Ísafjörður – the pearl of Iceland
Ísafjörður is a small municipality with almost 3000 inhabitants and is located in the northwest of Iceland in the middle of the beautiful fjord landscape of the Westfjords of Iceland. The municipality is even considered the largest in this western region of the island state, with only 7500 inhabitants in the entire area. Ísafjörður is located in the Skutulsfjörður fjord and is framed by steep mountains (Eyrarfjall and Kirkjuibolsfjall). The main source of income in this region is fishing, but tourism is also becoming more important. The Bird Island Vidur and the Dynjandi Waterfall.are particularly popular
The town in the Westfjords used to be one of the largest shrimp fishing sites in Iceland. Even today, the place is still considered an important point for the fishing industry. The oldest part lies on a tongue of sand, which has to be filled up every year in order not to sink into the sea. Nowadays, tourism is also an important source of income for the region. In total, only around 8,000 people live in the entire Westfjords.
The Westfjords are considered the coolest region of Iceland, with both winters and summers being mostly cool. The average temperature in summer rarely exceeds 10 degrees.
Sights in Isafjordur
Unfortunately there are no significant sights in the village. The highlight is a five-meter-tall yellow-red lighthouse from 1902. There are also many historical residential buildings in the village, which are now also used as shops or restaurants. One of the oldest buildings was built around 1788 and is currently used as a restaurant. Another highlight is the striking church with a beautiful image of seagulls above the altar. The old town and the innermost consists of 5 houses and is called Neðstikaupstaður, a settlement core from former trading posts.
The small town can be explored on foot. There are numerous old wooden houses, museums and even the oldest botanical garden in Iceland (a small park) to explore. Of course there are also a few shops and restaurants. The Old Bakery is particularly popular – you can find the one with the vintage car in front of the door.
Alternatively, there are also hiking routes that start in town and are between 5 and 14 kilometers long. These usually lead to the surrounding mountains and offer a beautiful view of the fjord.
Sights outside of Ísafjörður
The Westfjords in Iceland offer one thing: scenery. Because of this, you will see great waterfalls, beautiful mountains and scenic fjords there. Major attractions outside of Isafjordur include:
- Vidur Bird Island, small picturesque island with eider ducks, puffins and arctic terns in Ísafjarðardjúp Fjord
- Hornstandir Nature Reserve
- Dynjandi Waterfall, an almost 100 meter high waterfall, which is considered one of the most beautiful and impressive in Iceland
Hornstandir Nature Reserve
During the summer, there are weekly ferries to the uninhabited wilderness area of the nature reserve on the Hornstandir Peninsula. Here there is a spectacular view over the Westfjords and the regions. Note that 3-5 days should be planned for trekking there. The region is also very wind-prone and extremely cool. Also, there are no buildings, shops or markets there, so you have to take everything with you.
Vidur Bird Island
In the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord lies the small bird island of Vidur, which can be reached by speedboat in about 45 minutes. The island is a popular breeding ground for arctic terns, colorful puffins and eider ducks. Incidentally, the down from the crops is a popular Icelandic export item. The island is also home to the only surviving windmill in Iceland.
The most popular destination for many visitors to the Westfjords is the wide and imposing Dynjandi (“Thundering”) waterfall. At almost 100 meters, it is also considered one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. However, you still have to hike a bit from the parking lot to reach the waterfall.
Like Ísafjörður, the small village of Flateyri is situated on a sandbank. The few hundred inhabitants live here from fishing and some from tourism.
Cruise to Ísafjörður
In addition to the two destinations Akureyri and Reykjavik, Ísafjörður is also an integral part of many Iceland cruises. The region is special because of the Westfjord area. Around 50-70 ships dock in the small town between May and September each year. The port is centrally located and there are two piers directly across from each other. If larger ships or more than two ships come, it is also possible to anchor and the passengers have to tender.
Note that the city itself doesn’t have much to offer, so you’ll have to rely on a boat trip or private excursion. There are hardly any taxis in this region and the journey times are often long, so that the waiting times are correspondingly high. There are also not many rental cars. For this reason, a pre-booked excursion or boat excursion is recommended here.
The port is mostly used for excursions to the Dynjandi Waterfall, which, however, requires a longer journey. The entrance to the breathtaking fjord should also not be missed.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
It became known in Flight Simulator by Microsoft Ísafjörður Airport, which is available as a landing challenge. In addition, there is of course the Island Bush Trip, which leads around the island and explores the most important points, places and glaciers.