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Hafnarfjordur is a port town located on the south-west coast of Iceland, about 10 km south of Reykjavik. It is the third most populous city in Iceland, after Reykjavik and Kopavogur, with a population of 26,003.The population of Hafnarfjorour reached 25,000 on February 29, 2008.As the third largest city,Hafnarfjordur has established local industry and a variety of urban activities,with annual festival events.

The town is the site of an annual Viking festival, where Viking culture enthusiasts from around the world display reconstructions of Viking garb, handicraft, sword-fighting, etc.Tourists with a New Age mindset enjoy a guided tour of the habitats of elves and other hidden people in the town area.Hafnarfjordur is now arguably considered to be the rock n' roll capital of Iceland (a title that once belonged to Keflavik).Popular Icelandic bands such as Botnleoja, Jet Black Joe, HAM, Katir Piltar, Panther's Punch, Sign, Úlpa, Vicky, Lada Sport and Jakobinarina all trace their origins to the town of Hafnarfjordur.

Just two kilometers outside of Hafnarfjordur is an aluminium smelter, run by Alcan. Alcan has applied for an extension for the smelter, which will make it the fourth largest smelter in Europe. The local governing body has sold Alcan land for the extension, Alcan has received permission for the extension from the government and a deal has been struck for selling energy to the smelter, even though the neighbouring area is the only place around Hafnarfjordur with available domestic building area for Hafnarfjordur.Local elections were held in May 2006, and the people of Hafnarfjordur voted on the future of the extension for the smelter in 2006.The smelter was originally built in 1969, and it has improved its cleaning process since then, especially regarding fluoride. The effect that the extension will have on the environment and the local residents is, though, a huge concern for the people of Hafnarfjordur.

In 1793, Bjarni Sívertsen settled here and became influential in local business and international trade, setting up a major commercial fishing operation.His enterprise and initiative signalled the start of impressive commerce in the town.Ever since,he has been called "the father of Hafnarfjordur" and nicknamed "Sir Bjarni." Around 1870, dramatic changes took place in Icelandic fishing. Residents followed the growing trend in Iceland of using decked boats rather than row-boats.This led to even more employment and rapid growth, and Hafnarfjordur attained official municipal status in 1908.

After World War II, more advanced trawlers and numerous motorised ships were added to the fleet. The town's first stern trawler appeared in 1973.Today, Hafnarfjordur is one of the nation's largest fishing centers and the site of Iceland's first fish wholesalers' auction market. Through the years, Hafnarfjordur's dynamic local economy has been strongly linked to fishing,although freight transport has recently become the major harbour activity. And now, the town is Iceland's second-ranked import and export harbour.

How to Reach

By Air

Nonstop flights on Icelandair are available at the best value from the U.S. and Canada, with gateways in Boston, New York City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando Sanford, Halifax, and Toronto. Destinations beyond Iceland include most major European cities (i.e. Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen,Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Oslo, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich,Paris, and Stockholm, with newly-added cities Bergen and Gothenburg),with Icelandair's hub-and-spoke network connecting via Keflavik in Iceland.(Please note that some destinations are seasonal.) You can also stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights at no additional airfare on your way to or from Europe. That's two destinations for the price of one.

By Bus

Once arrived, take the Flybus, it gets you Hafnarfjordur several hostels and hotels.Hafnarfjordur is also the closest part of the Greater-Reykjavik area to the Leifur Eiriksson Airport so it easy to take the Taxi.From Reykjavik it is easy to take the public bus that runs every 15-20 minutes.

By Road

An additional way to get to Iceland is to use low cost carrier Iceland Express.Cheaper and with less rules it is good alternative for a smaller budget.As an added bonus they also fly nonstop from London and Copenhagen to Akureyri in norhern Iceland.Summer 2010 their plans include flights between Reykjavik and Alicante, Aalborg, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Billund, Birmingham, Bologna, Copenhagen, Frankfurt Hahn, Friedrichshafen, Gothenburg, Geneva, Krakau, London Gatwick, Paris, Warsaw.

Key places to visit
Viking Town, Elven Town, Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik Marathon, Bright Days festival


Places to Visit

Viking Town

For over a decade, Hafnarfjordur has played host to an annual Viking Festival at Fjorukrain. \Vikings from around the world gather to take part in the festival. A colourful collection of artists will be at the Viking Festival 2004: artists, warriors, bowmen, wrestlers, woodcarvers, stonemasons, blacksmiths, storytellers and enchantresses, musicians and magicians.About 120 Vikings, both Icelanders and visitors from abroad, will create an authentic Viking atmosphere. This is the eight Viking “invasion” of Hafnarfjordur, and the fifth Solstice Festival at Fjorukrain.The festival lasts from 16 to 20 June.

Elven Town

Mysterious beings are said to reside in the lava fields of Hafnarfjordur though not all can see them. Icelanders have long believed that rocks and cliffs were homes to elves and dwarfs,and in Hafnarfjordur these beings live in peace and harmony with their human neighbours.Many people say they have seen a woman in white, with a silver belt, who is said to live in Hamarinn, reputed to be an elven palace.

Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra was not established until March 9. 1950. In such a short time since then it may seem strange that the country has reach such high level of artistry as the ISO clearly manifests.The ISO gives approximately sixty concerts each season, including subscription concerts in Reykjavik, and tours both in Iceland and abroad, with recent visits to the Faeroes, Greenland, Germany, Austria, France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and North America.The year 2000 tour to USA and Canada was the most extensive one the orchestra has done. The American press embraced the performances of the orchestra and the tour was considered a major success for the ISO. Over the years, many renowned guest artists have enriched the ISO's music making, most notably Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yehude.

Iceland Airwaves

What started as a showcase for local DJs has evolved into a full-blown, international music festival that presents the hottest new bands from the USA, Europe and Iceland.Since its debut in 1999, Iceland Airwaves has hosted Sigur Ros, Quarashi, Suede, Citizen Cope,Fat Boy Slim and the Hives, to name a few.Numerous concerts take place in the down town Reykjavik from Hardcore Metal to R'n'B; Hip Hop, Lo-Fi and Jazz to Indie-Rock. In the evenings bars are jam packed with Iceland's very own super-star DJs. Referred to as "probably one of the top 10 musical experiences of my entire life." by Elektra Records director Leigh Lust, Iceland Airwaves will continue to deliver the best weekend away in Europe.

Reykjavik Marathon

This annual event involves thousands of participants from Iceland and abroad.Marathon proper,half marathon and a so called fun run (4.3 miles).The official program starts at noon and ends in the late evening,with many functions continuing into the early morning hours.

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