Discover Hofsós

The village of Hofsós is located in Skagafjörður and is one of the oldest trading centers in Iceland. The dedicated Emigration Center, Vesturfarasetrið, tells the story of the emigration from Iceland to North America.


An important saga is set in this area. Grettir's Saga is about the life of an outlaw, Grettir the Strong IR# I138211. Within the IR Database, you can read his saga in English, learn more about him, and see how you are related to him!


Drangey - the Death Location of Grettir the Strong

Another important saga connected to Hofsós is the Vinland Saga. This tells of Leifur Eiríksson who discovered America. Þorfinnur Karlsefni Þórðarson, IR# I133851, came from the area near Hofsós. He and Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, I133852, actually settled the area in North America and had a baby named Snorri. They only stayed about 3 years and then returned to Glaumbær, which is a historic preserved farm in Skagafjörður. There is a beautiful monument there of Snorri and his mother - Guðríður the Far Traveler, as described by Nancy Marie Brown in her notable book. Nancy is the author of many notable books about people from the Icelandic Sagas. See her website and stay tuned for an Icelandic Roots podcast featuring Nancy very soon!


The Snorri Programs are named after this little Snorri! Check out the SNORRI website to learn about exchange and travel programs to Iceland.



The Icelandic Emigration Center at Hofsós was founded in 1996 by Valgeir Þorvaldsson. He has always been interested in the story of those who left Iceland between 1855 and 1914 to make a new life in North America. He worked to reconstruct several of the old village buildings and create new buildings. The Emigration Center works to commemorate Icelandic emigrants to North America and promote connections between their descendants and the people of Iceland. The Center now offers four exhibits in three separate buildings, as well as a genealogical information service (in cooperation with the Icelandic Roots genealogists and the IR online Database). There is also a library on the site. The exhibitions combine text and photographs to illustrate the conditions in Iceland that influenced the decision to emigrate, the journey to the ‘New World’, and the new way of life they encountered.



My favorite exhibit is called “Prairies Wide and Free.” It tells the story of the Icelanders that emigrated to North Dakota – my home state. The Glaumbær Folk Museum and the Icelandic Communities Association of North Dakota both worked to provide this exhibit.



Another favorite is "Silent Flashes." This exhibit includes nearly 400 photographs illustrating portrait photography in North America (1870-1914). It was put together by Nelson Gerrard, a historian and genealogist from Manitoba who worked at the Emigration Center for many years. See Nelson's Silent Flashes website: http://www.sagapublications.com/silentflashes.html



The “Stephansson Study” is an exhibit in the Old Co-op. Here, you can learn about Stephan G. Stephansson. The exhibit was prepared by the Glaumbær Museum along with Viðar Hreinsson. The Story of the Brazilian Emigration is so very interesting.


The exhibit, “New Land, New Life,” tells the story of the many Icelanders who immigrated to the New World. You can see maps and charts and learn about the reasons for emigration - Climate, Social, Economic, and other reasons. This exhibit was also prepared by the Glaumbær Folk Museum. The Drangey Exhibit is in Pakkhúsið, which is a warehouse built in 1777 during the time of the trading monopoly. The wood is covered in tar and sits stately by the sea as one of the oldest timber houses in Iceland.



Great food can be found at the restaurant, Sólvík, that overlooks the harbor. They make the best desserts, too. There are several guest houses in town for rent and the area is filled with many things to see and do.


There is a lecture hall, a souvenir shop, and even a flag factory! The river Hofsá is a flows into the sea between the emigration buildings. The beautiful Skagafjörður Valley has prosperous agriculture in the area. The infinity swimming pool overlooking the fjörð in Hofsós is a must for everyone that visits.

The biggest town in the fjörð is called Sauðárkrókur or by the nickname - Krókurinn. There are so many things to see and do in this area of the Skagafjörður – – go for a hike, climb up Drangey, go to Hólar and Glambær, ride horses, and much more. This is a place that is a must for any visitor traveling through the area.


To read more about Hofsós, see their website: http://hofsos.is/en/front-page/


For more important locations around Hofsós and in Skagafjörður see this post on Kolbeinn Tumason and the Asbirnir Clan.