The charming, typical port of Siglufjörður is located far up north, in fact it is one of the northernmost village in the country.
Located at the tip of the beautiful Tröllaskagi peninsula in a beautiful fjord, Siglufjörður is as remote as it is picturesque.
With the Strákar and Dalabæjarfjall rising on one side with Hestskarðsdalur towering 855 meters above sea level from the other, this is a village surrounded by giants.
Siglufjörður, just like Ólafsfjörður, is part of the municipality of Fjallabyggð. To get there you can take Road 76 which runs along the coastline from Varmahlið, or if you're coming from Akureyri or Dalvik, you'll want Road 82 for a total travel time of 1H15 between Akureyri and Siglufjörður.
The drive there is memorable for many visitors due to the endless tunnels! The ones in Iceland are quite special. There are two tunnels separating Siglufjörður and Dalvik, and these are single-lane roads, so you'll have to give way when a car ends up driving right towards you. More than one visitor has been scared half to death in situations like this...
Route 76 is often closed in winter, because winter in Iceland can make of mess of just about any road, and sometimes the village can be quite isolated.
The pretty church of Siglufjörður perched on a small hill in the village
This was for a long time one of the most populated and prosperous villages in Iceland, counting up to 3,000 inhabitants in 1950. Initially specialized in shark fishing at the beginning of the 20th century, the village then transitioned to herring fishing and became the “capital of herring”.
As the herring stock dwindled, the village lost many inhabitants to reach only 1,200 today. Although Siglufjörður still makes a living from fishing, now tourism is a huge source of economic income, and it's no surprise. The small fjord and village are among the most beautiful in Iceland with the typical colorful houses mirrored in the waters of the port.
The old fishing sheds have also been beautifully refurbished in bright yellow, red and blue, and are now restaurants with great menus and ambiances.
The village has become a bit of a tourist attraction, but remains a very peaceful place, remote enough that visitors can count on it.
In recent years the town gained some clout an Icelandic series, Trapped, was filmed there, and a popular detective series by one of the top Icelandic writers, Ragnar Jónasson, was set there too.
The port and the colorful buildings of Siglufjörður
Siglufjörður is known primarily for its picture-perfect charm with the fjord and typical fishing harbour. Near the port you'll find several restaurants and bars such as the “Kaffi Rauðka”, the “Hannes Boy”, or even a family brewery, “Segull 67", which has a guided tour available.
In the city center stands a statue of Bjarni, a priest considered by locals to be the leading historic figure who made the city what it is today.
Nearby is the very pretty Siglufjarðarkirkja church, built in 1932 in the heart of the village with the mountains rising dramatically behind it. And while the village is difficult to reach in winter, there is plenty of skiing to do around there, especially in Skarðsdalur.
And there's lots of hiking to do as well in the area with 19 kilometers of marked trails.
The Heðinsfjorður hiking trail, via the Hestskarð and Hólsskarð passes, is a top choice. The bravest can also climb to the top of Hvanneyrarskál in 5 or 6 hours.
For the culture-vultures, Siglufjörður also has two museums with a very good reputation:
The Síldarminjasafnið herring museum is the biggest industrial museum in Iceland. Its three buildings teach visitors all there is to know about fishing and its history in Siglufjörður, with the first building set up like a real fish factory.
In the second building you'll find a 68-ton ship that dates back to 1946, the Týr SK 33. And in Róaldsbrakki, the last building, you'll find exhibitions of vintage photos each more fascinating than the last.
The Folk Music Center, Þjóðlagasetur, was the home of Bjarni Þorsteinsson between 1888 and 1898. Bjarni was a great musician, a national treasyre in fact, and several of his songs remain very popular today. The Folk Music Center is home to numerous Icelandic musical instruments, and focuses on traditional Icelandic music which is very much a unique branch.
The museum is open May to September, but you can book visits during the winter period. Admission costs ISK 1,800 per adult and ISK 1,000 for seniors.
Finally, every summer in August, the Siglufjörður herring festival is a unique tradition that you really shouldn't miss if you are visiting. Everyone take part in the festivities, and even all get together for salting and cleaning herrings the old-fashioned way.
The port of Siglufjörður
The charming village of Siglufjörður offers two campsites for the budget conscious. The first is located right in the center of the village and the second a little outside towardes the airport. The rate in recent years is roughly ISK 1,300 per adult.
Hotels and guesthouses are few and far between in the village but we highly recommend the Siglo Hotel (see photo above), for its great value and location with great views of the colorful houses that make the place so charming!