Selfoss

Travel Guide Europe Iceland South Iceland Selfoss

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Introduction

Selfoss is the largest town in South Iceland. Selfoss is rarely seen as a tourist destination in its own right. Although it sits by a beautiful spot by the Ölfusá river, it's simply too close to places like Þingvellir and Gullfoss and Geysir to be noticed, and too close to Reykjavík for most people to think of it as a place to stay the night.

The town is young, even by Icelandic standards. Its history starts out of nothing in the early 20th century, when a new bridge was built across Ölfusá. When several important companies were placed close to the bridge (it made sense, economically) the town grew into an important hub for the agricultural area that surrounds it and today it produces most of the dairy products consumed in South, West and Southwest Iceland.

Culturally, Selfoss is in Iceland connected to what could be called the Icelandic equivalent of the British chav. The Icelandic word is hnakki, which means the back of the neck. There is definitely some truth in this, and Selfoss has been home to some of the most iconic bands identified with hnakki-music. But there is much more to the town, and it is maybe unfairly judged. Being the largest town in South Iceland (with a population just under 7,000) and the main hub of an important agricultural area, it also plays an important role in the wider regional culture. Selfoss remains an undiscovered destination and its main appeal really lies in the surrounding areas, but it's a friendly enough town and can be a nice place to stay.

Selfoss is part of the Árborg municipality, along with Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki. Don't get confused when you see some signs mentioning Árborg and others mentioning Selfoss - the former simply means these three towns and the rural areas between them.

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Sights and Activities

Bobby Fischer Center, Austurvegur 21, ☏ +354 894 1275. 1300 to 1600. Small museum dedicated to United States born chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, with a strong focus on his famous match with USSR grandmaster Boris Spassky in 1972.

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Events and Festivals

Summer in Selfoss Festival. The festival is held each year in early August.

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Getting There

Selfoss sits on the Ring Road, about 60 km east of Reykjavík. It's also well connected by roads to the towns on the south coast and to Upcountry Árnessýsla.

The Reykjavík bus system, Strætó, runs buses to Selfoss. The route is number 51 and buses leave from Mjódd interchange station in Reykjavík, goes through Hveragerði and terminates at Fossnesti in Selfoss. One ride between Reykjavík and Selfoss costs 1,400 kr and buses leave close to once every hour during weekdays, less frequently on weekends.

There are also buses that run between Selfoss and Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri on the south coast, with several stops in each town. The schedule is rather irregular so it's best to ask around locally.

Finally, it should also be mentioned that many Golden Circle buses run through Selfoss.

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Getting Around

As with most Icelandic towns, it's easy enough to get around by walking. The aforementioned bus to the towns on the south coast has a few stops in Selfoss, so it's possible to use it to get around town but you'll probably spend so long waiting that it won't be worth it.

The local taxi company is called Bifreiðastöð Árborgar (tel.: +354 482 3800). It has a taxi rank on Eyrarvegur outside the building which houses Hótel Selfoss and the cinema.

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Eat

Kaffi Krús, Austurvegur 7. Icelandic café. Each meal costs around 1000 - 2500 kr?
Menam, Eyrarvegur 8. Asian cusine. Each meal costs around 1000 - 4000 kr.

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Sleep

Bed and Breakfast Selfoss, Austurvegur 28, ☏ +354 482 1600, ✉ bandb@bandb.is. A hostel with both dorms and various sizes of rooms, by the main street through town. 9,000 kr double room, 4,000 kr in dorm.
Fosstún Apartment Hotel, Eyrarvegur 26, ☏ +354 480 1200, ✉ fosstun@fosstun.is. In the winter, these fully furnished apartments are used by local students, in the summer they're turned into a hotel. Clean and nice rooms, and you can make some basic food in the kitchen. Breakfast is included in the price. Each apartment has its own entrance, and with a car park right in front of the building it feels more like a motel than is the norm in Iceland. 15,000 kr.
Hotel Selfoss, Eyrarvegi 2 (by the bridge over Ölfusá), ☏ +354 480 2500, ✉ info@hotelselfoss.is. Four star hotel with satellite TV and (cable) internet in rooms. The location right by the river means there are great views from some of the rooms. The hotel also has a spa and a restaurant. 17,000-19,000 kr.
Menam Guesthouse, Eyrarvegur 8, ☏ +354 482 4099, ✉ menam@menam.is. A very small guesthouse, four double rooms, above a Thai restaurant. Shared bathroom and living room. 7,900 kr October-April; 9,900 kr May-September.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Most of Iceland is well connected. Most homes have ADSL connections which work well most of the time. There is however a firewall which can cause connections problems especially at busy times. Most hotels, guesthouses, hostels, cafés etc. have a working Wi-Fi network. Generally it's free of charge, but sometimes there might be a small fee or limited amount of time. There are a couple of public computers at the University of Iceland and the National Library that you can use for free and without the need to log in.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international telephone code is 354. National numbers in Iceland are seven digits long and generally written in the form xxx xxxx or xxx-xxxx.
There are no area codes in this closed numbering plan and the international call prefix is 00. Numbers of mobile phones tend to begin with either 6xx xxxx, 7xx xxxx or 8xx xxxx, while land line numbers start with 5xx xxxx (in Reykjavík) or 4xx xxxx (the country side). The Icelandic emergency number is 112 for all services.

Internally, phone calls in Iceland are very reasonable priced and most providers offer friends and family discounts or free calls/messaging to same network phones. International calling cards are available in most convenience stores which can significantly reduce the cost of international calls.

There are three main companies who supply personal internet connections: siminn Vodafone and Talk. It is very important to get full details of the charges and excess charges as it is very easy to run up a huge bill without being aware of it, especially on a mobile connection. You can buy a local SIM card, if you have an unlocked mobile phone. The major internet companies can supply 3G mobile internet on a monthly basis. If you are travelling be sure to check the coverage because the mobile connection is not as wide as the mobile phone connection.

Post

Iceland's Postal Service (tel. 580-1200) is reliable and efficient. General post office hours in Reykjavík are 9:00am to 6:00pm weekdays, but post offices close earlier elsewhere. Mailboxes are bright red and marked Pósturinn. Stamps are sold at many locations, including Nóatún supermarkets; N1, Olís, and Shell gas stations; and some bookstores. Mail typically takes 3 to 5 business days to reach Europe or the United States. If you are importing goods through the post, it takes a while to sort out the customs and tax based on the value of the item, so be sure to have receipts readily available. For sending packages you can also use international courier companies like TNT, UPS, FedEx or DHL, since they are fast, reliable and generally competitively priced as well.

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Selfoss Travel Helpers

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This is version 4. Last edited at 14:42 on Nov 1, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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