In the far north of Iceland, lost in the Eyjafjörður region, lies the town of Dalvik. Boasting nearly 1,400 inhabitants, this is actually one of the most important fishing ports in the country.
If you're looking for a typical northern Iceland village, your best bet will be the Tröllaskagi peninsula. Dalvik, Olafsfjörður, and Siglufjörður are the three main small fishing ports on the peninsula.
You reach Dalvík via Road 82, about 50 km north of Akureyri, the northern capital. Even though this fishing port is located a bit away from route number 1, it is worth stopping by, just like the other villages on the north coast.
Located at almost the same latitude as Húsavik, the Dalvik region is ideally situated to admire the midnight sun from mid-June to mid-July. The silvery light of the midnight sun really brings out the colorful houses in the harbor, it's quite unlike anything else.
Much like Husavik, numerous tour companies in this region offer excursions to admire whales and other dolphins basking in the coastal waters off the port.
Some tours extend to Grimsey Island, further north (67 km), for anyone who wants to cross the mythical Arctic Circle!
There is also a very famous café in the city center: the Helgi Café. In addition to the superb setting and welcoming hosts, the food served there is simply exquisite.
Very close to Dalvik, in Húsabakki, lies the Svaraðardalur nature reserve, which is a beautiful patch of wilderness where you can discover the local avifauna. Take a tour of the reserve for a great family-friendly experience, with fun exhibits and activities rather than scientific speeches, which kids always enjoy!
There is also a museum in the center of Dalvik, the Hvoll Museum, which boasts a great collection of historic artefacts but also natural history and taxidermy, the most famous of which is a polar bear that drifted over to Dalvik a few years ago quite literally via an Iceberg coming from Greenland. There is also an exhibit dedicated to the earthquake that shook Dalvik in 1934.
The second week of August sees Davik come alive during the fish festival on the port. Sponsored by the main shipping company that operates in these waters, the festival is an opportunity to come together to celebrate and eat delicious fish recipes: dried fish, herring salad, hakarl (homemade shark), and all sorts of fresh-caught fish grilled in every which way.
The fish festival really shouldn't be missed if you are in the region on that day.
There are two fairly well known hikes in the region.
The first trail connects Dalvik and Olafsfjördur, starting at a car park near the abandoned Karlsà farm, right next to a memorial stone. It's a physical hike, but the view of the surrounding landscape is absolutely magnificent.
From there, go back down to the Bustarbrekudalur valley, and after about 1H15 you will reach the lake. The whole hike takes about 5H30 to get to Olafsfjordur where you can finish off in style taking a dip in the hot water pool!
The second hike, much shorter, is the “Elf Peninsula”. This trail departs from the Kot farm, at the end of Svarfadardalur, stay close to the blue markings as you follow the fence heading south, towards the slope. The trail then goes towards Vatnsdalur and up to Lake Skeidsvatn (hiking time 1 hour). From here, the view is absolutely splendid.
The return is downhill so it goes a little faster, so you can estimate 1H30 to 2H in total to complete the hike.
Photo credit : © Rudolf Tepfenhart Fotolia