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We won’t blame you if you’ve never heard of this tiny town in Iceland! It is most famed for being the home of an ancient Icelandic historian.

Recommended Tours in the area

Reykholt is a very small village in West Iceland and is often overlooked by roadtrippers traveling from Iceland’s capital. It’s a beautiful settlement and well worth adding to your itinerary. The surrounding area is also renowned for its beauty and geothermal activity, so there is plenty to see near Reykholt.

What is Reykholt?

With just 60 modern-day inhabitants, this small village contains only a school, library, and museum, but was once known as the epicenter for intellectuals across the country. Most notable is the subject of the village’s museum, Snorri Sturluson, an ancient historian, writer, and lawspeaker who lived here. The museum and the settlement itself are fantastic places to learn about his life and the importance of this area of Iceland.

Where is Reykholt located?

Reykholt is nestled in Reykholtsdalur Valley in West Iceland, where the river Reykjadalsá flows. The region of Iceland where it is located is called Borgarfjörður. The drive from Reykjavík will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes, without any stops and good traffic conditions.

Coordinates: 64°40′N 21°18′W

How to get to Reykholt?

To reach the village from Reykjavík, you’ll need to head out of the north of the capital on Route 1, or the Ring Road. This will involve heading through the Hvalfjörður Tunnel before the road continues as Route 1. After being clear of the tunnel for 5 km (3 mi), turn right onto Borgarfjarðarbraut. 

30 km (18.6 mi) later, Borgarfjarðarbraut will turn into Hálsasveitarvegur, and you’re just a few kilometers away from your destination. After turning left onto Varmalandsvegur you will be entering the small village of Reykholt.

It’s worth noting that there is actually a second Reykholt in Iceland! This second village is in South Iceland and is a popular optional stop on the Golden Circle route, near some of Iceland’s most famous natural attractions.

What is Reykholt known for?

You most likely have not heard of Reykholt if you don’t live in a Nordic nation. However, among those in tune with the history of Iceland and its ancient writings, Reykholt will be familiar to you as where Snorri Sturluson once lived. 

Snorri Sturluson is a very famous piece of Icelandic history. He was arguably the most famous author in Iceland between the years of 1206 and 1241. His most famous works, Prose Edda and Heimskringla, allowed the modern world to know a great deal about northern European history during these years. Perhaps more significantly, Prose Edda tells of ancient Norse mythological tales that would have otherwise only been told by word of mouth. The other text, Heimskringla, is broken up into Sagas and accurately depicts the Kings and Queens of northern Europe throughout the 9th and 12th centuries. 

Sturluson himself led a very interesting personal life. Other than being a renowned author, he was not only a chieftain but also a lawspeaker in the ancient Icelandic parliament. He was also a spokesperson for the Norwegian King during his lifetime. As a divisive character in the country's history, his actions actually created chaos within the already fuelled civil war in Iceland, and he was met with betrayal from many sides before he was executed.

stone hut with grass roof reykholt iceland

Stone hut with grass roof in Reykholt, Iceland.

What to do in Reykholt

Simply enjoying the atmosphere in charming Reykholt is reason enough to visit the small village. However, there are a couple of attractions that you should be sure not to miss.

Snorralaug Geothermal Pool is famously one of the oldest structures in the country. The round spring lined with stones still intrigues historians to this day. It is even believed that Sturluson used this pool himself during his lifetime, and it was, therefore, named after him. 

If you’re eager to learn all about the historical figure that gave Reykholt its fame, you should not miss the Snorri Sturluson Museum. Snorrastofa, as it is known, is a center for medieval research in which Sturluson lived. The museum provides further details on his works, his achievements, and his personal life in Reyholt.

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