The Natural Splendor of Seydisfjördur

Located by a fjord in eastern Iceland, Seydisfjördur was settled in 1848 and used as a trading post by merchants, whalers, and fishermen. With a population of only 700, it’s a great destination for travelers looking to get away from city life.

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Walking around the village, you’ll see an array of colorful nineteenth- and early twentieth-century timber buildings such as the Blue Church (which hosts a series of jazz, folk, and classical concerts) and a thriving community of artists, musicians, and students. All around, giant green mountains provide a striking backdrop.

Hiking in Seydisfjördur

Waterfall Lane is just one of many hikes you can take from the town’s center through the surrounding forests. As the name suggests, you’ll see several waterfalls along rugged waters dotted with blueberry bushes. You can also take a snowshoeing tour, where you might see reindeer or the Skalanesbjarg bird cliffs after setting off at Austdalsa River.

Fun in the water

Kayaking excursions are a fun, high-energy way to explore the neighboring fjords. Tours can last anything from hours to two days, depending on how far you travel. Don’t worry, newcomers can join, too. Kayaking season is during the warm summer months of June, July, and August. 

If you’re feeling adventurous (and with the proper certification), take a dive 130 feet below sea level to see the wreckage of the oil tanker El Grillo, which was bombed by a German fighter jet during World War II. It weighs more than 7,000 tons and is thankfully oil free.

LungA Art Festival

The week-long LungA Art Festival (yes, with a capital A at the end) is an annual music and arts festival held every July since 2000. Along with concerts and exhibitions, attendees can go to parties, lectures, and workshops. It draws big crowds every year with its display of cutting-edge creativity presented in a celebratory atmosphere.

One museum provides a portal to Seydisfjördur’s past

The Technical Museum of East Iceland, founded in 1984, showcases the local heritage of Seydisfjördur through its engrossing exhibitions. The museum focuses on the effects of technological advancement — machinery, electricity, telephones, etc. — on the town’s history. You can visit the museum any time from June 1 to September 15, and if you want to visit in winter, you can arrange with the museum. Every July, the museum hosts the Blacksmith Festival, which includes courses on blacksmithing and knife making along with music and dancing.

Skalanes

Just ten miles east of Seydisfjördur is Skalanes, a private nature reserve. A popular way to get there is to hike from the Austdalsa River along a three-mile trail that provides an excellent view of the Skalanesbjarg bird cliffs — home to more than forty bird species. The Skalanes Mountain Lodge is a great spot for some rest and relaxation, with facilities including a library, fireplace lounge, and outdoor sauna as well as locally sourced traditional Icelandic food like lamb, reindeer, and fish.

Seydisfjördur is a nature lover’s paradise. Remote and isolated from the urban bustle, it provides serenity for an outdoor adventure. Kayaking, hiking, bird watching — this town has everything you need for an exhilarating trip in a tranquil but vibrant setting.

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