Álftanes is a low-lying peninsula south of Reykjavík. There is a growing residential area in Álftanes, although its inhabitants work mostly in other municipalities in the Greater Reykjavík Area.

Bessastaðir in Álftanes is an important historical site. Until the end of the 18th century it was the seat of the highest potentates of the Danish King in 1805 the highest educational institution in the country, Lærði skólinn (The Learned School), was moved from the Bishopric at Skálholt to Bessastaðir, where it operated for four decades before being moved to Reykjavík.
The Icelandic State acquired the land in 1941 and Bessastaðir has been the seat of the President of Iceland ever since. The presidential residence was built in 1761-66 and is one of the oldest buildings in Iceland. The Bessastaðir church was built a short while later, around 1777. The church contains many beautifulart pieces. Álftanes is the site of Gálgahraun (Gallows Lava) and Gálgaklettur (Gallows Cliff), where criminals were reportedly hanged. Human bones have been found in nearby lava hollows that support those reports.

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