Blönduós: East Bank for Food, West Bank for Sleep
The eastern banks of Blanda River have long been the default stop in Blönduós. But thanks to ambitious renovations – new money to repair old houses – the western part of this riverside settlement is pulling visitors over the bridge.
This town of thousand people – including a substantial Syrian population – can be difficult to navigate for newcomers. Blame poor city planning, allowing the Ring Road businesses to become the central stop. In fact, some travelers pass Blönduós without really noticing a town with much to offer.
Blönduós is a hub to explore northwestern Iceland
The two parts of Blönduós - East Bank and West Bank - could also be called Eat and Sleep, respectively.
Hótel Blönduós and Brimslóð Atelier Guesthouse are fantastic accommodation options, spread around multiple seaside properties.
Hótel Blönduós, renovated in 2023, has a cute café across the road named Apotekarastofan where the local pharmacy was located in old times, around the time penicillin was discovered. The hotel also offers accommodation inside an old church.
Brimslóð Atelier has a rustic interior and is owned by two cookbook-authors. No surprise, a three-course dinner is part of the experience, a fixed menu served every night over summer.
Blönduós has a large campground with lots of service, too.
Activities in Blönduós
The above picture is of the school playground in Blönduós. Children of a certain age will demand a visit. Next to the school is public pool Íþróttamiðstöðin Blönduósi, another family favorite. Top tip: Guests at the hot tub can serve themselves a cup of coffee.
The Textile Museum (Heimilisiðnaðarsafnið) exhibits a collection of homemade wool and textile items, as well as Icelandic national costumes and artistic embroideries along with many of the tools and equipment used to produce them.
A lesser known walking path is to Hrútey Island via a pedestrian bridge. The small island is green with picnic benches and singing birds. Enter the bridge from the Ring Road (Rte 1) on the eastern end of town. (The Hrútey parking lot is large but the island is still somewhat of a hidden gem.)
Where to eat in Blönduós
For a gas station, N1 Blönduós certainly exceeds expectations in food variety: pylsa hot dogs, hamburgers, kjötsúpa meat soup, and fried fish. Many consider the place a default Ring Road stop.
While N1 serves the roadstop classics, Teni Restaurant is a rare find. The theme is Ethiopian, the place named after the owner’s Ethiopian mother. The restaurant recently relocated to a new strip mall in Blönduós. Samkaup, the only supermarket between Hvammstangi and Sauðárkrókur, is located at the mall, too.
- Skagaströnd is a small fishing village with a laid-back vibe and wonderful trails along Spákonuhöfði.
- Kálfshamarsvík, on the rugged Skagi Peninsula, has a photogenic lighthouse with basalt rocks in the foreground.
- Hvítserkur, the postcard picture of the region, is an impressive sea stack some say is a petrified troll.