Because of dangerous sailing conditions around the Reykjanes peninsula and the rich fishing traditions, thirteen lighthouses have been built around the peninsula.
The Lighthouse at Holmsberg was built in1956 and stands 9,3 m tall with a compartmenet for the light of 3,4 m tall. It has identical lighthouses in 6 other parts of Iceland, all designed by the engineer Axel Sveinsson.
The spit on which you are standing is named Hópsnes on the west side and Þórkötlustaðanes on the east side. The spit is 2 km long and 1 km wide and was formed 2,800 years ago when lava flowed into the sea.
Hópsnes/Þórkötlustaðanes was formed during an eruption from a row of craters named Sundhnúkur located just north of the village of Grindavík. Port conditions in Grindavík are excellent due to this lava flow and the lagoon (Hópið) that formed beside the spit when the sea began to erode the lava and move loose materials. If the spit were not there, the village of Grindavík would probably never have been built. The fact is that it is one of six communities on the Reykjanes peninsula that owes its existence to an eruptive fissure in a volcanic system that is still active. Eruptions could occur in this area at any time.
From its earliest days, Grindavík has been one of the main fishing centres in Iceland. Sundhnúkur, from where the lava that formed the spit flowed, has navigation signals showing the route through the gap into the harbour. Travelling around the spit, one can see a number of shipwrecks that have run aground here and in the neighbourhood in the course of the 20th century. There are information signs by some of the wrecks.
Both the village and fishing-vessel operations flourished in the early 20th century. Numerous rowing boats and later motor boats were operated from Þórkötlustaðanes. There are a good number of remains of the settlement that is no more, such as entrance cairns, fish-storage huts, ice storages, fish-processing houses, liver-processing and salt huts. The fishing operation moved to the location that is now Grindavík harbour in 1939, when a group of energetic Grindavík residents took it upon themselves to dig a channel through the reef that had hitherto prevented boats from entering the Hópið lagoon. The Hópsnes lighthouse was built in 1928.
Today the area is a popular recreational area with a hiking and biking trail.
The first lighthouse in Iceland was built on Valahnúkur in Reykjanes in
the year 1878. By 1905 earthquakes and surf had damaged Valahnúkur
so much that there was the risk of the lighthouse falling into the sea.
A new lighthouse was therefore built in 1907-1908 on Bæjarfell hill in Reykjanes and the old one was demolished with an explosion on april 16th 1908. A survey which Rögnvaldur Guðmundsson supervised in 2007 for the Icelandic Maritime Administration led to the conclusion that Reykjanes lighthouse was the most popular lighthouse among Icelanders.
The lightsignal height is 69 meters above sealevel but the actual height of the lighthouse is 26 metres. Reykjanes lighthouse also has a radio beacon with a correction signal. There is carved rock and concrete in the lighthouse. Architect Frederik Kjørboe and engineer Thorvald Krabbe designed the lighthouse. The operation
of Reykjanes Lighthouse is under the supervision of the Icelandic Maritime Administration.
Stafnes was a mansion in the past. There were many fishing outfits on the property and many people lived there during the fishing seasons. Royal fishing outfits started operating there around the middle of the 16th century and were abolished in 1769. The inhabitants of the King´s properties in the Southwest were obliged to work on the King´s boats against low pay. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Stafnes was the most populous fishing outfit on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The former trading post Basendar is a short distance to the south. Still further south is the old harbour Thorshofn, which was not much used, because of the proximity of Basendar. Many vessels have run aground on the Stafnes Skerries. In 1928 the trawler President Jon ran aground there, 15 of the crew drowned, but 10 were rescued. This and other similar accidents led to the establishment of The Life Saving Association of Iceland. Considerable seal hunting was practiced at Stafnes in earlier times.
Stafnesviti stands in between the towns Sandgerði and Hafnir at Stafnes and was built in 1925. It stands 8 m. tall built of concrete sement and stands on a concrete stall. It is painted yellow.
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On Garðskagi you can find two lighthouses, the older one and also the smaller of the two was once regarded as one of the best lighthouses in Iceland because it stood low and therefore mist was not a problem. Although there was risk of the lighthouse being damaged because of surf and it was sometimes not visible because of seastorm.
A new lighthouse was built on Garðskagi in 1944. At 28 metres it is the highest lighthouse in Iceland and was in second place in a survey which Rögnvaldur Guðmundsson supervised concerning the favorite lighthouses of the Icelandic people. Engineer Axel Sveinsson designed the lighthouse but the lighthouse is a radar transponder and used for weather surveilance. The operation of the
lighthouse is under the supervision of the Icelandic Maritime Administration.