Gardur

By far the most impressive sight in Gardur is its lighthouse. The rest will impress no one. PIC Sigurður Þ Sigurjónsson

By far the most impressive sight in Gardur is its lighthouse. The rest will impress no one. PIC Sigurður Þ Sigurjónsson

In the large scheme of things Iceland has an unnaturally high number of weird little towns and villages. But few villages rival those of the one named squarely after a garden.

Well, we´re exaggerating a bit here. The village of Gardur is not named after a garden as the name implies in the local tongue. You see, Gardur in Icelandic can mean both a garden and a a fortified defensive wall. Fortified defensive wall sounds all out ridiculous until you know that Gardur, along with 90% of settlements here relied on fishery back in the day and this place was the first place of shelter for boats when the weather gods acted up. Ergo: defensive wall.

It´s not rusty and disgusting like some hellhole in South Carolina

By now the boats have mostly left for greener oceans and with them a large number of folks making their living from their catch. What is left is the cold winds blowing across this barren peninsula and the oddest collection of buildings scattered around.

Don´t get us wrong. It´s not rusty and disgusting like some hellhole in South Carolina. But there is something in the air that does not feel right. Some clues are gathered from the seemingly random planning here. Where it seems anyone interested in building a house could just decide a spot and start the work. In some cases there are couple of meters between homes while in the next street the distance is a kilometer. Which might be grand for people preferring to be left alone but also means you can spend eternity here without ever finding resemblance of a center.

This weirdness holds some interest but overall the town is unremarkable and not worth a special look. The only thing here worth your time is the lighthouse at the westernmost tip of the town. Gardur lighthouse is rather typical but well kept and nearby you´ll find the town museum. Here you might be interested in a few older boats on show and in between you´ll find some nice sculptures too by local artists. Those mostly made from stone and while nice are hardly likely to get your blood flowing.

Services are limited. There is a gas station, an expensive supermarket here and a small bank. A nice swimming pool is also open year round.That´s all she wrote.

De facto

Located at the tip of Reykjanes peninsula and open to the ocean means it´s windy here almost non-stop. Which does not help those curious about the Reykjanes moor nearby where birds are found in numbers nor those wanting to walk the rocky beach.

Getting here

Road 45 takes you from Keflavik and or Keflavik airport in a circle around the peninsula. The road goes through Gardur. Driving distance from Keflavik only ten minutes or so.

Our humble opinion

This is a strange little place and for some undoubtedly fascinating in its own way. But for the average tourist with limited time this detour is not worth it.