Seyðisfjörður is a beautiful, quaint fishing port with its modest 750 inhabitants, located on the banks of one of the longest fjords in eastern Iceland.
The Seyðisfjörður fjord extends for 17 kilometers and offers an absolutely exceptional view down the winding valley. It is simply one of the most visually-striking fjords in Iceland and one of the jewels of the East Coast.
Hedged in between two superb mountains, the Strandartindur and Bjólfur, this place has a lot of charm. Going down Route 93, the views of the fjord with its vivid contrasts are simply exceptional. The road there over the mountain is often shrouded in mist before arriving in Seyðisfjörður valley where the blue sky opens up before you, a truly unforgettable experience.
Unsurprisingly, Seydisfjordur's main sector is fishing, especially herring, and fishing boats can be seen sailing back and forth down the fjord. The coming and going of Norröna cruise ships bring a lot of tourists and indeed bring the city to life. The ships disembark their passengers on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, which is when the Seyðisfjörður craft market is held.
Seydisfjordur is known for being an artistic capital, and not just for music. Indeed, after Reykjavik, this town has the most art galleries and design shops than any other in the country.
The small light blue church (Bláa Kirkjan), inspired by Norway, is the symbol of this village. You will also spot typically Scandinavian and therefore very colorful houses, their reflections shimmering and dancing on the water, making this port one of the most picturesque in the country.
This fjord is all about the dramatic entrance. Whether by car or by boat, it is absolutely unforgettable when you come into view of the village completely surrounded between the Strandartindur (1010 m) and Bjólfur (1085 m) mountains. And Route 93 is studded with exceptional viewpoints, allowing you to photograph the village from above.
In winter the drive is magnificent but the road there is regularly closed, which further isolates the small village. Also the fact that it is surrounded by relatively high mountains means Seyðisfjörður has very little light in winter.
There are numerous waterfalls along 93 to the small port, including the beautiful Gufufoss, and it is not unusual to see a few foxes on the way.
Seyðisfjörður can be reached by sea by ferry company Smyrilline, which is the only company currently offering travel to Iceland by boat from Denmark.
You can also reach this quaint port via road 93 coming from Egilsstaðir which is another gem of the eastern fjords.
The fact of having these very regular tourist arrivals in summer means Seyðisfjörður can be busier than you might think, given how remote it is from the main sites along road number 1 and the largest cities.
From Egilsstaðir it takes less than 30 minutes (27 km) to reach Seydisfjordur. The city can also be reached by bus via line 3 of the SVAUST company, which serves the Eastern Fjords.
For a night's stay and a good meal, the Aldan Hotel and the Snaefell Hotel are the most famous in the village. For a drink, we recommend the Café Lara near the church which serves local craft beer that is top shelf.
For lunch, the Skaftfell Bistro is also a great find with an original decor where you can wine and dine in the middle of a library.
The village offers camping locations between May 1 and October 30. The rate is 1650 ISK per adult. The campsite is right in the center and very well located to enjoy the best view of the fjord.
Seyðisfjörður Blue Church - Andrew Mayovskyy @AdobeStock
The small and picturesque light blue Bláa Kirkjan church is the main attraction and even sometimes hosts music events during the Blue Church Summer Concert. The city's beautiful emblematic place of worship is then transformed into a concert hall for classical, blues, or jazz music. In fact, there are many concerts during the summer holiday period between July 1 and August 12.
The LungA festival takes place every year in July and brings together artists from all over the country to celebrate the arts with performances, various exhibitions, and other events.
Art-lovers will enjoy the Seydisfjordur Visual Arts Center, one of the country's top contemporary art museums that offers numerous exhibitions.
The Toekniminjasafn Museum, near the port, will teach you a little about the history of fishing in eastern Iceland.
Kayaking in Seydisfjörður
Kayaking in the fjord is a very popular activity for tourists in summer, and there is also horseback riding (or bike rentals if you prefer) along the banks of this stunning fjord.
In winter, you should know that there is a ski slope in Seydisfjordur! Indeed, the Stafdalur resort is located along route 93 above the village.
A number of hiking trails are available, running up the flanks of the two mountains that surround Seyðisfjörður, from short hikes on the heights of Seydisfjordur (more information here) to a multi-day expedition that is part of the famous trail leading from Borgarfjörður Eystri to Seydisfjordur.
For the bravest, if you complete a specific trek known as the “Seven Peaks” you will go home with an official certificate naming you a “Viking of the Seyðisfjörður Mountains”. The goal is to scale the seven mountains that surround the fjord in 24 hours, including the highest, Bjólfur. To complete this adventure, you can find a detailed map at the village tourist office.
In the mountains above Seyðisfjörður, you will find a surprising concrete sculpture named Tvisongur, which was signed by a German artist named Lukas Kühne. When it gets windy, you realize the sculpture is in fact a wind instrument, but it's worth the walk just for the fantastic view of the city. It's easy to find, just a 300 meter walk in the direction of Skálanes from the parking lot in the town center.
After 20 minutes of fairly easy uphill walking, you will see the 5 concrete domes of Tvisongur, the smallest being 2 meters high, the highest being 4. Each dome has its own resonance that corresponds to a tone, and together they create a five-tone harmony that is at the heart of the Icelandic musical tradition. You can even test this using your own voice. Here, the view of the harbor and the fjord is truly unparalleled.
Finally, at the far end of the Seydisfjordur fjord is the Skálanes Nature Reserve. In addition to its magnificent landscapes, bird-watchers will be delighted by the reserve's large colony of eiders.