Mjóifjörður fjord in the East Region
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
Mjóifjörður (The Slim Fjord), 18 kms long and approximately 2 to 3 kilometers wide, lies in the East Region as part of the East Fjords. Quite remote, even according to Icelandic standards, the name Mjóifjörður is also used in reference to the tiny village Brekkuþorp in the middle of the fjord. The only way to get there is by car along a gravel road over the mountain pass Mjóafjarðarheiði, and visits are permitted during the summer. The road is always closed, as it is packed with snow and not maintained during winter, and local people travel by boat and attain their resources from Norðfjörður. Yet, this isolated and narrow fjord clamped between the high mountains of the Norðfjörður and Seyðisfjörður fjords is becoming increasingly popular with tourists—both Icelandic and foreign. The Klifbrekkufossar waterfall, the jewel in the crown, lies at the bottom of the fjord, offering you an incredible spectacle.
The Mjóifjörður tiny village Brekkuþorp
Today, there are merely around 30 inhabitants in Mjóifjörður, with most of them in Brekkuþorp—the smallest village in Iceland. Throughout the centuries, a majority lived on the few farms which offered fertile soil in the steep mountain hills. The village has also seen its various versions of entrepreneurs and ventures in fishing, whaling, and fish processing. Abundant fishing grounds have always been part of Mjóifjörður. Oddly, at one point, the tiny village and small fjord had the largest whaling station in the world. It was built around 1900 by the Norwegians, who hired 200 workers for the operation which led to a substantial increase in the population at the time. But the subsequent development to a town was rendered impossible due to the lack of lowland on both sides of the fjord. The fjord population has since fluctuated but was enough at times to support necessary services like schools and a church. Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson (1914–2014), who was educated and maintained residence in the village all his life, was a member of parliament and minister of education for many years, during the time of which he lived in Reykjavík. On retiring, he moved back to the Brekka farm in Mjóifjörður. He was also a writer, self-educated and intelligent, and chronicled the history of the Mjóifjörður fjord that was published in three volumes.
A quiet and beautiful place, ideal for relaxation
Mjóifjörður is a beautiful and tranquil place where you can easily spend a day unwinding from the stress of everyday life. When you are at the bottom of the fjord, the drive to Brekka is only about 10 kms. However, if you want to drive to one of the easternmost points of Iceland, you can continue through the village to about 30 kilometers, which is a highly nerve-racking drive to Dalatangi’s farm and lighthouse. But once you arrive, both the view and atmosphere is spectacular, offering you an experience never found elsewhere. Along the way from Klifbrekkufossar, you can make stops at the impressive Prestagil (The Priest’s Ravine), Hofsárgljúfur Canyon with its delightful rivers and waterfalls, and take a short hike into the Steinsnesdalur valley—all ideal places for pitstops and picnics. Here, you will find breathtaking cliffs—and owing to the fjord’s still weather, you can feast your eyes on the lush hills and vibrant flora lining its shores.
Find your way to Mjóifjörður
To arrive at Mjóifjörður, you must take a turn to the east from the Fagridalur valley on road nr. 1 between the Reyðarfjörður and Egilsstaðir villages, after which you must turn into road 953 to the Mjóifjörður fjord. It is a two-way road, thereby ensuring your ease in finding your way back.