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Exploring the Hidden Gem of East Iceland: A Journey into Seydisfjordur

Nestled in the heart of East Iceland, Seydisfjordur is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This quaint fishing village welcomes you with its kaleidoscope of colorful houses, offering a delightful backdrop to a culturally rich and friendly community. 


Whether you're feasting on exquisite local cuisine, exploring breathtaking landscapes, or simply soaking up the vibrant atmosphere, Seydisfjordur promises an unforgettable holiday experience. The town's iconic rainbow-colored street is just one of the many treasures you'll encounter. 


This is the only guide you'll need to plan your trip, from the journey to must-visit attractions and practical tips for travelers. Let's dive in!


Seydisfjordur

History and Economy of Seydisfjordur 


Seydisfjordur has a history that is as colorful as its houses. Early evidence of settlement traces back to Iceland's initial settling period, yet it wasn't until the 19th century that Norwegian fishermen officially established this charming town. Seydisfjordur quickly rose to prosperity through herring fishing, becoming the wealthiest town in eastern Iceland. 


Its prosperity era is reflected in the town's architecture, with many wooden buildings originating from this period. Some were even transported, disassembled, from Norway, providing a unique Norwegian architectural flair amidst Iceland's dramatic landscapes. However, the herring boom wasn't to last. Post-boom, Seydisfjordur found a new role as a strategic base for American and British armies during World War II. 


It was during this time that the British oil tanker, the El Grillo, was scuttled in the fjord to prevent further attacks—creating a now-popular site for scuba divers with its sunken ruins. Despite past economic ups and downs, today's Seydisfjordur thrives on a mix of fishing, tourism, and handicrafts, remaining a must-visit stop on Icelandic cruise routes and a testament to resilience and cultural richness.



How To Get To Seyðisfjörður in Iceland


Navigating Seydisfjordur might seem daunting, but it's quite an adventure with the right mode of transport. Renting a car in Iceland is the most convenient and flexible way to explore this breathtaking landscape. Why? 


Because, unlike the patchwork of public transport options, which includes hopping on bus 57 to Akureyri, then switching to Egilsstadir with an overnight break – a real hassle – having your own vehicle means freedom and ease. 


Imagine driving the Ring Road, with its 8-9 hour stretch offering uninterrupted natural beauty, choosing between the scenic clockwise route through Borgarfjordur and Akureyri or the anticlockwise path that weaves through iconic Icelandic highlights like the Skogafoss and Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.



Things to Do in Seydisfjordur


When you reach Seydisfjordur, it's time to start exploring this charming town with its breathtaking scenery. Here are just a few of the must-see attractions and activities to add to your itinerary:


Experience Art in Seydisfjordur


Art in Seyðisfjörður isn't just an activity; it's a pulsating part of the community's heart, bringing together locals and visitors in celebration of creativity. With its stunning natural backdrop, this town transforms into a vibrant canvas for artists worldwide. Here's a snapshot of what makes the art scene here so special:


  • LungA Art Festival: Held in mid-July, this festival is a dynamic mix of musical acts, art exhibitions, live concerts, and workshops, attracting global visitors eager to immerse themselves in Seyðisfjörður's art culture.

  • List í Ljósi Festival: Celebrating the return of sunshine after the long winter, the town switches off all lights to welcome the light, illuminated by contemporary artwork from across the globe, creating a mesmerizing experience.

  • Skaftafell Center for Visual Art: For those who appreciate contemporary art, this center is a haven of tranquility where one can enjoy exhibitions in a serene setting, making it a must-visit spot for art lovers.




Take a Guided Tour


Exploring Seydisfjordur with a guided tour unlocks the marvels of Icelandic nature and history in ways you've never imagined. Here is what you can expect:


  • Witness the incredible contrast of Icelandic nature, from fertile valleys to desolate highlands.

  • Visit Fljótsdalur Power Station, one of Europe's largest hydroelectric plants, and learn about its fascinating engineering.

  • Explore a restored farm dating back to 1843, giving insight into traditional Icelandic life.

  • Marvel at deep ravines and a hot geothermal waterfall on the famous 'waterfall circle' tour.

  • Visit the Wilderness Center to immerse yourself in the history of Iceland, from Viking settlers to modern-day life.




Visit the Technical Museum and Blue Church


Beyond the breathtaking natural wonders, Seydisfjordur houses gems of cultural and technical significance that beg to be explored. Notably, the Technical Museum of East Iceland offers a deep dive into the region's innovative spirit. It's where the past meets the present, showcasing the evolution of technology and industry in Iceland. From early telecommunications equipment to maritime artifacts, each exhibit tells a story of ingenuity and survival in this remote part of the world.


Another must-visit landmark is the Blue Church. Standing as an iconic symbol of Seydisfjordur, its distinctive blue hue against the lush green landscape captures the eye and the imagination. Known officially as Bláa Kirkjan, this picturesque church hosts a summer concert series featuring an array of musicians that fill the town with melodies. Beyond its architectural beauty and serene location, the church serves as a cultural hub that brings together the community and visitors in a celebration of art, music, and fellowship.


Blue church Seydisfjordur

Discover Seydisfjordur's Waterfall Wonders


Seydisfjordur is a haven for waterfall enthusiasts, each cascade offering its unique charm and story. Here are some of the notable waterfalls to explore:


  • Gufufoss: Strikingly visible on the approach to Seydisfjordur via road, this powerful waterfall resembles a mini-version of Skogafoss. Its accessibility and the misty ambiance make it a favorite among visitors.

  • Fardagafoss: Tucked away on the outskirts of Egilsstadir, a hike to Fardagafoss rewards with not just the main cascade but also a hidden cave behind the waterfall, offering a unique vantage point and an intimate experience with nature.

  • Studlafoss (Basalt Column Waterfall): Renowned for its surrounding hexagonal basalt columns, which are a marvel of geological formations, Studlafoss is less visited but highly recommended for those interested in the unique interplay between water and rock formations.


Gufufoss

Taste Local Cuisine


When it comes to tasting the local cuisine in Seydisfjordur, you're in for a delightful treat. Icelandic dishes are known for their purity and simplicity, mirroring the country's landscape. Seafood delicacies, in particular, are something you don't want to miss. Here are a couple of spots where you can indulge in the local flavors:


  • Nord Austur Sushi & Bar: This gem combines the Icelandic love of fresh seafood with Japanese sushi artistry. Imagine indulging in sushi rolls prepared with the day's catch from the surrounding North Atlantic waters. It's a culinary experience that seamlessly marries local ingredients with international finesse.

  • Bistro Skaftfell: Catering to a wide range of palates, Bistro Skaftfell is a cultural and social hub where art and cuisine blend beautifully. Their menu offers a taste of traditional Icelandic dishes with a modern twist, like local squid with bacon and lemon or lemon sole with potatoes and capers.


Best Time To Visit Seyðisfjörður 


Visiting Seyðisfjörður is a beautiful experience, regardless of the season, each offering its unique perspective of this enchanting town. However, to maximize your visit based on natural wonders and cultural events, consider timing your trip accordingly:


  • Summer (June-August): Ideal for hiking, exploring waterfalls, and attending local festivals like the LungA Art Festival and List í Ljósi Festival. Long days and milder weather make outdoor activities enjoyable.

  • Winter (December-February): Perfect for those who love snowy landscapes and Northern Lights. The town is quieter, but its beauty is unmatched, offering a serene winter wonderland experience.

  • Spring (April-May) and Fall (September-October): Great times for those seeking solitude and the beauty of transition seasons. Witness the awakening or the winding down of nature with fewer tourists around.


Visit Seyðisfjörður 

FAQs About Seydisfjordur


Is Seyðisfjörður worth visiting?


Absolutely! Seyðisfjörður's unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and cultural vibrancy makes it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a profound and authentic Icelandic experience.


What is Seyðisfjörður, Iceland known for?


Seyðisfjörður is renowned for its stunning fjords, vibrant arts scene, distinctive wooden architecture, and a strong sense of community, all set against the backdrop of Iceland's dramatic landscape.


How do I get to Seyðisfjörður, Iceland?


The best way to get to Seyðisfjörður is by renting a car and driving the scenic Route 93 from Egilsstaðir.


Where can I see the puffins in Seydisfjordur?

exploring-the-hidden-gem-of-east-iceland-a-journey-into-seydisfjordur

Puffins can be spotted along the coastline during the summer months, especially around the cliffs and islands near Seyðisfjörður, where they come to nest and fish.


What is the best way to experience Seyðisfjörður's nature?


The best way to experience Seyðisfjörður's nature is through its hiking trails, which offer stunning views, serene landscapes, and intimate encounters with local wildlife and the area's natural beauty.


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