Once an important fishing area, the village has experienced growth in tourism. The maritime museum has examples of the turf-roof houses once common across Iceland, as well as marine engines and Iceland's oldest rowing boat (1826). According to the 2011 census, Hellissandur and nearby Rif have 544 inhabitants.
One of the points of interest near Hellissandur is the Snæfellsjökullglacier, made famous by Jules Verne in the Journey to the Center of the Earth. Just outside of the village, there is the northern entrance to the Snæfellsjökull National Park, which surrounds the western and southern sides of the glacier. Noteworthy is the 412 metre tall Gufuskálar-radio mast, the tallest structure in Western Europe, located 2 kilometres westward.