Isafjörður in Iceland: A Breathtaking Fjord Gem

Isafjörður in Iceland

blog author By Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

Isafjörður is a picturesque little town nestled in the bay of a beautiful fjord. Visiting Isafjörður in Iceland immediately means being treated to an incredible location with breathtaking views. It’s also one of Iceland’s most historic towns, with the town mentioned in writing that dates back all the way to the 9th century.

But whether you want to experience living history or just take a few snapshots of this amazing place, you’ll also find that for such a small town, it packs a big punch and you’ll find plenty of interesting things to see and do here, keeping you busy for days.

If you want to know what to expect from a visit to this town and what you should add to your trip itinerary, read on – we reveal everything there is to know about Isafjörður in Iceland.

Isafjörður Iceland

Why Visit Isafjörður?

Some may counter this question with a “why not?!” when considering the jaw-dropping beauty of the town and its surroundings. According to the Book of Settlements, Isafjörður first came to be in the 9th century, but it grew in popularity during the 16th century as the natural harbor proved the perfect spot for trading, and the fishing industry was booming.

In 1786, Isafjörður became an official municipal town. But as with most places, things have changed, and as the fishing industry started slowing down, more and more permanent residents left.

Today, the town’s economy mostly relies on tourism, and with it being in such a picturesque setting with its characteristic colorful houses and the town still boasting houses dating back to the 18th century, there are more than enough people who would like to come and experience the town and its culture. It should also come as no surprise that you can find some of the best seafood in Isafjörður.

Isafjörður things to do

Where is Isafjörður, Iceland?

Isafjörður can be found in the more remote region of Iceland, the Westfjords. Here, it is nestled against the Isafjardjardjup Bay next to the fjord. Although a small town with just 2600 permanent residents, Isafjörður is the biggest settlement in the region, earning it the title of the capital city of the Westfjords.

How to Get to Isafjörður in Iceland

There are a few ways to visit Isafjörður:

Take a Flight

This is a good option if you have very limited time on the island. Catch a flight from Reykjavik Airport (not to be confused with Keflavik Airport) to Isafjörður Airport. The flight will take about 40 minutes. From there, it’s only a short drive to the town itself, and you can decide whether you opt for a bus or a rental car.

How to get to Isafjordur

Book a Tour

Some local tour operators and guides offer Isafjörður as a destination on their tours. Whether it’s one of their dedicated, single destination tours, multi-stop tours, Isafjörður day tours, or part of a multi-day holiday package will depend on the operator and guide. Alternatively, you’ll always be able to arrange a customized private tour.

Drive Yourself

This is the best way to explore the island. Being the one at the helm of the ship or, in this case, the wheel of the car puts you in complete control of your time and itinerary, and allows you to truly immerse yourself in the Icelandic landscape.  

There are a few different routes to take to Isafjörður in Iceland, but we suggest adding it as a stop along a Ring Road road trip. To do so, you just need to get onto the Ring Road and start driving north before you take Route 60 towards the Westfjords.

car rental Iceland

When is the Best Time to Visit Isafjörður in Iceland?

With Isafjörður sitting in the Westfjords, reaching the town can become challenging during the colder months of the year. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the cold hits this region harder than the rest of the island. This means that you will not only need to deal with icy, snowy, and windy road conditions but also sudden road closures.

Secondly, as a pretty remote region, many of the roads are still unpaved. Many of the unpaved roads to explore the Westfjords are also 4x4 routes called the F-roads, which are closed annually throughout the colder months of the year. Therefore, we would suggest planning your trip to Isafjörður between the months of April to October.

Isafjörður in Iceland

Things to Do in Isafjörður in Iceland

If you’re wondering what to do in Isafjörður in Iceland, we’ve got you covered. The following are a few things you can look forward to:

  • Kayak the fjord.

  • Go on a whale watching boat tour, you will have especially impressive sightings during our whale season from April to September.

  • Visit Culture House for historic architecture and some art.

  • Check out the interesting museums such as the Museum of Everyday Life.

  • Visit the Arctic Fox Centre if you’re a lover of wildlife.

  • Hike to the “Troll Seat” (trail starts in Isafjörður).

Visit Isafjörður

Isafjörður Restaurants

With so much to do and see, you’ll need to replenish your energy. Visit one of the many local eateries for some delicious dishes and local drinks:

How to Get to Isafjörður in Iceland

Isafjordur Excursions; Other Things to Do and See Nearby

If you want to expand your exploration of the surrounding area, add these must-visit sites to your trip itinerary:

  • Dynjandi Waterfall

  • Latrabjarg Cliffs (especially popular among avid birdwatchers and where you can find the Iceland Puffins during their breeding season)

  • Raudisandur Red Sand Beach

  • Bunarfoss Waterfall

  • Seljalandsdalur Valley (popular among hikers)

Puffins Iceland

Isafjörður in Iceland:  Start Your Adventure!

The start of an adventure in Iceland begins with planning. Now that you have all the ins and outs of this interesting town and its surroundings, and how conveniently it’s located next to the popular Ring Road route, you can start planning your Ring Road road trip with Isafjörður as a stop along the way. Rent a car in Reykjavik upon arrival, hit the road, and start making memories to last a lifetime! 

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