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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Stöðvarfjörður tiny village in the East Fjords

Updated: Jul 13

Harbor at Stöðvarfjörður village
The small harbor at Stöðvarfjörður village

The origin of the villages, Stöðvarfjörður, can be traced to the end of the 19th century. At a time when a merchant opened a store and built a home for himself and his family. Before that time, only a handful of people lived on the farms by the fjord and in the small valley west of the fjord, where suitable land for farming was limited. As the activity of the store developed, people started to move to Stöðvarfjörður to build houses and homes around the shop, which further developed the trading activity and new opportunities. However, the lack of natural conditions for a harbor, the fishing industry did not develop to the same extent as in the other villages in the Eastern Region. Many attempts were made but never developed into a permanent economic base. Once a small harbor was built late in the 20th-century, conditions improved, at least for the small boats.

Today it is a part of a larger municipality.

Old church in Stöðvarfjörður
The old church serves as accommodation in Stöðvarfjörður

Today Stöðvarfjörður is part of the Fjarðarbyggð municipality that includes six other towns and villages in the East Fjords. As of January 2022, inhabitants are around 190 people compared to 350 in 1980, so it is a town in defense. The community provides essential services in education, health care, and social service to the residents. It has an old swimming pool and a sports center. Most of the inhabitants work in the fishing industry, which is the primary economic base for the community, and the small harbor serves small boats that fish near the coastline. In recent years, better transportation in the Eastern region and new opportunities in other towns and villages have enhanced employment possibilities. Stöðvarfjörður has also made some admirable attempts to participate in the growing tourist industry. One of the most exciting projects is the Fish Factory. A deserted fish factory is being transformed into a cultural and creative center with art as their weapon of choice. Today, it has one of Iceland's most advanced sound recording studios, where musicians and groups flock to record their latest work. An ideal place for a good atmosphere and creativity amidst the beautiful and quiet fjord. I stopped by the studio in October of 2021 to visit the group Valdimar that was recording a new record, and the musicians thought this was an ideal place to compose and record new music.

Home to a fascinating stone collectors museum.

Hoses in Stöðvarfjörður
Old houses in Stöðvarfjörður village in the East Fjords

Like many small towns and villages in Iceland, particularly in the east region, Stöðvarfjörður is located in beautiful surroundings. The fjord is a joy to drive with towering mountains, river, coastline, and two beautiful valleys. It is the home of one of the most attractive small privately-owned museums in Iceland, Petras Stone & Mineral Collection. Not only is the museum fascinating but also the collector's story. It is worth stopping at Stöðvarfjörður to visit the museum as the fjord is also known for its fantastic variety of stones and materials. It is also a village that offers all the essential services to tourists and has a restaurant, a café (where you can meet some locals), a gas station, accommodation, and a small camping site right on the Ring Road.

If you're planning to tour Iceland in a rental car, make sure to read this article about the type of car that would be best for your trip.


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