Iceland is sprinkled with smaller towns and villages that remind one of a time long ago or a picturesque setting in one of your favorite fairy tales. Hella is the perfect example of one of these quaint little towns, boasting a population of about 1600 people.
In this article, we tell you how to get to Hella and what you can expect from a visit to the town, as well as give you a few extra ideas as to activities and attractions in the surrounding area that you can add to your trip itinerary.
Where is Hella in Iceland?
Hella can be found in the south of Iceland, nestled on the shores of the Ytri-ranga River. It’s about 94 kilometers from the capital city of Reykjavík, making it possible to visit as a day outing, although we’ll always recommend that you spend a bit more time in the area. Since the town is located so conveniently close to the Ring Road many opt to add Hella as a stop and sleepover point along their Ring Road road trip route.
How to Get to Hella in Iceland
There are a couple of ways that one can get to Hella in Iceland:
Via a Tour
Although you might find a few tour operators that have tours stopping at Hella, you’ll have better odds hiring a guide for a private tour. Since Hella is not one of the more well-known tourist attractions in Iceland, other guided tours such as dedicated day tours or combo tours are hard to come by.
Via a Bus
You can catch the Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar via Hella bus from the capital city. It departs daily during the busy summer months, but you’ll need to double-check the operating hours during the “down” season.
Via a Self-drive
This will always be the best way to explore the island. This way, you’re not reliant on anyone else and remain in full control of your time and itinerary. Getting to Hella when you’ve got your own transport is pretty easy. Take Route 49 to the Ring Road by taking the Vik/Hverageroi exit from Route 49. Just continue straight on with the Ring Road till you see the signs of the turnoff towards Hella. The drive will take you about an hour and 20 minutes.
The History of Hella
Hella has quite an interesting history. It’s one of the towns that had some of the very first settlers on the island, but not in the way that you would’ve imagined. These settlers were Irish monks who only made Iceland their home for a certain period of the year.
Living off of the water and salmon from the river, they used the caves along the river as their temporary homes. But in 1927, Hella was officially founded when a man called Porsteinn Björnsson set up a store next to the bridge at the river. Today, you will still find a memorial built for him here in Hella.
Other Things to Do Near Hella
You will find plenty of things to do in and around Hella such as:
- Salmon fishing
- Icelandic HorseWorld Horseback riding tours
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- The Hella Caves
- Sagnagardur Visitor Centre
- Keldur Turf Houses
Where to Stay Near Hella
With all the above-mentioned things to see and do in the area, it’s no surprise that we recommend you stay over for a night or two. If this is something that you’re considering, the following recommendation comes highly recommended:
Hella; A Quaint Little Town with a Rich History
Iceland’s little towns have somehow managed to encapsulate modern times whilst celebrating their rich history and origin stories. Hella is no different in this regard. And if you rent a campervan in Iceland, and stay a couple of nights at Hvolsvöllur, you’ll get to experience the little town along with the wide range of other attractions and activities it has to offer. Hella is a must-add stop on any Ring Road road trip.