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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Seyðisfjörður magical town

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Seyðisfjörður town in Iceland
Seyðisfjörður in the East Fjords in Iceland

Anyone who visits the small town of Seyðisfjörður and the fjord of the same name will be impressed by the town’s beauty and the fjord’s spectacular landscape. Seyðisfjörður is a place of boundless charm and the only town or village along the coastline of Iceland located at the bottom of the fjord. Most of the small towns in fjords are located by the mountain slopes in the middle of the fjord. The Seyðisfjörður fjord is a bit narrow when compared to many of the eastern and western fjords, and protects the village from strong winds coming from all directions. The Seyðisfjörður fjord enhances the beauty of the ocean, as it allows the ocean to mirror calmness. The depth of the waters in the Seyðisfjörður fjord has made it possible for ships of all sizes to sail safely into the natural harbor at the bottom of the fjord. So, if you are planning a trip to Iceland and travel on the Ring Road, I recommend that you visit Seyðisfjörður on your way.

The Only Ferry to Iceland

House in Seyðisfjörður town in East Fjords
One of many elegant houses in Seyðisfjörður town

Most of the tourists who visit Iceland arrive through the Keflavik airport in Reykjanes peninsula, which is located in the southwest of Iceland. However, not many know about the ferry that can be used to reach the island. M/S Norröna, operated by Smyril Line International all year round, sets sail every week from Denmark, halts in the Faroe Islands, and then reaches Seyðisfjörður town in the east. The ferry is a good option to visit Iceland, more so if you want to take your car with you. Once you disembark from the ferry, a 25-km drive from Seyðisfjörður to Egilsstaðir over the 600-meter-high mountain pass called Fjarðarheiði will lead you to the Ring Road.

The Distinguishing Premise in Seyðisfjörður’s History

Seyðisfjörður fjord and town
The Seyðisfjörður fjord enhances the beauty of the ocean, as it allows the ocean to mirror calmness.

The town of Seyðisfjörður started developing around the middle of the 19th century. A few decades after the notorious Danish–Icelandic trade monopoly was abolished, merchants saw trading opportunities in the region and opened trading posts and built a cluster of houses. Like many other towns and villages in Iceland, easily accessible and rich fishing grounds played a significant role in the development of Seyðisfjörður. However, unlike many other towns and villages, Seyðisfjörður did not have much access to fish varieties such as cod, haddock, or halibut, except as a means of livelihood for survival. Instead, the main fish stock that was abundant in this area, and contributed to the town’s economic development, were herring and whales. In addition to merchants, entrepreneurs in the fishing and fish processing sector also came to Seyðisfjörður to take advantage of the herring stock flourishing in its waters. Although the herring frenzy began in Iceland only in the middle of the 20th century, Icelanders had already seen a similar development in the middle of the 19th century but on a smaller scale, in Seyðisfjörður. This development opened a path for the town’s progress, as opportunities for people in the surrounding rural areas grew, and they moved to the growing village at the bottom of the fjord.

A Good Town for Living as well as Visiting

Seyðisfjörður charming town center
Seyðisfjörður offers good quality essential services to its inhabitants.

Today, Seyðisfjörður is a part of the Múlaþing municipality, having a population of approximately 680 people, as of January 2022. It is an artistic and culturally driven town, which is loved by its residents, despite the isolation that haunts the town during the darkest winter months. Seyðisfjörður offers good quality essential services to its inhabitants. As far as the education sector is concerned, the town has a preschool, a primary school, a secondary school, as well as a music school. Healthcare services are well-accessible to all and quality healthcare is provided for the elderly. The village has an old and charming indoor swimming pool among other sports facilities. With a view of attracting incoming tourists and campers, the town has developed its camping site in an excellent manner. I have stayed in the site several times, and so can say with confidence that the place offers very good service. Seyðisfjörður also boasts of an interesting variety of restaurants and cafés as well as a good selection of accommodation facilities.

Loss Suffered by Seyðisfjörður in December 2020

Old houses in Seyðisfjörður
Many old houses, businesses, and small museums were lost in the disaster.

After a week of unusually warm temperature and precipitation, in December 2020, Seyðisfjörður faced a large landslide in a volume that it had never experienced before. Miraculously, no serious injuries or loss of lives were caused, but many old houses, businesses, and small museums were lost in the disaster. It was a significant blow to the town, especially as historically important buildings and artifacts were lost forever.


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