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The beautiful tar black sands on the coast of Olfus. The town of Thorlakshofn can be seen in the distance. PIC Konzi

F or something to be beautiful something else has to be ugly. For something to be of worth something else has to be worthless. And when it comes to the town and villages in Iceland the fishing village of Thorlakshofn is both ugly and a pretty worthless place to visit.

There is stiff competition in this category here in Iceland because in earlier times most places in Iceland were settled only for two reasons: either because of a great natural harbor or the shortest possible way from the best fishing grounds. And because all the energy revolved around fisheries, and still does in some places, the heart of many smaller towns and villages was by the harbor.

Because of this most towns in Iceland have no center to speak of where people can enjoy each others company without smelling fish all the time. And the village of Thorlakshofn, Þorlákshöfn in Icelandic, is squarely in that category.

Situated about 40 minutes away from the capital Reykjavik this town of about 1600 people still does quite a bit of business in fishing although more and more locals work in Reykjavik nowadays. The fishing part is actually quite astounding for the coast here is pretty much just black sand and therefore the choice of this location for such a industry was a bit stupid from day one.

Very possibly the ugliest village in Iceland and there are plenty of competitors. PIC

Very possibly the ugliest village in Iceland and there are plenty of competitors. PIC

Tourist-wise the black sand is actually pretty picturesque but you do not have to enter town to enjoy some Kodak moments. There were actually for a while big ideas of building a real links golf course here and the famous golfer Nick Faldo hired for the job. But is fizzled out during the economic meltdown in 2008.

However, there is already a fine golf course here should you want to go for a few holes on your way around the area. Should golf not interest you the towns boasts of a decent swimming pool but that is all the fat lady wrote about entertainment in town. Some think the local church is rather nice but it is often closed.

Should you wish to stay for whatever reason there is a small camping area here and also a small guesthouse Hja Jonna located at Oddabraut road.

As for food there is a possibility of buying food from the guesthouse but apart from that there is only the local gas station with fast food.

» The name Thorlakur has nothing to do with the thundergod but was the name of a long forgotten bishop from here.

» From Reykjavik drive the Ring Road south and after 15 minutes of so turn right on road 39. This leads through really beautiful lava landscape pretty much all the way. There is a very scenic spot on the way with stunning view over the town and to the sea. Another option is to come here from Grindavik or the Blue lagoon area on road 427. Also a good choice for fancy rock formations everywhere.

» Driving here from Reykjavik or Grindavik is well worth it with splendid nature all around. The black sand is marvelous but the town itself is a disappointment on a humongous scale.

View Town of Thorlakshofn Iceland in a larger map