In some areas in Iceland, two almost identical villages developed although the distance between them is just a few kilometers. Sometimes this is a puzzle as nothing can explain why. This is the case with the two towns of Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki on the south shore and can also be applied to two other villages in the Southern Region Hella and Hvolsvöllur. Even historically nothing can point to a valid reason why the two villages aren't jut one village.
The same question of unfavorable natural conditions for a harbor
Although people in the South Region took advantages of rich fishing grounds outside the shore throughout the centuries, bringing the catch to shore was always difficult because of the lack of natural conditions for a dock. Despite this fact, small fishing stations and fishing outfits developed on the south coast, and people came there to fish, even though conditions were harsh during fishing season. A favourable landing spot was always the problem. But sometimes good fishing grounds were enough for a small village to develop from a farm to a village as was the case with Stokkseyri. This is despite the fact that the farm Stokkseyri is mentioned as far back as the book of Settlement. Often in those villages, another factor, trading, was also a contributing factor. Especially after Danish-Icelandic monopoly was abolished which gave the village a better economic and competitive position. This was the case with Stokkseyri and both the village and trading developed at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. But like its neighbour Eyrarbakki when the bridge over the river Ölfusá was built and the transportation infrastructure started to develop on land Stokkseyri lost its role.
An effort was made at Stokkseyri during the 20th century
In the forties and up until the eighties efforts were made to enhance conditions for fishing and fish processing to develop. In that period, the Icelandic government dedicated a lot of funding to building harbours around the coastline. That was also the case in Stokkseyri, but here this never amounted to any noticeable development. In addition to many old houses most homes were built during that period. After that Stokkseyri more or less came to a standstill as most of the development occurred in other inland towns and villages that also offered service to the agricultural communities.
A small village turning towards tourism
Today the tiny village of Stokkseyri with its population of approximately 400 people is part of the municipal Árborg, which includes its neighbour Eyrarbakki and the inland town of Selfoss in addition to the surrounding rural communities. In the village, the municipal offers most of the modern day service to its residents. The village has a preschool as well as a primary and secondary school. It also has a small swimming pool and a camping site. People at Stokkseyri have their livelihood by seeking employment in neighbouring towns or the capital area and some have turned towards the growing tourism by offering service, leisure and accommodation.
If you are going to visit the Southern Region in Iceland you might be looking for a places to stay. Here you can book from a selection of accommodationin the Stokkseyri region.