Neskaupstadur (Neskaupstaður) Town

Neskaupstadur (Neskaupstaður) Town

Neskaupstadur, a community of 1500 inhabitants, began to develop in the late 19th century, its port servicing a growing fishing industry. The fledgling town had no road access as the ring of high mountains circling Nordfjordur fjord presented a formidable obstacle.  

In 1949, a track was hewn over the rugged Oddskard pass, but the route was often closed in winter by snow so a tunnel was dug through the mountain in 1977.  

With doors at either end, the 630m long single-track tunnel was an early milestone in the development of Iceland's road network. However, the approach road was often closed by snow in winter as the tunnel was sited at over 600m above sea level. 

In 2017, a new 7km long tunnel will connect Neskaupstadur and neighboring Eskifjordur ending the town's long isolation. 

The views across the town and fjord are best enjoyed by climbing to the avalanche protection walls above the town. Following a tragic avalanche on 20th December 1974, this protective barrier was built to control any future avalanches.

Beyond the lighthouse at the east end of the town is a small nature reserve. The lower path leads to Paskahellir Cave which has been naturally carved out by sea erosion. The cave is easily accessed by stairs and is worth a visit for its beautiful rock formations and the curious holes in the cave walls left by the trees engulfed by a lava flow 12 million years ago.

In the town itself, you'll find cafes, shops, and a swimming pool. The Culture House, Safnahusid, contains the Natural History Museum, Maritime Museum and an art collection by one of Iceland´s best-known artists, Tryggvi Olafsson. 

Numerous hiking trails criss-cross the uninhabited fjords and mountains south of Neskaupstadur.