Ingolfshofdi is a headland, framed with the sea in the south, the outwash plain in the north and precipice all around. It is due south of the country’s highest mountain, Mt. Oraefajokull, and 9 km south of the hamlet Fagurholsmyri. It rises 76 m above sea level, 750 m wide and 1200 m long. The only safe place to ascend it is up a large sand dune on its northern side. The cliffs are densely populated with seafowl, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and puffins. Many other species of birds breed on top of the promontory and on the alluvial plain, such as black backed seagulls, great skuas, ringed plovers, arctic skuas etc.
The lighthouse on the eastern part of the promontory was built in 1916 and rebuilt in 1948 and at the same time a radio beacon for the international flights was installed. The Danish consul, Dithlev Thomsen, had the rescue hut for shipwrecked people built there in 1912.
The promontory was named after the first Norwegian settler of the country (Ingolfur Arnarson). He and his foster-brother Hjorleifur had undertaken an expedition to Iceland a few years earlier to acquaint themselves with the country. They spent one winter in the East and sailed back to Norway to prepare for their emigration. When they came back with their families and belongings their ships drifted apart off the south coast. Ingolfur landed by the promontory and made his winter lodgings there. Hjorleifur found another promontory, Hjorleifshofdi, further west and spent the next winter there.
In earlier times the families of the area fetched birds and eggs from the nests in the cliffs and elsewhere and quite a few men perished when their ropes broke in the cliffs. The last such accident took place there in 1930. There were a few fishing outfits near the promontory in the past and there are still some traces of them left and some topographic names to prove that. The landing conditions for the open boats deteriorated more and more with each glacier burst and flooding of River Skeidara until the fishermen gave up.
In 1974 a monument to commemorate Ingolfur’s first winter in Iceland and the Norwegian settlers was unveiled on Ingolfshofdi. The promontory is only accessible by robust 4wd vehicles.
The farmer at Hofsnes, offers scheduled adventure tours there during summer. His son, Einar, specializes in leading mountaineering and hiking groups to the highest point of the country and elsewhere in the area as well.