Hnifsdalur (Hnífsdalur) and Bolungarvík

Hnifsdalur (Hnífsdalur) and Bolungarvík

North of Isafjordur the smaller towns of Hnifsdalur and Bolungarvik are worth a visit. Take Road 62, Djupvegur, which offers great views across to Snaefjallastrond with its snow-flecked mountains - snow never melts there completely during the summer months.

Hnifsdalur is a small village lying in the shadow of towering mountains. During the winter months, there is often a danger of avalanches, a major threat for many of the communities in the West Fjords. 

A recently constructed tunnel now avoids the avalanche risk by cutting through the very steep Oshlid mountain.

As you exit the tunnel there is an interesting ‘living’ museum at Osvor, a reconstructed fishermen’s hut with ‘fisherman’ in authentic garb. Notice the mittens with two thumbs. 

When one side wore out, they simply turned the mitten around and used the other thumb.

Bolungarvik village lies by a broad bay (the Icelandic word ‘vík’ meaning ‘bay’, is the same as the English ‘wick’ as in Lerwick). This prosperous fishing village boasts an extensive collection of stuffed birds in its Natural History Museum.

A perfect place to wind down and view the midnight sun is at Skalavik, an abandoned farming area on a small bay, now inhabited only during the summer months.  From Bolungarvik turn left on the gravel road 630, Skalavikurvegur, and drive for about 10km and you are there.

En route to Skalavik, you can drive up Mt Bolafjall for a panoramic view over the fjords – the road is only open in July and August. On flat-topped Bolafjall is a radar station left over from when the US Army had a base in Iceland – it’s now used by the Icelandic Coastguard. Walk to the edge, taking due care, as the view from the top has to be seen to be believed.