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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Djúpivogur small village in the East Fjords

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Djúpivogur village
The harbour at Djúpivogur village in the East Fjords

Although a tiny village, Djúpivogur has been around for a long time. The village is in the southernmost part of the Eastern Region and a welcoming village for those who drive the ring road counterclockwise, coming from the south shoreline. It is one of the oldest villages in Iceland with a certain charm to it. As early as the late 16th century, Djúpivogur became a critical trading place for a large area in the Eastern Region and the southeast part of Iceland. Before the Danish Trading Monopoly was established in 1602, German traders sailed to Iceland and set up a trading post at Dúpivogur. After the notorious Danish Trading Monopoly pushed everyone else out of trading in Iceland, it continued where others had started and operated their monopoly in the southeast region from Djúpivogur. So did some of the companies' successors after the monopoly was abolished. So, despite the fact that Djúpivogur didn't develop into a larger village, it played an important role in Icelandic history for a long time.

The trading post Djúpivogur turned the village

Old houses at Djúpivogur villlage
Old single family homes at Djúpivogur village East Fjords

One of the trading firms that became a kind of national chain in the 19th century in Iceland, Örum&Wuff had an impressive operation for more than a century at Djúpivogur. Some of their houses are still standing and renovated, giving the small village a beautiful historical reference. The area by the harbor is beautiful, and so are the surrounding mountains around the village. It is without hesitation a place to stop by when driving the Ring Road or traveling the east part of Iceland.

Djúpivogur is possibly the first place in Iceland to tackle multiculturalism

A house from centuries ago Djúpivogur
Djúpivogur has some of the olddest buildings in Iceland

The landscape around Djúpivogur is among the most impressive for any town or village in Iceland. The small Búlandspeninsula, where the village sits, is surrounded by a beautiful coastline, sea cliffs and ocean rocks, black sands, vegetated mountains, valleys, and low cliffs. It is a place worth visiting for both landscape and historical reasons. Djúpivogur was probably one of the first communities in Iceland that tackled multiculturalism when Hans Jónatan, a Black slave from St. Croix, another Danish colony, settled in Djúpivogur. Hans Jónatan arrived early in the 20th century and became a prominent citizen accepted by the whole community. It is a stunning story written by Gísli Pálsson, professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland called The Man Who Stole Himself. Hans Jónatan had many descendants, and Djúpivogur was often referred to as the village with dark color inhabitants.

Fishing and fish processing

Fishing boats at Djúpivogur village
Fishing is still an essential part of the economy of the small village Djúpivogur

Like many small villages around the shoreline in Iceland, abundant fishing grounds have always been nearby. Djúpivogur was also fortunate that conditions for a harbor were always good. Oddly though, the village never developed into a major fishing town, even though, fishing and fish processing did contribute to the town economy longer than most places or villages in Iceland. The village has seen shark catching, whale catching, and all kinds of fishing, but it somehow never became a significant industry like some towns and villages in the East Fjords. It was like the people never could decide whether they should be a trading place or a fishing station. This makes the small village even more enjoyable. In recent decades, fishing has gotten the upper hand, including fish farming in Berufjörður fjord, and is vital in the village's economy.

Djúpivogur today

Today Djúpivogur is part of the municipality Múlaþing and has 530 residents. It is a progressive and thriving small village. Although primarily based on fishing and fish processing, tourism and providing service to people traveling in Iceland is becoming a larger and more significant part of the local economy. It is a friendly village with good service for residents, emphasizing the art and quality of life. The community has good preschool, primary, and secondary schools. Good sports facilities, a camping site, and a swimming pool. The village has nice restaurants, a café, and good accommodations. It is a great place to stay overnight and stroll to the beautiful black beach in the afternoon or on a bright summer night or walk by the artwork Eggin í Gleðivík down by the harbor. At the beach you might even meet some reindeer; but certainly, you will get a great view of the beautiful mountains.


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