Amazing Iceland - 2020/3!
Updated: Nov 15
On this year’s northern Iceland road trip I felt truly lucky to be travelling with my brother Rafn and sister-in-law, Anna Juliana. It wasn’t only fun and stress-free but they also gave much added-value to the trip with their entertaining, informative and quirky stories about the locals and their distinctive folklore . . . including characters such as trolls, elves, ghosts and fairies that have been an integral part of many of our country’s mystical destinations and famed natural formations. . . like Drangey in the photo below!
On our third and last day of our Northern Iceland road trip we had planned to visit Húsavík, the largest town in Northeast Iceland known to tourists for its rich wildlife and whale watching tours as well as the ever increasingly popular GeoSea geothermal baths.
However, as we were a bit pressed for time we decided to drive directly to Siglufjörður, Iceland’s northernmost town with a short detour and stop in Hjalteyri, before heading back to Reykjavik with stops to see a couple of friends at local farms close to Sauðakrókur.
I had never been to Hjalteyri on the western shores of Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord at the edge of the Arctic Circle, so I was thrilled to get a chance to admire the scenery at this small picturesque village on a breathtakingly beautiful sunny day!
Until the early 20th century, Hjalteyri was known as one of the area’s main hubs for the herring fishing industry, whereas presently, it has become a popular center for artists with the old herring factory being used for art exhibitions during the summer months
From Hjalteyri we passed through the town of Dalvik whose 1,400 inhabitants are mainly connected to the fishing industry and trade. Normally we would have joined them in celebrating one of Iceland’s most popular annual family festivals called the Great Fish Day that is always held in the 2nd week of August. However, due to Covid-19, this year it was unfortunately cancelled so I guess it's something to look forward to on another visit to the area.
Entering Siglufjordur, known in the booming herring era (1867 – 1968) as the Herring Capital of the World, one can’t help feeling that this town exudes true Icelandic charm with alluring scenery; a captivating mix of coastline, lava fields and mountains.
After driving around town, we parked the car in the vicinity of the Marina Village, the town’s small boat marina, and set out on foot to take in some of the local vibe at the Siglo Hotel and its neighboring restaurants, Hannes Boy and Kaffi Rauðka (both unfortunately closed due to the early hour of the day!)
The Siglo Hotel’s location, nestled in the marina, offers stylish and comfortable lodgings with fantastic sea and mountain views. I loved their outside spa with a truly inviting hot tub and sauna (open all year round) and the outdoor café located next to their charming lounge with a fire place, that I’m sure is perfect for relaxing following winter skiing at the nearby Skarðsdalur, one of Iceland’s top ski areas.
With the awesome closeness to nature and plentiful outdoor activities within reach as well as a flourishing cultural life, Siglufjörður has plenty of distractions to offer.
The award winning Herring Era Museum, is a must and as true foodie I would suggest you check out some of the town’s restaurants, the local small family owned Segull 67 craft brewery and Frida’s Chocolate Coffee Shop for scrumptious tasting homemade chocolates or a cup of warm drinking chocolate with lots of whipped cream . . . the Icelandic way!
I wish we had planned for more time in Siglufjörður but as we were already running late, with sweet thoughts we sped to our next stops in Skagafjörður. Here we caught up with friends and enjoyed the beautiful countryside, Icelandic horses and the warmth and joys of Icelandic hospitality . . . with tasty farm-to–table delicacies and lots of inspirational and amusing story telling that uplifted our minds and souls and reminded me of some of the things I love about Iceland!
It goes without saying that we arrived back in Reykjavik exhausted but also truly motivated to go back on the road as soon as possible . . . to visit and re-connect with family and friends and to see many more of our country’s compelling attractions!
I leave you today with a late night view to Elliðavatn that I took upon our return to Reykjavik. This is one of my favorite spots for long tranquil nature walks that always boost my energy and creativity!
Until soon again with Amazing Iceland-2020/4