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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Vopnafjörður village in the east region of Iceland

Updated: 1 day ago

Vopnafjörður village
Vopnafjörður is a small fishing village in the northeast part of Iceland

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the fjord was a trading place, where merchants from Europe came to carry out business with the locals. It was one of the three principal trading places in the Northeast region before and during the Danish–Icelandic Monopoly that ended in 1787. After the abolition of the trading monopoly, the trading company Ørum& Wulff operated extensively until the 20th century. Historically, the village is more of a trading place than a fishing post and is one of the oldest villages in Iceland. It is located in an area traditionally surrounded by farms and agricultural activity.

A flourishing small village based on fishing and fish processing

Church in Vopnafjörður village
Vopnafjörður church in the centre of the small village

Currently, fishing and fish processing are the main bases of the village economy. Similar to many communities in Iceland, the 20th-century initiated the shift from trading and agriculture to fishing. The development involved motorboats early in the 20th century and the herring frenzy that later dominated the economic life of a large section of the northern and north-eastern part of Iceland in the forties and fifties. Today, the sources of livelihood for most of the residents include fishing and services related to fishing and fish processing. The population of Vopnafjörður was around 560 people in January of 2022. Compared to many towns and villages in Iceland, the Vopnafjörður economy is relatively stable and promising, thereby making it a friendly community.

Community nestled in a beautiful coastal landscape

The school in Vopnafjörður
Vopnafjörður offers good service to the inhabitants

The village is located in a beautiful landscape, and the surrounding area is stunning, which makes Vopnafjörður one of the most beautiful small villages in Iceland and a joy to visit. Similar to most towns and villages around the coastline, exceptional service to the residents is highly valued. There is a preschool, an elementary school, and a middle school in the village. The village also boasts a cultural center, a church, sports facilities, and good medical service. A small store and a gas station in addition to a good campsite with all the necessary facilities are also present . Overall, Vopnafjörður offers a good quality of life for all its inhabitants.

This part of Iceland has its charm but is not part of the mainstream tourism

The local store at Vopnafjörður
The local store offers a good selection if you need to stock up

Unlike many small towns and villages around Iceland, Vopnafjörður is not likely to become a tourist destination. Most people who travel the Ring Road don’t take the time to drive the long loop till Langanes point and Melrakkaslétta peninsula; instead, they stay on road nr. 1 from Egilsstaðir in the east to Mývatn in the north. This loop is quite attractive for those who have more time and can spend two extra days on the Ring Road for a picturesque drive. The environment is harsh and different, and there are several beautiful places to view and experience. The camping site at Vopnafjörður is excellent with several accommodations in the area. Vopnafjörður offers scenic and enjoyable hiking trails like Fuglabjargarnes and Skjólfjörur. If you decide to take this road and visit Vopnafjörður, make sure to visit the small and beautiful swimming pool at Selárdalur, north of the village.

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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