Isafjordur is the largest town in the Westfjords of Iceland. Cruise ships dock in the center of this walkable town with a gorgeous harbor as the backdrop. The history of this port goes back to the 16th century when it began as a major fishing and commerce port. Today, Isafjordur is a bustling port that takes over 106 ship calls per year, a number that has only increased since cruise ships first started calling in the area in 2000. The port is open 24 hours and features a modern harbor facility that includes a new 190-meter wharf. This near-perfect natural harbor is flanked by towering mountains and beautiful waters. For first-time visitors to Iceland, it’s an ideal place to start.
Isafjordur has great options for getting to know a bit of Icelandic. Spend the day walking and biking around town with a choice of cafes and shops along the way. A visit to the Westfjords Maritime Museum, located in the oldest home in Isafjordur and which traces the life and history of the town, holds a fascinating array of fishing gear and boats. Outside of the museum several more historical buildings dot the area, all merchant properties dating back to the 18th century.
Vigur Island is the main attraction in the area. Located in the Isafjardardjup Bay, it’s a 30-minute ferry ride from Isafjordur proper. It is the second-largest island in the area and is mostly known for its thriving population of seabirds, specifically the colorful and whimsical-looking Arctic Puffins, which have a major presence on the island. There are also historical buildings from the production of eiderdown, a traditional Icelandic down used in bedding. The landmark of the island is the windmill, the only surviving windmill in the entire country.
An hour ferry ride will take visitors to Hesteyri, arriving in the Hornstandir Nature Reserve where they can take a history walk through the abandoned historical village while learning about life in Isafjordur’s past.
As the third busiest cruise port in Iceland, Isafjordur delivers a great experience that leaves visitors wanting more. It’s another winning choice for itinerary planners.
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