There are 109 dramatic fjords in Iceland, and these deep, narrow inlets of glacial water form a U-shape, flanked by wild volcanic landscapes.
Iceland’s fjords are filled with nature—an array of fish species, whales, dolphins, and many birds—with water ripples reflecting the saw-toothed mountains crowned in snow that surround them.
Dramatic and peaceful, they also feature cascading waterfalls created by the receding snow, with a patchwork of wildflower meadows, grazing pastures, and hiking trails revealed by summertime.
From the wilds of the less-ventured Westfjords to inlets within easy reach of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, would-be explorers delight in these starkly beautiful landscapes.
Of all the fjords in Iceland, Eyjafjörður is the longest, at 47 miles. It’s also among the most beguiling, with looming mountains rising on both sides of the fjord, including the colossal Mt. Kerling, at a sky-piercing 5,046 feet tall.
The delightful, walkable city of Akureyri lies at the inner tip of Eyjafjörður. Here, you could delve into galleries and museums, such as Akureyri Museum, Akureyri Art Museum, and Davíðs Stefánsson Writer’s Museum.
You could also visit the town’s striking Akureyrarkirkja church. Completed in 1940 and designed by architect Gudjon Samuelsson, who also masterminded Hallgrímskirkja church in downtown Reykjavík, Akureyrarkirkja looms over the town on a grassy hill.
Keen botanists might want to explore the most northerly botanical garden in the world, just 31 miles south of the Arctic Circle.
Opened in 1912, Akureyri Botanical Garden features 430 native plant species and thousands more from around the world, including lilac-hued lupine, which blooms across Iceland during summer.
Experience Iceland’s nature around Eyjafjörður, with the waters rich with bottlenose dolphins and humpback and minke whales. On a whale-watching trip, travelers could also spot white-beaked dolphins, orcas, fin whales, and harbor porpoises. Look out for cute-faced puffins bobbing on the water, too, distinguished by their colorful beaks.
On land, take a trip to the spectacular Godafoss waterfall, one of the most beautiful places in Iceland. Just a short drive from Akureyri on the river Skjálfandafljót, it’s a knock-out Icelandic waterfall for its magnificent 98-foot wide cascade.
Travelers with a keen interest in birds could take a ferry from Akureyri to Hrísey, an island in the middle of the fjord. Hrísey is home to around 40 bird species and is one of the largest Arctic tern nesting sites in Europe. Enjoy a windswept hike around the island to admire Hrísey’s tangerine-colored lighthouse and look for eider, common gull, and Arctic terns.
For a bite to eat, stop by Strikið, a delightful restaurant in Akureyri with an outdoor terrace and fjord views, for a delicious lunch of lobster sushi and beetroot burgers.
Héðinsfjörður is one of the more remote fjords in Iceland, tucked into the island’s north coast between the towns of Siglufjörður and Ólafsfjörður.
This wild fjord unfolds almost four miles towards lake Héðinsfjarðarvatn, around an hour’s drive north of Akureyri.
There are no towns surrounding Héðinsfjörður, just the green, sloped valley, which is a wonderful spot to enjoy a peaceful hike in Iceland. The only sign of human life around the fjord is the remains of a farm, Hvanndalir, which was abandoned in 1951.
It’s possible to take a boat trip from Akureyri to experience the still waters of Héðinsfjörður. Look out for passing whales and the bird life around Hrísey Island. Stop to gaze at Sýrdalsfoss, a waterfall that thunders from the cliffs as you approach Héðinsfjörður. Fishing is popular, too, with the lake and fjord rich with trout.
Bewitching Siglufjörður is in the northernmost tip of the country. The nature-filled fjord is laced with hiking trails, some leading to the neighboring Héðinsfjörður, with around 16 bird species to be found here during summer.
Siglufjörður’s only settlement is a small town that takes the same name as the fjord. This small town packs in a lot to see and do for visitors.
The Herring Era Museum is a fantastic attraction that hones in on Iceland’s herring fishing industry, the main industry of Siglufjörður. Follow the fascinating story of how herring is canned and transformed into Omega-3-rich oil. View fishing vessels from the 1950s, and watch the fish salting process take place.
At the former home of the reverend Bjarni Þorsteinsson, or the “Father of Siglufjörður”, the town’s Folk Music Center pays homage to traditional Icelandic music. Hear old recordings of Icelandic folk music, chanting, and singing. Every July, the town even hosts an annual Folk Music Festival, with traditional songs sung and instruments such as the Icelandic fiddle played.
Drop into Segull 67 Brewery for a libation of craft Icelandic ales, lagers, or a stout. One-hour brewery tours and tastings are offered to give travelers the chance to see how this far-north brew house makes its beers.
The town’s white-painted Siglufjarðarkirkja, a Lutheran church with a rust-red pointy roof, faces Aðalgata, a street lined with a bakery, a takeout fish and chips shop, a vegan restaurant, a bar, and a clutch of shops.
Enjoy a warming coffee at Harbour House Café or, for a heartier Icelandic meal, opt for Torgið’s fish specialty of Plokkfiskur, a type of Icelandic fish stew, with gratinated fish in a bernaise sauce served with earthy rye bread.
Near the town of Ísafjörður in Iceland’s Westfjords, Álftafjörður is a stunning fjord that’s home to a single settlement, the quaint fishing village of Súðavík.
This tiny hamlet on Álftafjörður’s northwest shore has a mix of newer and more traditional houses; several of Súðavík’s older buildings were destroyed during a 1995 avalanche.
Today, there are two restaurants, a café, and a grocery store in this fjord village. Its biggest draw is the Arctic Fox Centre with an exhibition dedicated to these gorgeous creatures, known for their thick, fluffy coats and bushy tails.
To explore Álftafjörður’s wilder side, hike the waterfront route south from Súðavík to Valagil, a spectacular horsetail waterfall that plummets from a gorge near the innermost point of the fjord. The trek is around five miles, firstly skirting the fjord, before edging into the valley.
On the way to Valagil, visit Sætt & Salt to stock up on snacks and souvenirs. This artisan chocolatier specializes in salted chocolates, with cupcakes, macarons, and other deliciously gooey sweet treats on the counter.
Ólafsfjörður, an arm of the larger Eyjafjörður in north Iceland, is connected to nearby Akureyri via Dalvik and a new two-mile, one-lane tunnel, known as the Múlagöng, which opened in 2010.
At the heart of the fjord is a small town, also called, Ólafsfjörður, an unhurried fishing village, with a couple of cozy cafés, a pretty white, yellow, and gray church, and a natural history museum.
While you’re here, take a leisurely walk to Ólafsfjörður’s black-sand beach. One of the best beaches in Iceland, Ólafsfjörður Beach is accessed via a narrow spit, separating the fjord from Òlafsfjörður lake, where travelers are offered mountain and valley views that are mirrored in the stillness of the fjord.
Ísafjarðardjúp, the largest fjord in the mighty Westfjords, a craggy and remote mountainous swathe of northwest Iceland, is so large that several smaller branches feed off it.
Almost all of Ísafjarðardjúp’s smaller fjords lie to the south, with the exception of Jökulfirðir, which also feeds five smaller branches that seep into Hornstrandir Nature Reserve to the north.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is only accessible by boat from Ísafjörður, Bolungarvík, and Súðavík. The region encompasses 220 square miles of green-covered tundra, hundreds of flowering plants and ferns, and sheer cliffs that plunge into the ocean.
Flowers, particularly purple lupins, flourish in Hornstrandir because of the lack of human residents and grazing animals.
The reserve’s bird life is exciting, too, with black guillemots, puffins, and Arctic terns, though it’s the elusive Arctic fox, Iceland’s only native land animal, that is most thrilling.
Another highlight of Ísafjarðardjúp, which translates as “ice fjord deep”, is Vigur, an extraordinary island where during summer in Iceland, around 30,000 white-breasted, orange-beaked puffins descend. There’s also a cacophony of 100,000 arctic terns and 5,000 eider ducks, a thriving colony of seals, and whales in the waters around Vigur.
Travelers can visit the windswept island each summer via a ferry from Ísafjörður to explore the island’s wildlife and witness the annual harvest of the soft and lightweight eiderdown.
There’s a small post office where visitors can mail a postcard home, and a coffee shop for warming drinks and the local sweet specialty, Hjónabandssæla. This traditional dish translates as “marital bliss” and is a heavenly crumbly, jammy, oatmeal-based cake.
Skutulsfjörður, one of Ísafjarðardjúp’s smallest branches, is a dazzling fjord in the northwest of Iceland.
Ísafjörður, the capital of this sparsely-populated region, lies on the fjord’s north shore. This enchanting town is surrounded by flat-topped mountains and shimmering water dotted with fishing vessels.
Ísafjörður’s small size means it’s easy to explore on foot. Wander around the tranquil fjord to Naustahvilft, a modest Icelandic mountain nicknamed the Troll Seat because of its sunken topography that resembles a giant seat. Climb the Troll Seat for a bird’s-eye view of Skutulsfjörður’s still water and Ísafjörður single-strip airport.
In Ísafjörður, start by exploring Westfjord History Museum to gain an insight into Ísafjörður’s seafaring heritage. There are real-life stories and photographs from the fishing community based on Skutulsfjörður, with model and life-size boats and other marine equipment exhibited across four historic buildings.
Another one of the best things to do in Ísafjörður is to browse the Culture House. Set in the town’s former community hospital, this space now packs in an art gallery, the regional archives, a library, and a photography museum.
Once you’ve finished exploring Skutulsfjörður’s cultural hotspots, sip on a refreshing ale at Dokkan. This craft brewery next to the Westfjord History Museum produces a range of drinks from low-alcohol Pilsner to IPAs and stouts.
Coffee shops, bistros, and shops scattered among the colorful buildings bring Ísafjörður to life, making it one of the best fjord towns in Iceland.
Arnarfjörður, home to a large number of mysterious sea monsters and sorcerers, according to Icelandic folklore, is among the most beautiful fjords in Iceland. At almost 18 miles long and six miles at its widest, it’s also the second-largest of the Westfjords.
The region’s tallest mountain, Kaldbakur looms 3,274 feet over Arnarfjörður, adding to the drama of this show-stopping Iceland fjord. You could embark on a hike to this herculean mountain or admire it from a boat ride on the inky Arnarfjörður.
Arnarfjörður also lies close to the mesmerizing Dynjandi waterfall, known as the jewel of the Westfjords, with its 328-foot cascade.
Plan a visit to Dynjandi to witness its fan-tailed drop, which spreads from around 98 feet at the top to 196 feet wide as it reaches the bottom.
Visitors can hike to the top of Dynjandi in around 15 minutes, passing several smaller foaming falls—including Hrísvaðsfoss, Göngumannafoss, and Strompgljúfrafoss—on the way.
Even from Dynjandi’s base, the views are soul-stirring on a clear day, stretching out to the fjord, mountains, and valleys.
Hvalfjörður is a scenic, easy-to-reach fjord a short distance north of Reykjavík in southwest Iceland.
The landscape around Hvalfjörður is etched with luscious greenery during summer, with the sound of babbling creeks rarely far away. There’s an abundance of wildlife in and near the water, too, including languid gray and harbor seals.
The 19-mile-long Hvalfjörður is among the best fjords in Iceland for hikers, with plenty of trails weaving around the water’s edge and in the forests, and mountains that surround the calm water.
Plan a walk from the fjord to Glymur waterfall, a short distance inland from Hvalfjörður’s inner tip. This incredible waterfall in Iceland is among the country’s highest with a drop of 650 feet. The hike is around four miles from the fjord’s innermost point.
You could also opt to trace the scenic north shore, pausing at Hallgrímskirkja Saurbæ, a beautifully quaint church, and Langisandur, a Blue Flag beach in the town of Akranes on the northwest tip of Hvalfjörður.
There are also the remains of a former whaling station and the poignant War and Peace Museum, which covers the period between 1940 and 1945, during the occupation of Iceland, to complete your intrepid tour of Hvalfjörður.
From eye-popping beaches to fiery volcanoes and soothing fjords, Iceland delivers a masterclass in magical scenery. Explore Celebrity Cruises’ luxury voyages to Iceland and book your next bucket list getaway to combine culture, history, nature, and adventure.