Skagafjörður is a fjord in North Iceland. Sauðárkrókur is its largest village. Skagafjörður district is an agricultural hub and has a rich history.
The best way to enjoy all that this area has to offer is on a self drive tour in Iceland.
There are three islands in the fjord, Drangey, Malmey and Lundey. Drangey island is the most impressive of these, steep-cliffed, shaped like a fort, and rich with birdlife. For 19 years it was the refuge for the outlaw Grettir Ásmundarsson of Grettis Saga fame.
Þórðarhöfði may resemble a traditional island when seen from afar but is actually a cape, the remnants of an old volcano. The cape has beautiful rows of columnar basalt, best seen from the sea.
Like many fjords of the north, Skagafjörður has a wealth of animals outside its birdlife. It also has resident seals, and whales and dolphins are often spotted from the shore.
An old renovated turf farm house is to be seen at Glaumbaer museum, giving a good sense of the rural life of 18th and 19th century Iceland.
North Iceland was a bishop’s district of its own and the bishop’s seat was at Hólar in Hjaltadalur valley in the east of Skagafjörður. Hólar today features an agricultural university, and is the seat for an ordaining bishop, who is a woman.
Skagafjörður district has some of the best rafting rivers in the country, so rafting there is highly popular, as well as horseback riding.
Five of the largest battles in Icelandic history were fought on Skagafjörður in the 13th century civil war. This war was fought between dominant family clans, who could not sort out their issues at the parliament at Þingvellir.
The war was greatly exacerbated by the King of Norway at the time. He sought to include Iceland in his kingdom, and sent many vassals to stir up the chieftains and bring many into his fold.
The civil war ended when he finally got his way, ending the Icelandic Commonwealth and beginning the first of nearly seven centuries of colonial rule.