Iceland // The west coast //


North of Akranes, the Ringroad covers a lonely and exposed 38km before reaching BORGARNES which, despite comprising little more than a few streets filling a narrow, 1500m-long peninsula, is the principal town of the Borgarfjörður region. Home to barely two thousand people, Borgarnes not only enjoys a spectacular setting on a narrow neck of land reaching out into the fjord but also has excellent views inland to the glaciers of Eiríksjökull and Langjökull. Unlike most of Iceland’s coastal settlements, Borgarnes isn’t dependent on fishing – powerful tidal currents in the fjord have put paid to that – but is primarily a service centre for the surrounding dairy farmers who rely on the town’s slaughterhouse and good roads for their livelihoods. Its main claim to fame is its historical association with the ninth-century settler, Skallagrímur Kveldúlfsson, father of the pirate, thug and poet Egill Skallagrímsson, hero of Egill’s Saga. Their lives and times are explored in a first-rate museum, while plenty of Borgarnes’ streets recall characters from the saga: Skallagrímsgata, Kveldúlfsgata, Böðvarsgata and Egilsgata to name but a few.

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