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Marvel at the stunning natural beauty of Iceland on an Isafjordur cruise, where you’ll find a small town surrounded by snow-capped mountains, pristine water, and jaw-dropping vistas. As the largest settlement in the Westfjords, Isafjordur is the ideal place to discover northern Iceland’s unspoiled terrain and spot wildlife, including whales, seals, and arctic foxes, in their natural habitat.
Go birdwatching on the nearby island of Vigur. Visit the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, or head to Dynjandi, a group of waterfalls known as the jewel of the region. During your time in Isafjordur, you’ll witness dramatic landscapes you won’t soon forget.
Even though the island of Isafjordur only has 2,600 inhabitants, its downtown area offers a nice mix of shops, museums, and local restaurants to explore. Stroll around its quaint streets featuring frequent art exhibits, stop by a bakery and order a Kringle, the local pastry specialty, and take photos of the Old Town’s charming 18th-century wooden buildings.
Known as “the jewel of the Westfjords,” the Dynjandi waterfalls (which translates as “thunderous”) have well earned their name. At this spectacular site, you’ll witness water crashing from over 328 feet high. Experience the thrill of the cascades from down below, or embark on a hike up to the top of Dynjandi, where you’ll stop by seven different waterfalls on your way up to the summit.
Board a ferry and head out to Hornstrandir, a spectacular reserve where you’ll encounter frozen tundra, glaciers, and miles of green hills. During a trip to Hornstrandir, you can go hiking, kayaking, bird watching, or simply settle in and enjoy the view of sweeping vistas and the deep blue ocean surrounding you.
Hike around the stunning mountains of the Westfjords, where you’ll admire unparalleled views of the ocean and surrounding alps. Make your way up Kaldbakur, which towers over 3,000 feet above the ground, making it the tallest mountain in all the Westfjords. A hike to the top of the mountain and back down usually takes around four hours and is an easy trail for both beginner and advanced hikers.
Make your way around the Westfjords while aboard a kayak and marvel at the peaceful surroundings full of towering cliffs and lush green hills. Enjoy the serene scene as you paddle around the Westfjords’ gentle waters, and keep your eyes peeled for seals, whales, and eagles along the way.
Bird watchers should head to Vigur, a small island located just 30 minutes away by ferry. There, you’ll spot avian species like adorable puffins, razorbills, guillemots, eider ducks, and fulmars. This tiny island is also home to the smallest post office in Europe and the site of the only windmill in Iceland.
Fishing is one of the top industries in Iceland, so expect plenty of fresh seafood options during your cruise to Isafjordur. Popular catches include cod, haddock, and salmon, prepared in a variety of ways such as boiled, roasted, and grilled. One of the local specialties is mashed fish stew known as plokkfiskur, which is mixed with onions, potatoes, and sauce. If you’re looking to try something totally different, order fermented shark or hákarl, which is Iceland’s national dish.
The town of Isafjordur is located within Skutulsfjörður, a fjord that was established back in the 9th century. Over the centuries, Isafjordur grew into a thriving trade center and was granted municipal status in 1786. You can still see some of the 18th-century merchant buildings of the era by visiting the collection of old timber frame houses in the area. For many years, Isafjordur was home to one of Iceland’s largest fisheries. Today, most of its economic activity revolves around tourism and tours around the Westfjords.
On cruises to Isafjordur, your ship will dock in the port of Isafjordur, which is located within a natural harbor in the Westfjords region. Nearby, you’ll find the Old Town center and the Maritime Museum.
Almost everything in town is located within walking distance of the port, so you won’t need public transportation. If you choose to explore the Westfjords, there are several boat tour operators that will take you to nearby destinations, such as Vigur and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
While the town of Isafjordur is small, you’ll find several shops within the Old Town that specialize in local goods, including handmade jewelry, ceramics, glassware, and wool knitted items.
The local currency in Isafjordur is the Icelandic krona (ISK). Credit cards are widely accepted in Iceland, even when paying for small amounts, but it’s never a bad idea to carry a little bit of local cash. Tipping is not expected in Iceland, as many bills already include gratuity and service charges in the final total. If you’d like to leave something extra, anything less than 10% of the total amount is acceptable.