Local Guide

Local Guide

Neskaupstadur is a village on the north side of Nordfjordur (pop. 1400). The Book of Settlement tells us that Egill the Red settled here. Trading has been going on since 1895 but it was not until 1949 that Neskaupstadur could be reached by road. All transport had to be by sea. Fishing and fish processing has alway been the main occupation. Twelve milllion year old fossils of tree trunks have been discovered in Nordfjordur´s Raudu Skridur (red screes). An avalanche killed12 people here in 1974. Considerable landscaping has been done to prevent re-occurence. The first nature preserve in Iceland was established here in 1972. The distance from Hofn in Hornafjordur to Neskaupstadur is 269 km (167 miles). The are many inviting places to stop on the way.

Major Points of Interest En-route to Neskaupstadur

The eastern fjords and the outermost western fjords are the oldest parts of Iceland or about 16 milllion years old. There are 17 extinct volcanic systems in the eastern fjords and each one has a central volcano. When you travel from Hornafjordur across Lon to Alftafjordur you are actually travelling through a volcano. Glaciers and erosions have removed the extrusive rocks and exposed deeper intrusions such as Vesturhorn.

Alftafjordur

The southernmost fjord of the eastern fjords is Alftafjordur. Alftafjordur is a lagoon closed by a sand reef. Hundreds of Whooper swans breed here and hence the name (álft = swan). Njal´s saga tells us about the missionary Thangbrandur who was sent to Iceland by the king of Norway, Olafur Tryggvason, to christen the people of Iceland. Thangbrandur established camp at the farm Thvotta (see map). Thangbrandur was later chased out of Iceland after he had killed three men.

Alftafjordur

Djupivogur

Djupivogur is a small fishing village (pop. 390). German merchants settled here in 1589. The old house Langabud (red building) is a merchant house from 1790.The fascinating mountain Bulandstindur 1070m (3510 feet) towers over the village. Djupivogur is a good spot for birdwatching. A bird and rock collection was opened here in 2002. The museum houses 130 species of birds both local and vagrants. Nests and eggs are also on display together with books and photos of birds. Many interesting rocks and minerals from the Djúpivogur area can be seen. The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm.

Djupivogur

Berufjordur

Berufjordur is a large fjord north of Djupivogur. There are many high and beautiful mountains here made of rhyolite and therefore colorful. A rare variety of rhyolite and green ignimbrite can be found in Berufjordur. Ignimbrite is created in so called Pelé-eruptions where fiery clouds flows down the mountain. This occurs when the side of the mountain explodes and a large amount of lava rushes out. The folk tale about the troll couple Bera and Soti takes place here. Many places in the east are named after Bera.The farm at the bottom of the fjord was attacked by Turkish pirates in 1627. They killed everyone and burned down the farm.

Berufjordur

Breiddalsvik

Breiddalsvik is a small village (pop.182) in a cove with the same name. Fishing and fish processing is the main occupation. Off the coast are islands where hundreds of Eiders nest and seals can be hunted. Hotel Blafell is a popular tourist stop serving traditional Icelandic food. Breiddalsvik has the largest lowland of all the eastern fjords and the mountains are among the highest in the east or about 1100 – 1200 meters (3600-4000 feet). Many of the mountains here are colorful rhyolite mountains. Rhyolite is a fine grained, extrusive, igneous rock, often with a sugary texture. The church farm at Heydalir was for a long time the most coveted parish in Iceland because of the many land benefits.

Breiddalsvik

Stodvarfjordur

The next fjord after Breiddalsvik is the small but pretty Stodvarfjordur. The main occupation is fishing as in other villages in the eastern fjords. Petra´s rock collection is a must-see. Here you can see the largest collection of rocks and minerals in Iceland and Petra has collected them all during her long life.

Stodvarfjordur

Faskrudsfjordur

The population of Faskrudsfjordur is about 600. This was the main camp for French fishermen in the past. They had a hospital (erected 1903), a chapel, and the French graveyard has over 100 graves. All the streets in Faskrudsfjordur are named in Icelandic and French. The "French Days“ are celebrated here at the end of July every year. Many people from Faskrudsfjordur work at the Alcoa aluminium smelter in Reydarfjordur Reydafjordur There is a tunnel (6km – 4miles) between Faskrudsfjordur and Reydarfjordur which makes it easy for people to travel to work at the Alcoa smelter.

Read more about tours in Faskrudsfjordur

Faskrudsfjordur

Reydarfjordur

Reydarfjordur is a deep fjord and the longest of the eastern fjords (29km). The population is steadily increasing (now over 2000) because of Alcoa. The beauxite used for aluminium production is shipped here from Australia in the form of alumina. At the factory it is transformed into aluminium through electrolysis. The Alcoa smelter began production in April 2002 and annual capacity is 346-thousand tons. Four hundred employees work at the factory. The Allied forces had 1200-1300 personnel here during WWII when the local population numbered only 321. The distance from Reydarfjordur to Egilsstadir though Fagridalur is 33km (21 mile).

Reydarfjordur

Holmanes

When you drive from Reydarfjordur to Eskifjordur your route is across Holmanes which is a protected nature preserve. Here you will find rich bird life (e.g Puffins and Eiders) and strange rock formations. Holmanes is about 10km (6miles) from Reydarfjordur. A Sybil´s grave is at Langhamar and she said that no-one could rob Reydarfjordur while her bones were intact. When the Turks arrived in 1627 she made a "sorcery weather soup" against them when they tried to sail into Reydarfjordur. They had to flee from the area.

Holmanes

Eskifjordur

Eskifjordur is an infjord north from Reydarfjordur which you drive through on your way to Neskaupstadur. Here you will find an interesting maritime museum in an old building from 1816. The museum is open daily from 1pm until 5pm from June through August. The village offers all modern conveniences including an outdoor swimming pool. About six km from Eskifjordur is the old mine for the mineral known as Iceland spar (Helgustadarnama). Most of the Iceland spar in foreign museums is from here. Iceland spar is a renowned completely clear variant of calcite. It forms regular crystals. When one looks through the clear crystal two images are seen, due to refraction. Iceland spar was used in microscopes in he past. Oddsskard´s mountain pass The drive from Eskifjordur to Neskaupstadur is 25km (15miles). The mountain pass between Eskifjordur and Neskaupstadur is 705m high with a short tunnel at the height of 632m. The tunnel was opened in 1977. The road across this mountain pass was first opened in 1949 and Neskaupstadur was then finaly connected to the country´s road system. All transport prior to this had to be by sea. The skiing area for Neskaupstadur is in Oddsskard. (skard means mountain pass). The are numerous walking trails on the mountain.

Eskifjordur

Diversions off the Beaten Track

Hengifoss

Hengifoss is the highest waterfall in Nordfjordur and is in a river in Seldalur about 10 km west of the village. Make a right turn into Seldalur. The fall is in a pretty gorge with appealing vegetation. The hollow near the waterfall is called "kærleikslaut“ in Icelandic. It means love-nest and is an ideal spot for a picnic. The troll-woman who lived in the cave behind the fall is no longer there. She lost the battle with Loftur from Skorrastadur at a nearby farm and disappeared. This area is also excellent for walking.

 

Hengifoss

Nordfjordur

The nature preserve in Nordfjordur has been protected since 1972 and is popular among the locals. It is just outside the village to the east. Do take a walk on the shore to Easter´s Cave which is easily done during low tide. There is a stepladder down into the cave which was created by the ocean. A folk tale tells us that the farmer at Bakki „found a seal woman there“. He took her home and they married and after the seventh child was born she went back to the ocean. In the area one can view holes in the lava made by trees ten to twelve million years ago. There is an education trail with information about many natural features in the local area.

Nordfjordur

Other Activities at Neskaupstadur

The Harbour House, Avalance barrier and Golf club

The Harbour House is a maritime museum, an art museum, and a museum of natural history. It is open daily from 1pm to 5 pm June through August. Drive up to the Avalance barrier. A walking trail has been built around it and on top. This gives you a very good view over the fjord. The avalance on December 20th 1974 killed 12 people. The barrier was later contstructed to prevent re-occurrence. The Golf club of Nordfjordur is located near the runway just west of town. It has nine holes and par 70 (35/35) www.golf.is/gn