We sail in to Seyðisfjörður in the middle of a snowstorm and the valley is covered in a thick white blanket, making Iceland’s most picturesque town even more charming. Snowstorms like these result in the town becoming inaccessible by road and today no cars will enter or leave the valley.
We set off from the pier and pass the old houses, which mark the history of the town and are said to be the best-preserved ornate wooden buildings in Iceland. A small handicraft shop is located on the corner of the main road, where a lady knits the woollen jumpers and scarves that are on sale. A house displays carved wooden figures on the lawn and nearby a wall has been beautifully decorated in Icelandic street art. We follow the main road past the colourful houses, towards the Old Apothecary Guesthouse. A bridge leads over the River Fjardara, which runs through the middle of the town.
Kalli Lára is a cafeteria/pub located near the river that is known for producing its own beer, El Grillo, which is sold throughout the country. The name of the beer comes from an oil tanker which was bombed and sunk off the shore during the second World War and is now used as a diver’s wreck. Seyðisfjörður was used a base for British and American forces during WWII and traces of the old landing strip are also still evident.
The old wooden church of Seyðisfjörður, known as the Blue Church, is one of the main attractions of this town. In 1920 the church was moved across the fjord to its current location. Close to the church is a rock that is said to be inhabited by elves. According to local legend, the rock sailed after the Church across the fjord, as the elves missed the beautiful church music. During the summer, musical concerts and recitals are held here each week.
Next to the church is an unusual avalanche monument. The steep sided valley is prone to avalanches and in 1885 several houses were pushed straight into the fjord, killing 24 people. Another avalanche in 1996 flattened a local factory and the twisted girders from the factory were painted white and made into the monument on the spot where they were found.
Another unique sculpture in the area is located on the mountainside overlooking the town. Tvísöngur is a site-specific sound sculpture made by German artist, Lukas Kühne and inspired by the ancient fimundarsöngur or tvísöngur two-part singing style that is said to date back to the Vikings. The concrete structure consists of five interconnected domes, ranging in height between two and four metres. Each dome has a resonance that corresponds to a tone in the Icelandic musical tradition of five-tone harmony, to which it works as a natural amplifier.
- Information provided by Cruise and Maritime
- Insight Guides Iceland
- Information provided by tourism office in Seyðisfjörður