Hafnarfjörður is one Reykjavik's major towns and has many characteristics of an independent city.
Hafnarfjörður means "Port City" and the city indeed boasts an superb natural and vibrant harbor that is in proximity to a beautiful bay.
Hafnarfjörður is located in a lava field that flowed following the eruption of Mt. Búrfell, 7300 years ago. When the lava flowed into the sea it rapidly froze, leaving a trail of strange and picturesque shapes. Town houses were built amongst the rugged remains of lava, making the place dramatic and special.
Hafnarfjörður is Iceland's third largest city and home to 25000 residents and is Iceland's largest fishing port. Every day you can see large fishing boats that anchor in the port city.
One of the city's hallmarks is a beautiful church, in the square next to the harbor. The church attracts attention of many Israeli tourists mainly thanks to large Star of David at the base of the church tower.
Hafnarfjörður offers visitors a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of activities such as whale watching, horseback riding, Viking Festival and a variety of cafes and restaurants.
The city was first mentioned in the books of sagas and the first definite mention of the city dates from the late 14th century. In the 15th century, many European traders sailed through the port city, from the English and followed by the Germans.
During the 16th century after the Danish monarchy took over the island, they Danish completely took over the commerce and Hafnarfjörður became an important commercial center and a main port of Iceland.
In 1793, an influential businessman named Bjarni Sívertsen settled there and made the city an important fishing center. Since then, he has been called "Father of Hafnarfjörður" and nicknamed "Sir Bjarni". In 1908, Hafnarfjörður won the municipal status of a city.
Not far away is one of the city's cultural symbols 'Viking Village'. This is a complex consisting of a resto-bar, hotel and visitor center featuring the Viking culture with a live view of the Vikings of our time. Each year the annual Viking Festival is held and includes wine celebrations, swords and of course Vikings!
Hafnarfjörður is built on a field of enormous lava rocks, crevices and hiding places for Elfs known as the "hidden people" the likes of which seen in the film "Lord of the Rings". Hafnarfjörður is considered the 'Capital of the Elfs' and both guests and local residents are asked to consider the welfare of these secret residents and refrain from making loud noises without giving prior notice.
Hafnarfjörður has industries in various fields including the fourth-largest aluminum plant in Europe, located at the city's southern exit, towards the airport in Keflavik.