Strandakirkja church in South Iceland

Strandakirkja, west of Þorlákshöfn, is a landmark church on the empty coastline

Þorlákshöfn: The South Coast Less Traveled

Þorlákshöfn, a small town located on the southern coast, offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and industrial history.

The town is an important port as it is the only viable harbour on Iceland's southern coast which is how its industrial foundations ship-outfitting and fish processing factories were laid. The rich fishing grounds off the Þórlakshöfn shore also contributed to fishing becoming an important part of the town's economy.

The South Coast Route

As travelers venture towards the natural sites of the South Coast, Þorlákshöfn serves as one of the few settlements along the way. This route is a popular choice for sightseeing, much like the renowned Golden Circle, as it offers a variety of attractions. Visitors can admire beautiful waterfalls, impressive glaciers, volcanoes, picturesque beaches, and immerse themselves in the local culture. The South Coast route provides a memorable and enjoyable experience for all explorers. Read our full coverage of the South Coast route.

Map of Þorlákshöfn

Þorlákshöfn centers around a large industrial harbor, as shown on this street map

The Harbor in Þorlákshöfn

Despite its modest size and population (about 1700 people) Þorlákshöfn has much to offer in terms of outdoor activities. Whether you are a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Þorlákshöfn’s stunning coastline with expansive black sand beaches and views of the North Atlantic will provide.

Street map of Þorlákshöfn.

Taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, you can enjoy the fresh sea breeze and admire the dramatic landscapes that Iceland is renowned for. Black Beach Tours offer guided SUV tours along the beach.

Þorlákshöfn Swimming Pool

The public pool in Þorlákshöfn has indoor and outdoor pools for guests of all ages

The Swimming Pool

The geothermal swimming pool is a popular spot among both locals and tourists. Iceland is famous for its geothermal activity, and the town's swimming pool allows you to experience this natural phenomenon first-hand. The swimming pool features hot tubs, saunas, and a steam bath, as well as a water slide, providing the perfect opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of exploration.

Adjacent to the pool, there is a well-maintained campsite that offers convenient indoor cooking facilities and ample space for mobile homes, catering to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts.


Many visit Þorlákshöfn on the way to Fagradalsfjall volcano by Rte 427, known as Suðurstrandavegur

Selvogur and Strandakirkja

From the swimming pool, visitors have the option to explore numerous scenic walking routes in the surrounding area. These paths lead to captivating destinations such as Selvogur, Herdísarvík, Óseyrarbrú, and Eyrarbakki, allowing for long walks along the coast and the beach. The coast around Þorlákshöfn, and indeed the whole of the South Coast, has incredibly impressive breaker waves, and may reach as high as 25 metres (82 feet).

The coastal route continues to Reykjanes Peninsula; many visit Þorlákshöfn on the way to see Fagradalsfjall by Rte 427, known as Suðurstrandavegur.


If you're interested in birdwatching, Þorlákshöfn is a fantastic destination. The nearby Flói Bird Reserve is home to a diverse range of bird species, including Greylag Geese, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and various waders such as Snipe and passerines like Wheatear.

Get inspired

Experience some of Iceland's amazing routes and travel destinations in South Iceland.

A Day in Þorlákshöfn: The South Coast Less Traveled