Exploring Ísafjörður, Iceland: Top Things to Do

Top 5 Things To Do In Ísafjörður

Ísafjörður is a small town located in a sandsplit in a fjord in Westfjords. The most famous fjord is called Ísafjarðardjúp, it is known for the adventure activities. You can do very fun things because of its hight and wildness. Ísafjörður is a very fun place. This comprehensive guide will help you explore the best things to do in Ísafjörður, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

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Top 5 Things To Do In Ísafjörður

Whale Watching Adventures

One of the top things to do in Isafjordur, Iceland is whale watching. Ísafjarðardjúp Bay is a prime location for spotting various whale species, including minke, sperm, humpback, and even the occasional blue or fin whale. Opt for a RIB boat tour to maximize your chances of close encounters with these majestic creatures. Remember to dress warmly, as even in summer, Iceland can be quite chilly.

Ísafjörður Maritime Museum

If you would like to do something else besides doing outdoor activities or if the weather does not help, visiting the “Maritime Museum” is a good option. I wanted to do differents things in this área, that is why I decided to inform myself about fishing life in the 19th century. The location was great, we when walking, it was situated right next to the harbour.

It was very entertaining, we watched a very nice and fascinating movie about the local fishing industry, I do not imagine living without all the technology that makes life so easy today.

We got to try fermented shark, it was my first time, it tasted a little bit salty and the smell was funny but I liked it. I think people should always try the gastronomy of the country you are visiting and Icelandic food. The collection of accordions collected by local man and the diving equipment were very impressive! I highly recommend it.

Ísafjörður Maritime Museum

Discover Isafjordur’s Rich History at Culture House

The Culture House in downtown Isafjordur is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Located in a former hospital built in 1925, this four-story building now houses a library, the Isafjordur Archives, the Photography Museum, and the Art Museum. Exhibitions here provide insight into the town’s fascinating past and its evolution from a trading post to a bustling fishing port.

Downtown Isafjordur

Natural History Museum

If you have children it is a very nice option, I went by my own because I had enough out door activities, also the day was a bit cold. This museum is located in Bolungarvik, like 15 minutes from Ísafjörður. Here you can overview all types of birds and mammals of this región, and a wonderful stone collection. What really impressed me was a real dried polar bear. You can tell the museum it is very local, the English description was a bit poor, but sometimes, I prefer it that way, that makes me feel a bit less tourist!

Museums In Isafjordur

Visit the Vigur Island

We got a boat ride which took us only half an hour to get there., the views of the fjord was beautiful. Once I got there, we saw puffins, eider ducks, guillemots… In Vigur Island you can see the only windmill in the country, it is not big, and they still use it.

Another curious thing is, that you can visit the smallest post office of Europe, so it is a very original way of sending a post card to your family and friends.


Birdwatching on Vigur Island

Just a short boat ride from Isafjordur harbor lies Vigur Island, a haven for birdwatchers. Known as Puffin Island, it hosts around 100,000 puffins during spring and summer. The island also boasts a significant population of eider ducks, razorbills, and Arctic terns. A guided tour of Vigur Island includes a visit to Iceland’s only windmill and a quaint post office, ending with a taste of the local delicacy, hjónabandssæla, a delicious jam-filled oatmeal cake.

Birdwatching On Vigur Island

Unique Museums in Isafjordur

Isafjordur is home to several unique museums that offer a quirky glimpse into Icelandic culture:

  • The Museum of Everyday Life: This museum explores the mundane aspects of daily life in the Westfjords through installations and local stories.
  • The Nonsense Museum: A celebration of collecting oddities, this museum showcases a variety of unusual items, including police caps, teaspoons, and wartime tobacco packets.

Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík

A short drive from Isafjordur, the Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík offers an in-depth look at Iceland’s only native land mammal. Learn about the biology, history, and conservation efforts surrounding the Arctic fox. The center also features beautiful wildlife photography and exhibits on fox hunting and farming.

Arctic Fox Centre In Súðavík

Sample Local Brews at Dokkan Brugghús Brewery

Founded in 2017, Dokkan Brugghús is Isafjordur’s first brewery. Located by the marina, this family-run microbrewery uses natural spring water from the Westfjords’ mountains. Visitors can sample a variety of local ales, including IPAs and stouts, paired with a menu of pub classics like fish and chips.

Dokkan Brugghús Brewery

Visit the Scenic Bunárfoss Waterfall

A short hike from Isafjordur leads to Bunárfoss, a stunning horsetail-shaped waterfall. The trail offers spectacular views of the Tungudalur valley and the surrounding mountains. Nearby, the Westfjords Tunnel, Iceland’s longest underpass, provides a fascinating glimpse into the region’s engineering feats.

Bunárfoss Waterfall

Hike to the Troll Seat (Naustahvilft)

The Troll Seat, or Naustahvilft, is a unique rock formation resembling a giant’s chair. The easy, flat hike from Isafjordur offers incredible views of the surrounding fjords and mountains. Pack warm clothes, comfortable footwear, and snacks for this memorable adventure.

Kayaking in the Fjords

Kayaking in Isafjordur is a fantastic way to explore the calm waters and rugged coastline. Paddle beneath towering mountains, keeping an eye out for seals, Arctic terns, and eider ducks. Extended routes offer opportunities to spot dolphins, whales, and nesting puffins along the scenic fjord shores.

Kayaking In The Fjords

Explore the Westfjord Museum

Located next to the Isafjordur Tourist Information Center, the Westfjord Museum delves into the region’s maritime history. Housed in one of Iceland’s oldest buildings, the museum features exhibits on the fishing industry, model boats, marine equipment, and a saltfish pantry.

Marvel at Dynjandi Waterfall

A 45-minute drive from Isafjordur, Dynjandi Waterfall is one of Iceland’s most impressive natural wonders. The 330-foot cascade fans out dramatically as it descends into Arnarfjordur. Visitors can hike alongside smaller falls at the base of Dynjandi, experiencing one of Iceland’s best nature trails.

Dynjandi Waterfall

Hiking in Seljalandsdalur Valley

Behind Isafjordur, the Seljalandsdalur Valley is a vibrant hiking destination, especially in spring and summer when wildflowers bloom. The valley, dominated by Mount Göltur, offers trails that lead to Viking ruins and off-the-grid farms, providing a glimpse into the traditional mountain life.

Visit the Charming Village of Thingeyri

Thingeyri, a quaint village south of Isafjordur, offers a peaceful retreat with its historical sites and local crafts. Visit the remains of a Viking parliament, explore the local gallery, and enjoy waffles at Simbahöllin, a cozy café in a historic timber house.

Boat Trip to Hesteyri

The abandoned village of Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a fascinating destination for a day trip. Accessible by boat from Isafjordur, Hesteyri offers a glimpse into Iceland’s past with its former whaling station and herring factory. The area is also a great spot for birdwatching and hiking in the pristine wilderness.

Culture Walking

It is nice to know about the aerea, having a nice walking tour and being informed of the history, buildings, the harbor, fjords and their style of life. Also, this way you get to see really nice and yummy bakerys, personally I tried the best pastry here in a place called “Gamla Bakaríid”, I highly recommend it.

Gamla Bakaríid

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you walk around Isafjordur in Iceland?

Yes, Isafjordur is a walkable town with many attractions close to each other, making it easy to explore on foot.

What to buy in Isafjordur, Iceland?

Popular souvenirs include local handicrafts, handmade chocolates from Sætt & Salt, and unique items from the local museums.

How far is Isafjordur from the Arctic Circle?

Isafjordur is approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of the Arctic Circle.

What is Isafjordur known for?

Isafjordur is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich maritime history, and diverse wildlife, including whales and puffins.

Explore more of Iceland and Reykjavik’s culture by checking out the best car rental in Iceland for your journey. For more travel guides and tips, visit I am Reykjavik.

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