Founded in 1916, Runavík has an important port, originally used predominantly by fishing boats but now also a key supply base for the North Sea oil industry as well as a trans-shipment port for freight to and from Europe. The harbour underwent development in the late 1990s and can now accommodate cruise ships.
A massive infrastructure project has been mounted to build an 11 km-long sub-sea tunnel between Runavík and Tórshavn by 2019, thereby significantly reducing travel times to the capital. Construction costs are estimated to be around 1 billion Faroese Krone. In 2014 all political parties of the Faroese parliament agreed on how and when to build the Eysturoyartunnilin and the Sandoyartunnilin. The drillings started in 2016 regarding Eysturoyartunnilin. The work on Sandoyartunnilin is expected to start two years later. They need to fill out an area into the sea at Saltnes near Runavík for the Eysturoy-tunnel.
The local football team is NSÍ Runavík who play their home games at the Runavík Stadium. They were Faroe Islands Premier League winners once, in 2007.