Grundarfjordur (Grundarfjörður)

Grundarfjordur (Grundarfjörður)

Grundarfjordur is a working fishing town that makes a little pretense at being more. 

Those in the know flock here for the puffin trips in summer and in winter for the aurora borealis and the chance of seeing orcas and white-beaked dolphins. Year round there is good bird watching to be had in this and neighboring fjords.

Whatever time of your you come, Grundarfjordur’s pyramid-shaped Mt Kirkjufell (463m) is the big draw and a contender for the title of Iceland’s most striking mountain. 

Some say from certain angles it resembles the sorting hat of Harry Potter fame. At the foot of the mountain, south of the road, you’ll find the delightful Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, a photogenic foreground.

By the modern village church is a sculpture created to the memory of all fishermen lost at sea. 

With several processing plants, there is always something going on in this busy fishing port. In summer a Viking 'village' is recreated for cruise ship passengers. 

The friendly Laki Cafe by the harbor serves delicious homebaked cakes, panini and crepes and a soup of the day. Happy Hour is 17:00-19:00 with reasonably priced drinks.

59 Bistro bar on the main road through the town offers a menu of the day plus soup, salads and fast food options including burgers.

For a splash-out, head for Bjargasteinn Mathus, a cozy fjordside eatery with a great menu and great view. 

Laki Tours run boat trips to look for whales, dolphins, and seabirds including puffins. 

In winter bird watching in the area is especially rewarding with a surprising variety of species including gyrfalcon, white-tailed eagle, harlequin duck, common eider, king eider, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, oystercatcher, purple sandpiper, snow bunting, redwing, northern gannet, razorbill, common guillemot, black guillemot, little auk, Iceland Gull and glaucous gull.

Just east of the village, the river Kverna tumbles over a cliff edge forming Grundarfoss falls – there’s a path to the falls. In the distance, the snowy ridge of Helgrindur (Hell’s Rim) looms over the town.

Further east you’ll find scenic Kolgrafarfjordur where white-tailed sea eagles can be seen in flight or perched above the shoreline. Sometimes herring have come into the fjord in winter and orcas and seals can be spotted from the shore. In previous years, they have been noted swimming under the bridge over the fjord.