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Exploring the Heart of South Iceland

The Vibrant Town of Selfoss

Nestled along the banks of the Olfusa River, Selfoss is a charming and bustling town in South Iceland that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. As one of the largest towns in the region, Selfoss serves as a key hub for travelers exploring the southern part of the country. Its strategic location makes it an excellent base for various excursions, including the popular buggy tours that start from Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum. In this article, we'll delve into the many facets of Selfoss, highlighting its attractions, history, and the thrilling buggy tours that attract adventurers from all over the world.


A Glimpse into Selfoss: History and Development

Selfoss, with a population of approximately 7,000 residents, is the largest town in the municipality of Árborg. The town's history dates back to the early 20th century when it began to develop as a key agricultural and trade center. The construction of the Olfusa Bridge in 1945 was a pivotal moment in the town's growth, connecting Selfoss with the wider region and facilitating commerce and transportation.

Over the years, Selfoss has evolved into a modern town with a range of amenities and services, while still retaining its small-town charm. The town's location along Route 1, Iceland's Ring Road, makes it a convenient stop for travelers exploring the Golden Circle and other popular destinations in South Iceland.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

Selfoss is surrounded by some of Iceland's most stunning natural landscapes, offering ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The town itself is situated in a lush and fertile area, with green fields and picturesque views of the Olfusa River. Just a short drive from Selfoss, visitors can explore a variety of natural wonders, from waterfalls and geysers to volcanic landscapes and black sand beaches.

One of the most popular outdoor activities near Selfoss is hiking. The nearby Reykjadalur Valley, also known as the "Smoky Valley," is famous for its geothermal hot springs and scenic trails. Hikers can enjoy a relaxing soak in the warm waters of the Reykjadalur River, surrounded by steam vents and bubbling mud pots.

Cultural Attractions and Local Flavor

Selfoss boasts a rich cultural scene, with several attractions that offer insights into the region's history and heritage. The Selfoss Church, a striking modernist building, is a notable landmark that reflects the town's architectural diversity. The nearby Bobby Fischer Center is dedicated to the legendary chess grandmaster, who spent his final years in Iceland. The center houses a collection of Fischer's personal belongings and memorabilia, providing a fascinating glimpse into his life and career.

The town's vibrant cultural life is also reflected in its annual events and festivals. The Summer in Selfoss Festival, held in August, is a highlight of the town's social calendar, featuring music, food, and various family-friendly activities. The festival brings the community together and attracts visitors from across the region.

Culinary Delights and Local Cuisine

Selfoss offers a diverse culinary scene, with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that cater to different tastes. Visitors can savor traditional Icelandic dishes, such as lamb, fish, and skyr (a type of Icelandic yogurt), as well as international cuisine. The town is also known for its excellent bakeries, where you can enjoy freshly baked bread, pastries, and other delicious treats.

One of the standout dining experiences in Selfoss is the Riverside Restaurant, located at the Hotel Selfoss. The restaurant offers a delightful menu featuring local ingredients and flavors, with stunning views of the Olfusa River. Whether you're looking for a hearty breakfast, a leisurely lunch, or a gourmet dinner, the culinary offerings in Selfoss are sure to satisfy.

The Thrill of Buggy Tours: Starting Point at Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum

For those seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure, the nearby buggy tours are a must-try activity. Starting from Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum, these tours offer an exciting way to explore Iceland's rugged landscapes and geothermal wonders. The meeting point at Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum is conveniently located just a short drive from Selfoss, making it easily accessible for visitors staying in the town.

Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum

The Buggy Tour Experience: The buggy tours are designed to provide an exhilarating off-road experience, allowing participants to navigate through diverse terrains, from rocky paths and lava fields to muddy trails and river crossings. The buggies are powerful, all-terrain vehicles equipped with robust suspension systems and sturdy tires, ensuring a safe and thrilling ride.

Upon arrival at Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum, participants receive a comprehensive safety briefing and are provided with all necessary gear, including helmets, gloves, and protective clothing. No prior experience is required, as the knowledgeable guides offer detailed instructions on how to operate the buggies.

Exploring Geothermal Wonders: One of the highlights of the buggy tour is the opportunity to explore the geothermal wonders of the Hveradalir area. As you drive through the rugged landscape, you'll encounter steaming vents, bubbling mud pots, and hot springs, all set against the backdrop of Iceland's dramatic scenery. The guides share fascinating insights into the geological features and the history of the area, enhancing the overall experience.

Panoramic Views and Scenic Stops: Throughout the tour, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the breathtaking views. The guides lead participants to vantage points that offer panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and geothermal areas. Whether you're gazing out over a vast lava field or marveling at the vibrant colors of a geothermal hotspot, the scenery is sure to leave a lasting impression.

A Bonding Adventure: Buggy tours are not only about the thrill of off-roading; they also offer a chance for participants to bond and share a memorable adventure. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or fellow adventurers, the shared excitement and sense of camaraderie create lasting memories. The guides are passionate about ensuring that everyone has a fantastic time, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Practical Information for Visitors

Getting to Selfoss: Selfoss is conveniently located along Route 1, Iceland's Ring Road, making it easily accessible from Reykjavík and other major destinations in South Iceland. The town is approximately a 50-minute drive from Reykjavík, making it an ideal stop for travelers exploring the Golden Circle and other attractions in the region.

Accommodation: Selfoss offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From cozy guesthouses and boutique hotels to family-friendly accommodations and self-catering apartments, there is something for everyone. Some popular options include Hotel Selfoss, Guesthouse Garun, and the charming Lambastadir Guesthouse.

Local Amenities: As a well-developed town, Selfoss provides all the essential amenities for travelers, including supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and a variety of shops. The town also has a well-equipped sports center, a public swimming pool, and several parks and recreational areas.

Exploring Beyond Selfoss

Golden Circle: Selfoss serves as a gateway to the famous Golden Circle route, which includes some of Iceland's most iconic attractions. The Golden Circle features the stunning Gullfoss waterfall, the geothermal area of Geysir, and the historic Thingvellir National Park, where visitors can see the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia diverge.

South Coast Adventures: The town's strategic location also makes it an ideal base for exploring the South Coast of Iceland. From Selfoss, visitors can embark on day trips to the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara, the majestic Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and the glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon. The South Coast offers a diverse range of natural wonders, making it a must-visit region for nature enthusiasts.

Local Farms and Greenhouses: The fertile lands around Selfoss are home to numerous farms and greenhouses that produce a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Visitors can tour some of these farms, learn about sustainable farming practices, and sample locally grown produce. The Fridheimar greenhouse, for example, offers tours and tastings, allowing visitors to experience the farm-to-table journey of Icelandic tomatoes.


Selfoss, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural surroundings, is a gem in South Iceland that offers something for every traveler. Whether you're exploring the town's cultural attractions, savoring local cuisine, or embarking on thrilling outdoor adventures, Selfoss provides a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.

The nearby buggy tours starting from Skíðaskálinn í Hveradölum add an extra layer of adventure to your visit, offering an exhilarating way to experience Iceland's rugged landscapes and geothermal wonders. As you navigate through rocky paths, steam vents, and panoramic vistas, you'll create lasting memories and forge a deeper connection with the unique beauty of Iceland.

Whether you're seeking tranquility in nature, a taste of Icelandic culture, or the thrill of off-roading, Selfoss is a destination that promises a rich and fulfilling experience. So pack your bags, prepare for adventure, and get ready to discover the heart of South Iceland in the charming town of Selfoss.


Map & Directions

Only 25 minutes drive from the center of Reykjavík

We can pick you up downtown if needed - Select your Hotel in the booking process