Norðurfjörður – A Hidden Gem in the Westfjords

Arnar

Arnar

A co-founder of Local Adventures and guide, Arnar has a degree in physical education and is certified glacier guide. Along with his education he has worked in tourism for 20 years.

Norðurfjörður

Imagine you have been single for years and you think you will never meet someone you fall in love with again. But suddenly you meet someone, you meet once, and again and…

Do you know that feeling you get?

I got that feeling when I visited Norðurfjörður in the Westfjords for the first time. It was difficult saying goodbye to it. Perhaps it was extra special because there were hardly any tourists. Or because of the nights that didn’t get dark. Perhaps partly because of its history, a huge industry was once located in this nearly abandoned place.

Holmavik

I am on my way to Hólmavik, a small village about 4 hours’ drive from Reykjavik. While concluding some business appointments in the capital, an old Icelandic lady gave me a tip to visit the Norðurfjörður.

I had been to the beautiful West Fjords, but this would be my first visit to the easternmost fjord. The weather was exceptionally good this June when I parked at the gas station. In addition to fuel, I also wanted to know how far it was to drive to the first village of Djúpavik. Well, that was still a few hours’ drive, they said. But the gravel road was perfectly manageable for the 2-wheel drive car that I had with me at the time.

So after an Icelandic pylsur, the famous hot dog, I was on my way.

The road to Djúpavik

Oh, what fun I had on this road that runs along the coast. The sea was blue, a driftwood was on shore and I met no one along the way. I already knew this would take me longer with all the stops I was making. The road winds upwards, the views are indescribable. When I cross the highest pass and take the last bend in the road, there is a small village in the distance. An old abandoned herring factory from a bygone era. A half-rusted ship lies next to it. From the only hotel in the village, Hotel Djupavik, you have a sea view, and also a beautiful view of the impressive waterfall. WOW!

Magnus, the owner of the hotel, welcomed me with a delicious cold local beer. While he tells me about the beautiful surroundings, outside in the sun on a bench, Sóley the dog decides that it would be nice to sit next to me. Magnus tells me stories of the herring factory. He has already invested lots of money to preserve a piece of history. He organizes tours of the factory, where the famous Icelandic band Sigur Ros recently performed.

I wanted to camp, but because the campsite is located at the end of the fjord, which is still a long drive, I decided to spend the night here. And I didn’t regret it. Delicious local dishes were served in the hotel restaurant. It was after midnight that I decided to go for a walk. After all, it was light all night long.

Then, still beardless, I made a short video while sitting on a large stone by the water. I can remember exactly how I felt at that time to this day. At that moment I was briefly the happiest person on earth. Or at least in Djúpavik. By the way, you regularly spot seals and humpback whales here!

The herring factory

Construction of the factory started in the 1930s. The heyday lasted the following years. The factory was permanently closed in 1954. I’m not going to bother you with details of history, but if you want to know more you can read it on the hotel’s website. If you take a tour here you will visit the special places of this factory. It is more than worth it and you also support the preservation of this piece of history!

On to the end of the road

This morning was foggy and today I wanted to drive to the northernmost spot of this fjord. Wherever the road ends. Magnus told me the fog would disappear and the sun would break through. And that was true, but the fog still produced surreal pictures!

When I write a blog like this I always feel as being there again. Do you remember how I started, about being in love? So this is what I mean, haha. Falling in love with a place, it’s possible!

The town of Norðurfjörður is just about the end of the road.

A nice spot, small village with a central point where you will find the nice eatery/coffee house Kaffi Norðurfjörður. In this beautiful little harbor, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, like in so many places in Iceland. But the real treat can be found a few kilometers further north: Krossneslaug. This is a swimming pool with a sea view fed by mountain water and heated by geothermal heat. A beautiful place to float for a while. Two years ago I was here at night, with the northern lights. In the warm water with a cold drink on the edge…

Wherever you go in Iceland, you may find some inspiration!

If you go to Djúpavik: take the tour, eat in the restaurant at Magnus, and respect nature.

If you want to go to Iceland this year, take a look at our fun and beautiful trips, for example, 13 full days around in August. There is still space!

Adventurous greetings!

Midnight sun in Djúpavik Bay

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