Isafjordur (Ísafjörður) Town

Isafjordur (Ísafjörður) Town

Sited on a narrow spit of land at the foot of steep-sided Mt Eyrarfjall, the largest town in the West Fjords has a population of 2,500. As Icelandic towns go, it is one of the nicest, both for its spectacular location and for the efforts the locals have made to make it a vibrant if modest cultural outpost.  

In Nedstikaupstadur, the most picturesque part of the town, you’ll find a cluster of some of the oldest timber houses in Iceland. Built between 1734 and 1790, they now belong to the local Maritime Museum. 

There is also a museum dedicated to the accordion (with up to 200 instruments in its collection), and a restaurant and theatre. Austurvollur was one of the first public gardens to be formally designed by a landscape architect (1954-1955). Another garden is Jonsgardur, established in 1922, the oldest park in town.

At Vidivellir, just below the Healthcare Centre, is a path that extends through an area of wild Icelandic plants. In front of the old hospital, you’ll find a sculpture dedicated to the memory of lost seamen. 

The original hospital building is now the town library and a museum and is well worth a visit. In the older part of town, take a walk among the historic timber houses, which are well maintained and painted in bright colors. Interesting shops line the main street, as well as restaurants, cafes, pubs and an old but very popular bakery.

During the summer months, salt fish can be seen around town laid out or hung up to dry in the sun, as has been the traditional way for hundreds of years. 

A nice place to enjoy a picnic or a walk in the Tunguskogur forest, on the outskirts of town. It has a river and a small waterfall. If you get a clear, calm day, jump on a boat trip from Isafjordur, to the peaceful island of Vigur in Isafjardardjup or further afield to the remote Hornstrandir Peninsula. If you fancy something more active, bike hire and kayak trips are also on offer.