Nestled between dramatic mountains and one of Iceland's most beautiful fjords is Seydisfjordur, a tiny but beautiful town that embodies traditional Icelandic style.
History of Seydisfjordur
While there is evidence of people living in Seydisfjordur dating back to Iceland's early settlement period, the town wasn't founded until the 19th century, when Norwegian fishermen built it up as a small port. A boom in herring fishing meant that Seydisfjordur later became the most prosperous town in eastern Iceland.
In fact, many of the picturesque wooden buildings in the village have their origins in those golden years, and some were even brought disassembled over from Norway itself. You can experience a Norwegian town without leaving Iceland!
Decades later, after having served as a base for the American and British armies, Seydisfjordur entered an economic depression following the gradual recession of the herring industry. Today, the town continues to live off fishing, tourism and handicrafts, having been established as one of the main stops on cruises around Iceland.
What to see in Seydisfjordur?
The ideal plan when visit Seydisfjordur is to take a leisurely stroll through its picturesque streets and admire the surrounding mountains and fjord. Thanks to its small size, you should be able to see all of its main places of interest:
- Road to Seydisfjordur: even the road itself that leads to Seydisfjordur off the Ring Road is impressive. After reaching the top of a peak, it descends through the countryside in a succession of sharp bends curving around snow-capped hills and a myriad of small waterfalls all the way down to the town. The enchanting route has even been used as a filming location for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller.
- Blue Church: Seydisfjordur Church is one of the town's most emblematic monuments. While it's often closed, and the interior is relatively modest anyway, its unforgettable pastel blue exterior makes for a postcard-perfect view against the snowy mountain backdrop. If you're planning a trip to Iceland in summer, you can enjoy Bláa Kirkjan's summer classical concert series for around 3,000 kr (US$ 21) a ticket.
- Avalanche Monument: next to the blue church is a monument to the avalanche of 1996, one of many that have affected Seydisfjordur throughout its history.
- Seydisfjordur Rainbow: Seydisfjordur, like the rest of Iceland, is very welcoming of the LGTBQI community and the town's striking multicoloured tile path was painted in homage to the rainbow flag and as a symbol of respect and tolerance. The contrast of the rainbow with Blue Church makes it one of the most photogenic spots in Seydisfjordur.
How to visit Seydisfjordur?
The most convenient way to get to Seydisfjordur is by rental car. Driving on the Ring Road, you just have to turn off on Route 93 at Egilsstadir and enjoy the beautiful, winding road for about half an hour. It is paved and suitable for any type of vehicle.
Another way to get to Seydisfjordur is on a cruise around Iceland. Many boats stop here during the summer months, and the town serves as a gateway to Iceland for many tourists.