The Troll Peninsula (Iceland’s Tröllaskagi) is located in the northern part of Iceland, between the Skagafjörður and Eyjafjörður fjords. Its interior is mountainous and difficult to access. The highest peaks here exceed 1000 m above sea level, and in their highest parts, there are several small glaciers. In the northern part of the peninsula, small fjords and the Fljótavík Bay cut into the land.
There are several towns on the coast of the Tröllaskagi peninsula, including Akureyri, Dalvík and Ólafsfjörður. In its northern part lies the city of Siglufjörður, and on the western side of the peninsula – the settlement of Hofsós.
Troll Peninsula – how to get there and what to see
The main access road is located in the south part of the peninsula, where the national road No. 1 runs. However, it is worth driving the peninsula along its coastline, using local roads No. 82 and 76, which are connecting all the major coastal towns. An interesting fact in this region are tunnels carved in the rocks Héðinsfjarðargöng and Múlagöng, through which the travelling provides not only amazing experiences but above all guarantees a faster heartbeat.
In the Tröllaskagi peninsula, mainly mountain and skiing tourism is developing. Visitors are also attracted by the natural and geological attractions as well as the cultural life of the towns located here. In recent years, one of the most interesting attractions of the region became the Herring Museum, located in Siglufjörður.
You should plan a whole day for visiting the Troll Peninsula. The route I recommend starts in Akureyri, on national road No. 1. Then it turns right onto road 82, which goes through the Trollaskagi peninsula.
It is worth stopping at several places on the route, for example in Dalvik or Olafsjorur. For lunch and visiting the Herring Era Museum in Siglufiordur, it is worth planning min. 3-4 hours. At the end of the day, a stop in the village of Hofsos, where the basalt cliffs are. Overnight outside the peninsula, in the town of Hoffstadir, where you can still see the sunset at midnight.
Road tunnels in Iceland
Drilling tunnels is a relatively young phenomenon in Iceland. By the end of the 20th century, only 6 of them were built. As rock drilling technology was perfected and made cheaper, and Iceland became more prosperous, in the late 1990s, drilling tunnels became a viable option to create them in places not previously considered in plans. At the beginning of the 21st century, the construction of tunnels significantly accelerated. A total of 15 tunnels had been opened in Iceland by 2020, but a further 15 can be built soon. Due to geological considerations, tunnels in Iceland are usually cut through mountains, although a tunnel under the fjord has recently been opened.
Main reasons why tunnels in Iceland are built:
- Preventing the winter isolation of distant towns where the only possible access is via high-mountain roads. In winter, due to the heavy snowstorms and icy roads, these roads are often impassable and are closed for up to several weeks.
- Reducing the distance between localities. For example, on the national road number 1, thanks to the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel, the road from Husavik to Akureyri has been shortened by 16 km.
- Increasing road safety by avoiding dangerous road sections (for example – when stones fall on the road).
On the way from Akureyri to Siglufjörður
On roads No. 82 and 76 from Akureyri to Siglufjörður several tunnels run through the centre of the mountains. We drove through 4 of them, where the shortest one was less than 900 meters and the longest 3900 meters.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that these tunnels are carved in the rocks, not finished on the inside. The roads in the rocks are carved almost in a straight line, so there are places where you can’t see the end. The most interesting, however, is that two of them have only one road with one lane, and the passage of cars takes place in both directions at the same time. When a car is coming from the opposite direction, you have to find a bay (there are a dozen of them in each tunnel) and wait there for the car to pass you. Such events trigger a faster heart rate and pressure spikes (at least when you experience it for the first time).
It is worth adding here that all tunnels have speed cameras, so despite the “long – straight” – it pays to follow the rules.
Undoubtedly, it is worth taking this part of the road, because apart from the tunnels – the whole route is extremely picturesque. The road is dominated by high cliffs, steep mountain slopes, small fishing villages, herds of sheep and beautiful views of the ocean.
Tunnels on the Troll Peninsula
- The Múlagöng Tunnel is located on Route 82, between Dalvik and Ólafsfjörður. Opened in 1991 and has a length of 3,400 meters. This is a one-lane tunnel with passing places. If there is a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction and the passing place is on your right side, you have to stop and let that vehicle pass by.
- Héðinsfjarðargöng nyrðri tunnel on road 76, between Ólafsfjörður and Héðinsfjörður. Opened in 2010. The tunnel is 7,100 meters long and has two lanes, one in each direction.
- Héðinsfjarðargöng syðri is a tunnel on road 76 between Héðinsfjörður and Siglufjörður. Opened in 2010, it is 3,900 meters long. The tunnel has two lanes, one in each direction.
- The Strákagöng tunnel is one of the oldest in Iceland. It is located on road 76 and is 800 meters long. It is situated west of the town of Siglufjörður. Opened in 1967. This is a one-lane tunnel with passing places. The opening of this tunnel was more than 50 years ago. The tunnel has provided a year-round road connection between Siglufjörður and the rest of the country and undoubtedly contributed to the development of the entire region.
Siglufjörður – why is it worth stopping here?
Siglufjörður, also known as Siglo, is a small town in the north of the Tröllaskagi peninsula. At the turn of the 20th century, Siglufjörður became very popular. It was due to the development of the herring fishing and herring processing industry in the region. During the period of the greatest boom in fishing, Siglo became one of the most important cities in Iceland and the unofficial capital of herring fishing in the entire Atlantic area. In 1918, the town received municipal rights. The city experienced the greatest development in the 1940s and 1950s. About 3,000 people lived there at that time.
Over time, the herring population began to decline rapidly, and the city began to decline. Over time, residents have left the region in search of work in other regions of Iceland.
Currently, around 1,200 people live in Siglo. However, the local community is very dynamic and works together to develop their city. One of the most interesting initiatives of residents was to open the Herring Museum – the most interesting attraction of the region and entire Iceland!
There is also a folk music centre in the city, and a folk music festival is organized every year.
In the town, it is worth stopping for lunch at the Kaffi Raudka restaurant, which is in a red building that looks like a former port warehouse. The restaurant is situated in the very centre of the city, right next to the seaport.
The Herring Era Museum
In 1994, a museum was opened. It is presenting the history of fishing in Siglufjörður and the industry related to the processing of herring. The Herring Museum is a maritime and technical museum, also showing machines used in the 20th century, e.g. used during the production of fish oil.
The Herring Museum is housed in five buildings with a total area of 2,500 m2 and is extremely interesting! It is Iceland’s largest maritime museum. It is also the only Icelandic museum that won the European Museum Award in the industry category. Worth planning a min. 2-3 hours for visiting this place.
- In May and September, the museum is open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- From June to August, the museum is open from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. In the off-season, the museum can only be visited by prior appointment.
- Entrance ticket: 1800 ISK (about 14 $), free admission for children and adolescents under 16 years of age.
Troll Peninsula interesting facts and how to spend time actively
- The Herring Era Museum, history of the museum, visiting hours and entrance tickets – you can read about everything on The Herring Era Museum website
- The nearest passenger airport is in Akureyri, from which Siglufjörður can be reached by car in approx. 1 hour. There is also an airport in the vicinity of Siglo, but only small private planes land there.
- The town has grown in popularity recently due to the series “Trapped”, filmed by Nettlfix in 2015. Almost all of the series was made in Siglufjörður. The action of the film (2 seasons) also takes place in Siglufjörður and its immediate vicinity.
- Hours of sunshine. In summer, in the period between June 9 and July 1, you can observe the “midnight sun”. That means that the sun does not completely hide below the horizon. In winter, there is no polar night during the December solstice. Although, the shortest day in Siglufjörður is only 2 hours and 39 minutes long. The day starts at 11:54 a.m. and finishes at 2:33 p.m. on December 21st.
- Siglufjörður also has the Fjallabyggd Sports Center, which includes a 25-meter indoor pool, sauna, outdoor hot tub and gym. There is also a 9-hole golf course in the town.
- Winter sports are a great tourist attraction in the region. The Skarðsdalur ski area is one of the best ski areas in the country. There is a cross-country ski run in Hólsdalur. Few places in Iceland can boast better conditions for this sport than Siglufjörður. In January 2021, the ski run in Siglufjörður was destroyed due to a massive snow avalanche. There are three ski resorts in the area. More information on the Trollaskagi Ski resort
- On the Visit Trollaskagi website, you can find all information about the region’s tourist and sports attractions.
Basalt cliffs in Hofsos
The Troll Peninsula hides another interesting attraction, which is located in a small coastal town. Hofsos is a quiet town located on the eastern shore of Skagafjörður fjord. Road number 76 leads there. One of the most interesting attractions of this town is the city’s outdoor swimming pool. It is considered to be the most picturesque facility of this type in the whole of Iceland. It is an infinity pool. The pool positioning gives the impression that it merges into the surrounding landscape, especially the sea.
- Pool address: Suðurbraut, Hofsós, Iceland
However, we came to Hofsos due to different reason. Picturesque basalt cliffs, or rock formations in Staðarbjargavík, are a great attraction. Although most people come to Iceland to admire the wonders of nature, this place is still not very popular. It can therefore be said that it is a “hidden gem” that will surprise you with its unusual form.
Summing up – it’s worth coming here! You will certainly not see crowds of tourists here. Also, cliffs are easily accessible and guarantee close contact with nature. Although the basalt cliffs are small, they provide a unique experience.
The tops of the basalt columns can be walked on but be sure to be careful. This place is often visited by cormorants and coastal birds. Also, elves are said to have lived here in the past.
The place with a small parking lot and the descent to the basalt cliffs can be easily found. It is right next to the swimming pool, which I described above.
Hoffstadir and midnight sunset
25 km south of Hofsos, on Route 76, is Hoffstadir Guest House.
There is a small family-run country hotel with 30 rooms. In the hotel restaurant, they provide local cuisine using raw materials from the local area. The view from the restaurant extends over the shores of Héraðsvötn, the fjord and the sea.
We decided to stay there for one night – surrounded by silence and breathtaking nature. We were surprised by an amazing sunset bathed in red, which at this latitude we could still observe at midnight.
This is an extraordinary place and worth visiting. We regretted staying there for such a short time. Great impressions, high comfort of accommodation.
Iceland, my other post
I encourage you as well to read my other posts about Iceland