Information about Ísafjörður

Picture by 'Bjarki Sigursveinsson' - Wikimedia Creative Commons

Ísafjörður is a town in the northwest of Iceland and the largest settlement of the Westfjords of Iceland. It is considered the capital of the region, and is the centre of trade, commerce, fishing and tourism.

Ísafjörður is located on a spit within the fjord Skutulsfjörður, which is part of the larger fjord Ísafjarðardjúp. The settlement is one of the few large enough in the Icelandic Westfjords to be considered a town, with a population of around 2,600 people.

History of Ísafjörður

According to Iceland’s Book of Settlement, the fjord Skutulsfjörður was first settled in the 9th century by a man called Helgi Magri Hrólfsson. Around the 16th century, Ísafjörður grew rapidly due to it becoming a merchant trading post. The town was granted municipal status in 1786.

The oldest house still standing in Iceland, built in 1734, is located in Ísafjörður as part of the local folk museum. The area also includes the most extensive body of old timber frame houses in the country, constructed in the 18th century by foreign traders. One of these is Tjöruhús, now a seafood restaurant, and another Turnhús, now a maritime museum.

Throughout its history, Ísafjörður has been one of the largest fisheries in Iceland. Several factors— a fishing restriction in the 1980s, drops in the fish population and monopolisation from bigger fisheries in Reykjavík—have led to a sizeable decline in the town’s population.

In recent years, the tourism industry has yet again created local jobs and economic prosperity for the town. The town now has many hotels and hostels, restaurants and cafes, and tour operators offering trips out into the Westfjords.

Nature of Ísafjörður

The fjord outside Ísafjörður.

The climate of the Westfjords and Ísafjörður is tundra, bordering closely on subarctic, meaning the winters are cold and the summers cool. Due to Ísafjörður being located in a fjord surrounded by steep mountains, during the peak of the winter solstice, the rays of the sun don’t reach the town for weeks on end.

The Westfjords have a wealth of birdlife, and Ísafjörður is no exception; many species can be seen on several hikes out of the town. When on such trails, keep an eye on the landscapes to spot Arctic Foxes, on the coast to see seals, or the ocean to spot a whale.

Ísafjörður is the most convenient place in the Westfjords from where to visit the region’s incredible natural sites. These include Látrabjarg, birdwatching cliffs perfect for getting up close and personal with puffins; Dynjandi, a series of waterfalls that look to be plucked from fantasy; Hornstrandir, a Nature Reserve with spectacular views; Rauðasandur, a red- and gold-sand beach; and Drangajökull, the only glacier in the country that is expanding rather than shrinking.

Events and Happenings in Ísafjörður

Ísafjörður, despite its isolation and small population, boasts a proportionately urban atmosphere. The town hosts a multitude of events and festivals attended by people from all over Iceland, such as the Ski Week Festival, the Act Alone theatre festival, the European Championship of Swamp Soccer and alternative music festival Aldrei fór ég suður.

 

Services near Ísafjörður

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Ísafjörður

Þjófatindar

Thjofatindar are mountain peaks near the valleys Seljalandsdalur and Hnifsdalur in the Westfjords. The hike over the mountain pass is an easy one and...

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Seljalandsdalur

  Seljalandsdalur is a valley to the west of Isafjordur in the Westfjords. The valley is ideal for taking a nice walk among stunning landscape a...

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Hnífsdalur

  Hnifsdalur is  a small village of around 250 people in a valley of the same name and is positioned between Bolungarvik and Isafjordur. ...

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Syðridalur

Sydridalur is a rather broad valley in the Westfjords close to the inlet of Bolungarvik, wherefrom that village derives its name (vik=creek). The mou...

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Súðavík

Súðavík is a fishing village and municipality in the Westfjords of Iceland, positioned just off the west coast of Álftafj&oum...

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Bolungarvík

Bolungarvík is the second-largest town in the Westfjords, as well as being its second-largest municipality, with around 950 people. The town ho...

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Ísafjarðardjúp

Ísafjarðardjúp is a large fjord in the Westfjords. It means ‘Icefjord’s Deep’. Ísafjörður &Iac...

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Hestfjörður

Hestfjörður (translated to “Horse Fjord”) is a fjord in Westfjords, near Vatnsdalur valley, Bolaskógur forest and Hat...

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Flateyri

Flateyri is the largest settlement in the 2km deep fjord, Önundarfjörður, in the Westfjords, Iceland. It's populations is still...

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Vigur

Vigur Island, half an hour’s boat ride from Ísafjörður in the Westfjords, is famous for its enormous colony of birdlife. Species...

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Litlibær

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Christian Bickel Litlibær is a historical turf farmstead in northwest Iceland, by Ísafjör...

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Þingeyri

Þingeyri is a village in the Westfjords of Iceland, found coastally on the Dýrafjörður fjord. Þingeyri has a populati...

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Dýrafjörður

  Dyrafjordur is one of the fjords comprising the Westfjords and is situated between the fjords Arnarfjordur and Onundarfjordur. Dyrafjordur b...

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Hornstrandir

Hornstrandir is a nature reserve located in the Westfjords, in the north-west of Iceland. The total area covers 580 square kilometres (220 square mi...

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Hrafnseyri

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by TommyBee Hrafnseyri is an old town in the Westfjords that dates back to the Settlement Era and has link...

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Dynjandi

Dynjandi (meaning ‘Thunderous’) is a series of waterfalls in the Westfjords and the largest of its kind in the region. Dynjandi is parti...

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Kirkjubólsdalur

Kirkjubolsdalur is a valley in the Westfjords. The river Kirkjubolsa runs through the valley. The valley  is a good hiking or biking trail, as i...

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Arnarfjörður

Arnarfjordur is the second-largest fjord of the Wesfjords and is known as one of the most beautiful of the fjords, due to its diverse landscape, majes...

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Öskjuvatn

  Oskjuvatn is a large crater lake in the Askja caldera in the Dyngjufjoll mountains, north of Vatnajokull glacier. Oskjuvatn is Iceland's s...

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Drangajökull

  Drangajokull is Iceland's northernmost glacier. It lies above the Hornstrandir peninsula in the Western Fjords. The glacier covers 160-20...

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Tours near Ísafjörður

14 Day Self Drive Tour | Circle of Iceland & The Westfjords

Book this two-week tour of Iceland’s Ring Road and the Westfjords and experience the very the......

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Hornstrandir Nature Reserve | Day Tour in the Westfjords

Visit the most remote, untouched part of Iceland with this day tour to the Hornstrandir Nature......

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13 Day Self Drive Tour | Ring Road with Snaefellsnes & Westfjords

Jump behind the wheel for this 13-day, self-drive tour around Iceland! You will get to see......

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Kayaking in the Westfjords

Witness the spectacular Westfjords from the sea, with this kayaking tour from Ísafjörður. This......

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15 Day Summer Hot Spring Hunt Self Drive | Iceland in-Depth

Immerse yourself in the Icelandic nature as you travel the Ring Road, circling the entire......

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Isafjordur Mountain View

Explore the spectacular mountains of the Westfjords on this scenic Super Jeep tour. See the......

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Summer 8 Day Self Drive Tour | Westfjords & Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Drive Iceland's most remote and rural areas on this incredible eight-day tour. You'll see a......

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10 Day Summer Self-Drive | Off-the-Beaten-Path in Snaefellsnes, Westfjords & Flatey Island

Travel into the undisturbed nature and visit lonely fjords, turf houses, hot springs, remote......

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2 Days in the Westfjords | Hornstrandir and Hornvik

Explore Hornvík and Hornstrandir, untouched parts of the Westfjords, on this immersive two-day......

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13 Day Self Drive Tour on Budget | Circle of Iceland & Westfjords

Be the master of your time and your wallet on this 13-Day Budget Self-Drive Tour around the Ring......

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Svalvogar Circle | Westfjords Sightseeing Tour

Get to know the backcountry roads of the Icelandic Westfjords on this sightseeing circle route......

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Westfjords Kayaking Day Tour | Two Fjord Adventure

Explore two incredible fjords of the Westfjords with a kayaking tour from Ísafjörður. This trip......

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14 Day Budget Self Drive Tour | Iceland's Ring Road & the Westfjords

See the whole of Iceland and visit the Westfjords with this affordable two-week package. You’ll......

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3 Days in the Westfjords | Arctic Foxes & Midnight Sun

Spend three days in the remote nature of the Westfjords. This tour is perfect for those who love......

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Westfjord Ring Road: Snaefellsnes: Borgarfjordur

Don't miss out on this multi-day opportunity to experience the Westfjords in all their glory......

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Valley to Valley | Hike Through the Westfjords

Explore the mountains, valleys and ocean views of the Westfjords with this hike from Ísafjörður.......

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Paddle in the Wild of Hornstrandir | 6-Day Kayak Tour

Explore the remote and beautiful Westfjords and Hornstrandir Nature Reserve from a kayak. This......

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Drangajokull Glacier Adventure

Explore the northernmost Icelandic glacier, Drangajökull, on this exciting adventure tour. Hike......

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Six-Day Skiing Tour in the Westfjords | Kviar Ski Lodge

Go to the most remote area in Iceland, for the most epic ski trip imaginable. For six days in......

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Westfjords Wildlife Photography Adventure

Get to know the animals of Iceland on this wildlife photography excursion in the Westfjords. Any......

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Peaks of Thieves | Skiing Day Tour in the Westfjords

Join this brilliant day tour skiing and exploring the gorgeous mountain slopes of the Westfjords......

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