One of the smallest, yet mysterious villages in Iceland is named, Mjóifjörður. It can be found in East Iceland and under 10 people call it home year round (as of 2020). So what makes this town so interesting? Firstly, the remoteness. Secondly, the fact it is really only accessible by car about 4 months out of the year due to snow levels. Thirdly, the history runs deep… You’ll have moments of feeling like you stepped back in time. Fourthly, the solitude. Lastly, the things to do within!
History of Mjóifjörður
The direct translation of Mjóifjörður is “Narrow Fjord.” Meanwhile, the 11 mile inlet has so much that entices you to explore! Believe it or not though, this area was once one of the most diverse towns in Iceland in it’s heyday during the early 20th century. In fact, it was once a Norwegian Whaling Station.
However, the village as it stands now, feels abandoned and very mysterious. Our team explored it early September and the one farming family there was gearing up at the lighthouse to herd the sheep back from the mountains. Which is an old Icelandic tradition called Réttir.
How to Get to Mjóifjörður
Getting to Mjóifjörður is an easy turn off Route 1 to 953 (it dead ends at the lighthouse). Drive the road with caution because there are countless switchback turns and you may want to shift down to a lower gear so you don’t burn up your breaks heading down into the fjord. Also, if you venture to the lighthouse, it is gravel road so take care over the potholes. You could take an economy car here in the height of summer, but with the gravel road and potholes, we felt more comfortable in a 4×4.
During the months of June (how soon depends on snow levels), July, August and early-September the road into Mjóifjörður is open. It stays open until the snow levels reach a measurable point. After, your only chance of visiting is a scheduled boat from Norðfjörður.
Iceland Travel Tip: Be aware there are no hotels within the village, but there is a small Guesthouse called Sólbrekka (it was closed when our Iceland Wedding Planner team visited). So your best bet is to day trip in the 1 hour drive from Egilsstaðir. See Google Maps. During the second week of September, our team encountered snow on the mountain pass and bits when we were in the village. Please make sure you check the road conditions to ensure the road is open before you venture there.
10 Things to do in Mjóifjörður
Although the town is tiny, it still offers some really amazing exploration and experiences to indulge in! We whole heartedly encourage you to bring a picnic lunch and spend the day here discovering all that Mjóifjörður has to offer! Today we would love to educate you on the best things to do in Mjóifjörður after your Iceland elopement or wedding…
One of the most stunning waterfalls is the first thing you come to when you come down from the mountain pass coming into the fjord. Firstly there is small parking lot you can pull into. Next, you’ll follow the sign and clear path over a small river and continue to follow the path back. As you’ll see it’s an easy 5 minute walk back. If you have time, you can take your time hiking to the different levels of the Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall. Note: Proper hiking boots are needed if you wish to go to all of the levels (and they help stabilize you when it’s muddy too).
2- Dalatangi Lighthouse
Mjóifjörður is a super sweet historical place. For example, there are two lighthouses if you take the road until it dead ends (see Google Maps). One lighthouse made from basalt, was built in 1895 (and you can still look inside!). And the other Dalatangi Lighthouse, was built in 1908 and is still being used. While taking the journey here, you will be greeted with a spectacular coastline views, savor it! To illustrate, you’ll see 2 fjords meet Loðmundarfjörður and Seyðsifjörður. Note: Take this road slowly as it is very pitted with potholes and is not 2 lanes.
Within Mjóifjörður, you’ll find another treasure of a spot to check out. Also a place that comes with a folklore story too… Prestagil (translated to “The Gorge of the Priests”), is a tiny canyon and waterfall that is said to have a witch haunting it. Apparently, the witch (or old hag some may say) lured two priests into the ravine and stole their souls (or gained power over them others say).
Side note: Icelandic folklore stories don’t often have happy endings. Note: This ravine waterfall area is near to Klifbrekkufossar Waterfall and you cannot miss the sign. However it is difficult to find direct parking, so it is best to find a safe spot and hike back to it.
After World War II, a US Navy ship was bought by local farmers and thought East Iceland would benefit from it. However, it’s now forever resting place is within the tiny town of Mjóifjörður. Well over 70 years later, this once powerful vessel is now a permanent shipwreck on the shore rusting away. Either way it’s a fantastic photo opportunity for you to get up and close to another piece of history! See Google Maps if you’re interested in discovering it during your Iceland road trip.
5- Search for Jellyfish!
Did you know there are jellyfish in Iceland? To my surprise, many years ago while SUP boarding one evening in Nauthólsvík, I ran into a colony of them! I had not seen them anywhere else until out Iceland Wedding Planner team found our way to Mjóifjörður. The fjord was full of them both in the water and on the shore. Most commonly found is the moon jellyfish type. So be on the lookout if your biology lover during your visit to Mjóifjörður!
6- Brekkukirkja in Mjóifjörður
The history lesson continues with a crown jewel of the town being Brekkukirkja which was built well before 1890. It was moved from a farm to it’s current location in the heart of the 10 person town in 1891. Totally worth a quick look and photo stop if you’re not pressed for time!
7-Discover Village Ruins
Countless farm ruins line the coastline of Mjóifjörður. Especially be on the lookout for them when you head to the lighthouses!
Are you a fan of waterfalls? Good news! There is another “must see” waterfall in Mjóifjörður named, Hofsafoss Waterfall. While on the way to Dalatangi Lighthouse, you’ll cross a bridge and see the waterfall while on the bridge. A few feet away, you’ll find a small parking lot and marked hiking trail to hike up to it should you desire.
9- Have a Picnic in Mjóifjörður!
Throughout the Mjóifjörður countryside, you’ll stumble upon many picnic tables or primo spots to have a picnic! For instance, near to the shipwreck there is a table with a waterfall view just waiting for you. Truly a perfect town to bring along lunch and have your own picnic as you’ll only find 360 views and solitude. Remember, there are no stores or restaurants here so make sure you bring your own food (and take your trash with you!).
10- Steinsnesa Valley Hike
Shortly before you arrive to the lighthouses, you’ll pass another bridge that goes over the river named Steinsnesa. If you’re up for a short hike, find a safe spot to park your car nearby to this bridge. You’ll hike back (you can follow the “sheep path / road”) and the beautiful valley opens up and looking the other direction, you’ll also find a beautiful fjord view in the opposite direction!
Eloping in Mjóifjörður
Maybe after reading through all of these beautiful things this tiny village has to offer, you want to explore the idea of getting married in Mjóifjörður… Our team would love to chat with you about the possibilities! Feel free to contact us for more information on getting that Iceland elopement adventure started!
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