Ólafsfjörður is a town in North Iceland with a population of approximately 785 people.
The town is located in a fjord of the same name. Together with the town of Siglufjörður, Ólafsfjörður forms the larger municipality of Fjallabyggð.
Photo by Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Michal Gorski. No edits made.
The best way to visit this area is on a relaxed self drive tour. One of the best options for doing so is this 7-day Arctic Coast Way self drive, available in the summer months.
History of Olafsfjordur
Ólafsfjörður started to form at the end of the 19th Century, before growing around its harbour during the golden days of bountiful herring fishing in the area in the 1940s and 1950s. The abundance of herring in the waters caused the town to have an enormous boom in both its economy and population, and defined it for many years. Many of the local older people reminisce about these days very fondly.
Today, the herring is gone, but fishing still makes up the town's main industry, along with services related to tourism. To learn more about the herring that once made up the town's lifeblood and defined the whole region, as well as the technology used to catch and process it, there is an award-winning museum in Siglufjörður where you can learn about this.
Ólafsfjörður is connected to the rest of the region via two tunnels, built in 1991 and 2010.
Activities in Olafsfjordur
The town boasts numerous sporting groups, and the population is particularly dedicated to golfing, horse riding, skiing, and snowmobiling. Skiers can make their way to Tindaöxl, where there is a lift that can take you up the slopes of the mountain above the town.
As with almost all towns in Iceland, there is also a geothermal swimming pool that is open all year within Ólafsfjörður.
Ólafsfjörður is not far from several other major sites of north Iceland. To its east is the Vatnsnes Peninsula, most famous for large seal population and its unique and bizarre geological monolith of Hvítserkur. To the west, one can find Akureyri, the capital of the north, and the many incredible sites of the popular Diamond Circle sightseeing route.
These sites include the magnificent Lake Mývatn Area; the most powerful waterfall in Iceland, Dettifoss; and the geothermal vents in the barren hot spring area of the Namafjall mountain pass.