The Víðistaðatún park area is a leisure area with ponds and a playground.
The park is well-known for its sculpture park.
Here you can admire 16 sculptures/art works by international artists. The works were created in the light of the art festivals in 1991 and 1993. Some of the artists donated their work to the park after the festivals finished.
As the rest of Hafnarfjörður this park is also located amidst a lavafield. This location makes it even more special to walk here.
This sculpture park contains 16 sculptures created by artists from around the world. Some of the works were interesting, some not depending on your taste. There is a campsite here and a lovely church. A thermal swimming pool is nearby.
Hafnarfjordur Museum owns several colourful, old wooden buildings which have been made into museums. Admission is free. We only went in one, but they all looked good from the outside and took good photos.
The buildings are:
Pakkhusid at Vesturgata 8 which has an exhibition about toys.
Sivertsen's House at Vesturgata 6 which is the oldest house in Hafnarfjordur.
Bookless Bungalow at Vesturgata 32 which was built by a Scottish fisheries company in 1918 and housing an exhibition on fishing.
Siggubaer at Kirkjuvegur 10 the home of a labourer dating from 1902.
Beggubud at Vesturgata 8 which dates from 1906.
Gutto at Sudurgata 7. We did not see this. It is the Good Templars Hall dating from 1886.
These are all open daily from 11am to 5pm in June, July and August.
We stayed in the hotel here. There is also a restaurant which does Viking feasts. We did not take part in one of these. The Viking Village buildings are designed to look like Viking structures. There are lots of little Viking statues and rune stones etc in the grounds. Quite interesting and good for photos.
Hafnarfjordur has an interesting, colourful working harbour which is worth a look. It also has a long walkway/cycle track along the seafront. The seafront walkway is lined with photos of old Hafnarfjordur. There are lots of seats where you can relax and enjoy the view. The light was wonderful here in summertime.
The Vikings put on quite a realistic fight through out the days, so don't stand too close as it can get scary. At the end of the fight a lot of Vikings lie "dead" in the field, probably on their way to Valhalla, where they can continue fighting. But be aware that they then get up and run screaming towards the crowd. Hold on to your kids and don't let them go too close during the fight.
Most of us Icelanders are decendants of the Vikings, I am one of them :D Take a loot at one of my albums on my homepage about my Viking and Irish ancestry.
Hafnarfjörður hosts the Annual International Viking Festival which will be held for the 14th time this year (2010) in June. This time the festival will last for 10 days. Thousands of "Vikings" from all over the world (mostly Scandinavia, England and Germany plus Icelanders of course) gather here and the fun goes on for several days. They sell hand-made stuff, fur, roast a lamb, fight, dance, tell stories and show us the ways of living of the old Vikings. They teach you how to throw spears, shoot with bows and arrows, there is a fortune teller, wood-carving etc. Iceland is the Mekka of Vikings and this is a must if you are visiting Iceland at this time of the year.
The Vikings put on quite a realistic fight, so don't stand too close as it can get scary. At the end of the fight the Vikings run screaming towards the crowd. Take a look at my next tip for pictures of the Viking fight. There are also pictures in my travelogue.
The Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður is the first one of its kind in Iceland. The village was raised for the first time in 2003 and it is ever so popular with 20 stalls imported from Germany.
The Christmas Village is not big by international standard, but to us it is very cute, with stalls which create a semi-circle, a Christmas tree in the middle and a stage on the southern side of the square called Thorsplan. On the stage there is various entertainment and the announcer is no other than the feared Grýla, the mother of the Yule-lads/Santa Claus. She eats naughty kids, by the way, that is why she is so feared ;)
There is one stall in the Christmas village in particular which is very popular, that is the stall of the Catholic nuns who live in the convent in Hafnarfjörður. They sell "convent-made" stuff and are very lovely women.
The Christmas village opens on the first weekend of the Advent and is open weekends only from 13-18. On Þorláksmessa, which is on the 23rd of December, the Christmas village is open until very late.
Next to the village The District museum of Hafnarfjörður has opened a small exhibition on old Christmas related toys and stuff :) Authors also read from their books for the guests.
Children from kindergarten in Hafnarfjörður help with the decorations of the Christmas village and school children take part in the entertainment :)
There are guided trips to The Cristmas Village with Mountain Climbing. You will get guidance through the village and the center of Hafnarfjörður and sit down in a café to get refreshments. The cost of the tour is ISK 7.000 and the tour lasts 2 hours.
In Reykjavík there is also a christmas village and we named it that way as well, but Hafnarfjörður protested and got a patent on their name, so we had to rename our village - it is now called Christmas town.
Hafnarfjörður is an amazing place as the houses are literally built on lava. Hafnarfjörður is situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the North-Atlantic and Eurasian continents, which makes for a very interesting walk there. While in Hafnarfjörður take a stroll in the old town and you will be amazed, I live in Iceland and I am always amazed when in Hafnarfjörður seeing the proximity of the lava to the houses.
But there is of course a drawback to living so close to volcanos (Stóribolli and Litlibolli), one never knows when they are going to erupt again. The lava in this area is 1.000 and 2.000 old, but one never knows when these volcanos decide to erupt. The distance from the volcanos to Hafnarfjörður and the neighbouring town Garðabær is only 25 km!
And as we know The Hidden People live in some of these big lava rocks so they cannot be touched. See my next tip.
There is a lovely place by the ocean in Hafnarfjörður which I particularly like and I go there often, stop the car on the parking lot by the ocean and watch the sea-ravens. I have not seen so many of them anywhere else in Reykjavík or the connecting towns as on this particular spot.
The sea-ravens are so majestic, they belong to the pelican family and are black with a long beak. So if you love bird-watching or just like watching beautiful birds, like I do, then do visit this particual spot in Hafnarfjörður.
The Icelandic word for a sea-raven is skarfur.
As you will see from my photos from Hafnarfjörður waterfront there is a big lava rock by the waterfront which was left untouched and built around it. There are so many similar places like this in Iceland. The reason for this is that some lava rocks are homes to The Hidden People (elves). Mishaps and accidents will happen if one tries to blow up these rocks as The Hidden People defend their homes. So a medium is contacted which will then talk to The Hidden People and ask them to move or, if they are not willing to move, the road or the project in question will have to be built around the rock.
I should have placed this tip under "customs", but as my photos for 3 tips in a row here are taken in the same street in Hafnarfjörður I prefer keeping the tips together :)
Opposite the Viking restaurant and bar there is the Hotel Viking. I have never stayed there but I took pictures from the outside and in the lobby just to give you the general idea of what it looks like. I would say this were an awesome place to stay and if I weren't living here I would definitely try staying there for one night. It must be awesome staying here during the Viking Festival - but maybe a bit too loud as these Vikings know how to party ;)
The Viking village is located in Hafnarfjörður and has a really interesting Viking restaurant and bar and the Hotel Viking (see my next tip for photos of the hotel). The decor is Viking style and the atmosphere is pure "Viking". The waitresses are dressed up as Valkyries and the menu consists of "Viking food". It is well worth a visit to experience a "different" evening. Have a look at their website for detailed information and the menu :) At 18:30 every night starts a Viking show, live entertainment with the Vikings, a glass of beer, shark and dry fish, and a big bowl of meat soup in a Viking way for 30 euros. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year (2010) and because of that The Viking Festival will last for 10 days.
At 19:30-01 there is a Viking feast every night and of course you can order other food as well if you don't feel up for the Viking dinner described above :D
There are 2 prominent parks in Hafnarfjörður, the small and lovely Hellisgerði, where the statue of Bjarni Sívertsen is situated, and Víðistaðatún park, which is a big park with a pond, play area for children and a popular place where outdoor concerts are held. There are some other small parks, Hafnarfjörður is built on lava so the nature there is fantastic.
The recreational park of Víðistaðatún is surrounded by lava which makes for an interesting walk.
There is an International Sculpture park at Víðistaðatún with 16 works of art by both Icelandic and foreign sculptors.
There is a lovely church by the north end of the park, Víðistaðakirkja church, see the lovely form of the church from my photos.
There is a campsite and a guesthouse at Víðistaðatún by the Sculpture park, I add the website to the campsite here.
Bjarni is said to be the father of Hafnarfjörður.
He bought one of the first trawler in Iceland and started fishery and traiding.
He was upper class at his time and lived in this house build in 1803.
It´s only open over the summertime from 11:00 - 17:00