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


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



  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...



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



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...



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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...



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...



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



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...



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...



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



Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo by AgainErick Drangajökull is Iceland’s northernmost and lowest lying glacier. Geography of Drangaj&ou...


Tours near Ísafjörður

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