgarnes is a small town and it can easily be explored on foot. There are no local buses or taxi companies.
- Safnahús Borgarfjarðar (Borgarfjörður museums), Bjarnarbraut 4-6, ☎ +430 7200 (email@example.com), . 1PM-6PM M-F. Several small museums and collections are housed together in one building: A natural history collection, local history museum and an art collection, as well as the local archives and library. (latitude,) edit
- Skallagrímsgarður. A small municipal park in the heart of town, perfect for a picnic. (latitude,) edit
- Borgarnes swimming pool (Sundlaugin í Borgarnesi), Þorsteinsgata 1, ☎ +354 437 1444 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 6:30AM-9PM M-F, 9AM-6PM Sa-Su. Like most Icelandic towns, Borgarnes has its own swimming pool. This one also has a steam bath, sauna, two hot tubs and three water slides. edit
- Settlement Centre (Landnámssetrið), Brákarbraut 13-15, ☎ +354 437 1600, . A centre devoted to the saga age in Iceland's history. They regularly put on plays and other shows, and the centre hosts exhibitions on Egil's saga and the settlement of Iceland. Also a gift shop and a restaurant. edit
- Center for Puppet Arts (Brúðuheimar), Skúlagata 17, ☎ +354 530 5000, . 10AM-10PM. Puppetry is not an art form with a long history in Iceland. Borgarnes, however, is the home of one of the country's few puppetteers and he recently opened a center which functions both as an interactive museum of puppetry (you can try some of the puppets yourself) and as a puppet theatre. The puppet center has closed. edit
Because of its location on the ring road, Borgarnes has several fast food eateries in gas stations along the road. The Settlement Centre, The Center for Puppet Arts and Hotel Bru have restaurants. The local liquor store is at Borgarbraut 58-60 and it may be interesting to note that Reyka vodka is distilled in Borgarnes.
- Dússabar, Brákarbraut 3. An Icelandic country bar and a Thai restaurant rolled into one. Very popular among the locals. edit
- Hótel Brú, Hafnarskógur, ☎ +354 437 2345 (email@example.com), . Hótel Brú provides a genuine Icelandic cuisine with ingredients drawn from the region round about. edit
- Borgarnes Bed and Breakfast, Skúlagata 21, ☎ +354 433 1566 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 8,900 kr. - 12,900 kr.. edit
- Borgarnes Hostel, Borgarbraut 9-13, ☎ +354 695 3366 (email@example.com), . The hostel also runs a camping site. Dorm: 3,100 kr. Double room: 7,900 kr.. edit
- Hótel Borgarnes, Egilsgata 16, ☎ +354 437 1119 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 150 EUR. edit
- Hótel Brú, Hafnarskógur, Borgarnes, ☎ +354 437 2345 (email@example.com), . Hotel Bru offers eight rooms with private bathroom and eight rooms with a shared bathroom. All the rooms are well equipped, on the upper floor are the eight rooms with shared bathrooms, on the ground floor are eight rooms with a private bathroom and each with a private entrance. 9.500 - 14.900 kr.. (64.51792795555501,-21.892383098602295) edit
Borgarnes is the principle town in a primarily agricultural region often simply called Borgarfjörður, after the fjord it stands by. It's a good base for visits to some of the historical sites in the area, such as Reykholt, or the natural phenomena which include Europe's largest hot spring, Deildartunguhver.
Slightly further afield, Snæfellsnes with all its wonders is easily accessible from Borgarnes. Heading east all the way through the valley at the end of the fjord will bring you to the Interior, and the glacier Langjökull.
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