Iceland has many hidden gems when it comes to quaint little villages. Small towns with many historic buildings nestled in incredible scenery can make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a postcard. One of these picturesque little villages is Djupavik.
This little coastal town is in one of the most remote regions of the country, simply adding to the hidden gem feeling. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about Djuvakik, Iceland and why you can’t miss out on a chance to walk its streets and take in its breathtaking views.
The History of Djupavik
Djupavik’s origins read like a motivational speech that cheers you on to never give up. Djupavik essentially began when Elias Stefansson built a salting factory for herring there. Unfortunately for Elias, the factory went bankrupt just two years later. Despite new owners coming along to try and revive it, it was abandoned again in the 1920s.
In 1934, an entire new factory was built on the site of this old one, which ended up being the largest concrete building in Iceland back then. Unlike its predecessors, this factory was very successful and played a big part in the fishing industry for the next decade. But as the herring numbers declined, so did the need for the factory, and it had closed its doors yet again by 1954.
In the 1980s the old factory was turned into a local hotel called Hotel Djupavik in a final attempt to preserve the historic building. Today, the little town is a tourist attraction for those who enjoy taking the “road less traveled”, and many of the locals have their summer holiday houses there (in other words, there are not many permanent residents – just around 53 to be exact).
The Geography of Djupavik
Djupavik offers visitors views like only the Land of Fire and Ice can. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking, but it’s also in complete contrast. The town lies next to a fjord with views over the mountains and the beautiful Djupavikurfoss Waterfall. With everything from lush fields and steep mountains – this well-kept secret of a town has spectacular surroundings.
Attractions at Djupavik & Surroundings
You will find quite a few must-visit sites at Djupavik and its surroundings. These are a few that you can consider checking out whilst there:
As we already mentioned, one has a clear view of the waterfall from the town as the Djupavikura River tumbles over the cliffs to the Atlantic Ocean 160 meters below.
Raudisandur Red Sand Beach
Iceland is generally known for its black sand beaches, making Raudisandur with its red sand quite unique. This beach stretches out for roughly 10 kilometers, making it perfect for a nice long, leisurely stroll.
Dynjandi is another impressive waterfall, flowing down in layers that make it resemble a wedding cake. It is also known as the Fjallfoss and is the largest waterfall in the Westfjords, clocking in at 100 meters tall.
This may seem like just another gray stone lying on the ground, but this rock has one heck of a long journey under its belt. This big granite rock traveled with icebergs all the way from Greenland!
Reykjaneshyrna Mountain lies between Ingolfsfjördur and Nordurfjördur. The mountain itself makes a great photo opp with it situated next to the fjord, and if you decide to hike up the mountain you will be rewarded with breathtaking views over the bay.
Hvitserkur Rock Formation
With the clash between fire and ice for thousands and thousands of years, you will find plenty of incredible rock formations all across the island. One of these is the Hvitserkur Rock Formation, which is a 15-meter basalt column with three holes where it’s been eroded by the ocean.
The Black Church of Budir is a favorite spot amongst photographers. This quaint little wooden church is completely black and is situated in the middle of a wide-open field. It becomes quite a dramatic scene on overcast and cloudy days.
The Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery
The Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery is one of our most interesting museums here on the island. It is a celebration of Iceland’s magical past, and you will learn everything about some of the country’s weird and wonderful stories and see some of our most famous mystical items.
Things to do in and Around Djupavik
As a village mostly catering to local holiday crowds and tourists from abroad, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Djupavik and its surroundings. These are a few things you can consider adding to your trip itinerary while here in the area:
Whale Watching in Holmavik
If you go on a whale watching tour in Holmavik you are almost guaranteed to see one of the gentle giants floating around our coastline, but if you go on a tour during our official whale watching season (May to September), you’ll get the added bonus of spotting some of our migratory whale species as well.
Take on a Hornstrandir Hike
Hornstrandir is a beautiful nature reserve here in Iceland with a wide variety of hiking trails that will suit all ages and skill levels. Whether you just enjoy walking in beautiful settings or you want to go bird watching, or spotting an Arctic Fox - a Hornstrandir Hike is the way to go.
Take a Dip in the Drangsnes Hot Tubs
The island is full of natural hot springs due to all the volcanic activity heating our underground water supply. Some are still used in their natural settings whilst others are used for geothermal pools such as the Drangsnes Hot Tubs.
That’s right – you can go on a kayaking tour on the fjord in Djupavik. Go and explore, and check out the wildlife, all whilst taking a relaxing cruise across the water. This is definitely a favorite activity during the warm summer months in Iceland.
Hike the Svinafellsjökull Glacier
If you want to take your hiking up a notch, you can opt to hike the Svinafellsjökull Glacier. However crossing the icy surface can only be done via a guided tour due to safety concerns, so be sure to book your spot well in advance during our peak season.
You will find a variety of accommodation options at Djupavik to suit most people’s tastes and pockets. The most popular option if you want to truly immerse yourself in this historic town is, of course, Hotel Djupavik. You can also opt for Urdartindur Guesthouse and Cottages for a more affordable, yet comfortable stay. For the most budget-friendly stay, you can contact the Hotel for their camping options.
Getting To Djupavik and Getting Around
Djupavik can be found on the southern shores of the Reykjarfjördur Fjord in the Arneshreppur Municipality (the least populated part of the Westfjords).
And as it’s situated in one of the most remote parts of the country, you basically have two ways of reaching Djupavik:
This is the best option in our opinion, especially since Djupavik is located conveniently close to the Ring Road, making the village a perfect stop along a Ring Road road trip. Just keep in mind that as a remote region road conditions can get a bit rough once you’re off the main road, so you will need to get yourself a 4x4 vehicle to drive around the Westfjords (especially if you’re planning on taking on the F-roads in Iceland).
Tips for Planning a Trip to Djupavik
If this is your first visit to the village, the following tips and advice will prove to be very helpful:
- Always keep a close eye on the Icelandic weather forecast and the Iceland road conditions, especially during the colder months of the year as harsh weather conditions and sudden road closures might require a bit of itinerary amendments.
- Always dress in layers. The local saying “You can experience all four seasons in a day here in Iceland” doesn’t exist for no reason, and by wearing layers you’ll always have something to put on or take off as required.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must irrespective of season. Many underestimate the reflection of UV rays off the water, snow, or ice even when overcast. And the temperature is not a good measuring stick as to the strength of the sun.
- Djupavik is in one of the most remote parts of the island and mainly caters to tourists and holiday crowds. So, if you’re on a tight budget, rather get provisions from one of the bigger cities nearby to avoid any exorbitant prices. If you want to avoid peak season prices altogether, we recommend that you plan your trip for one of the shoulder months in the fall or spring.
Djupavik in Iceland; A Village Worth Visiting
For such a small little town, you will find plenty to do, and you are guaranteed a jam-packed itinerary in the area. So, if you are planning on renting a car in Reykjavík and making Djupavik a stop along your Ring Road road trip, we recommend that you stay over for at least a day or two to properly indulge in everything the region has to offer.
But whatever you do; do not pass this picturesque village by, it’s well worth the visit!