Likely you’ve never heard of the tiny town of Vopnafjörður unless you’re a seeker of offbeat places or an avid reader of our blog. Because often when people plan their adventure around the island this area is overlooked. Mainly do to the fact you do not drive through the village if you’re sticking to Route 1. However, this magical place is worth a day trip at the very least… In fact, use this guide to plan your visit!
Vopnafjörður Village History
The history of this picturesque Northern Fjord town starts in the 9th century when Vikings settled it. Next, Vopnafjörður directly translated means, “Weapon Fjord.” Meanwhile, over the centuries the area becomes a well known trade route, one of the best places in the world for salmon fishing, eider ducks, stellar bird watching and serene hikes. Further, the village stands strong with approximately 700 residents both within the town and outlying farmland areas. Finding your way here, means you need to drive 30-40 minutes one way off of route one. To illustrate, the turn off is at Road #85 when near Northeast Iceland.
Guide to Vopnafjörður
Ideally once you find your way to Vopnafjörður, you will have at least a full day to enjoy it during your Iceland self drive adventure. Maybe even two or three days if you have the time to spare! After all, there is something to do for all interests and ages! Come along with us today as we share all of the details…
Things to Do
Do you love untouched landscapes? Hiking among Instagramable fjords? Being away from over populated tourist locations? Well then choosing what you will do for the day in Vopnafjörður will be a tough choice! For example, you have amazing options such as as the following:
Being within a fjord area, water is abundant especially coming from inside the mountains. Therefore, waterfalls usually follow from the cliffs, lava, or from the salmon rivers. Firstly, the most known waterfall is named, Gljúfursárfoss which can be found on the other side of the fjord on Road #917. Secondly, the entire road (#917) opposite the town is full of waterfalls on the right hand side (if driving towards), worth a look! Thirdly, there is a stunning lava rock black beach waterfall on the way to Fuglabjarganes Cliffs. Fourthly, many private property waterfalls can also be found here near the exclusive fishing lodge and surrounding farms.
Fjord Swimming Pool
Did you know almost every single town (big or small) in Iceland has a pool? And the local swimming pool in this town sits along a beautiful salmon river! Selárdalslaug has a large lap pool, sundeck, and hot pot to delight in!
No matter if you’re a church goer or not, the countryside church in Vopnafjörður and nearby one in Hof is freaking adorable! So much character, charm and history!
Hiking in Vopnafjörður
There are many different types of hikes you can embark on while visiting Vopnafjörður. For instance, our personal favorite is Fuglabjarganes. Which is a magical seaside trek to a waterfall, sea cliffs, amazing rock formations, and phenomenal bird watching! Also another not to miss hike is Skjólfjörur – Ljósastapi to some beautiful oceanside rock formations. Certainly, there are longer hikes to take, through lava, and the local forest area too. All depends on how much time you wish to hike!
One of Iceland’s oldest traditions is still very much thriving and alive in Vopnafjörður… Eider duck farming! This specific activity is one very close to our Iceland Wedding Planner teams hearts. And good news, you get the opportunity to potentially experience it yourself too if you’re in the area between May 25 – July 3rd. Check out our friends at Ytra-Nýpur.
Although Iceland as a whole is not a sought after location for premium golfing. However it is the novelty of saying you have golfed in Iceland and the views that come along with it. Luckily Skálavöllur awaits you in this fabulous Northeastern village!
People from around the world gravitate to Vopnafjörður for first class salmon fishing. As a matter of fact, celebrities like Prince Charles and Gordon Ramsay do to! We’ve heard it is exclusive, pricey, and has a long wait list, so make your plans early!
Sagas and Museum Visit
As we alluded to previously, this tiny fjord town offers some unique history including and Icelandic Saga! Also, if you’re a museum goer, Bustarfell Museum is a lovely traditional experience. Frankly, it feels like you have stepped back into time!
Nearby to Vopnafjörður
Basing yourself in Vopnafjörður can be a central area if you’re looking to explore any of the following places:
- Stuðlagil Canyon (1 hour 15 minutes)
- Vök Baths (1 hour 30 minutes away)
- Dettifoss and Selfoss Waterfalls (1 hour 30 minutes)
- Arctic Henge (1 hour 45 minutes)
- Stórurð (2 hours)
Although there is a basic hotel in the town, we do not suggest you stay there from our personal experience. Rather, we suggest you check out Síreksstaðir for an authentic Icelandic farm stay. Why? They restaurant focuses on farm to table. Plus, at least one of their cabins has a hot tub so make sure you try to rent that one! Also, the owners working sheep farm is behind the guesthouse and cottages so if you’re keen to experience lambing time in Iceland (April-June) ask the owners in advance to add on a visit there. Meanwhile, if you’re visiting between May and September, the campground is operating.
Where to Eat
Options are quite limited when you are looking to eat in Vopnafjörður. First, if you seek a nice meal hands down your best option is Síreksstaðir Restaurant (24km from the town center). Frankly, it was the best reindeer carpaccio I’ve ever had in Iceland! Second, inside the N1 fuel station, there is a grill named, Aldan which serves up delicious comfort foods like sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, etc.
Following suit with the food establishments, shopping is just as limited. To illustrate, if looking to grocery shop then be sure to stop at Kauptún. Be aware the town pharmacy is also inside. Next, Vínbúðin is the local liquor store where you can purchase anything you wish but the selection will not be extravagant. Lastly, the N1 Fuel Station has a small shop named Aldan behind it. Inside you can buy ice cream, basic snacks, drinks, and items you may need for cooking/camping.
Getting Married in Vopnafjörður
Dreaming of planning a elopement or wedding in Vopnafjörður? Surely it’s an exciting prospect if you’ve fallen in love with the magic of these Northeastern fjords. Because many areas fall onto private or the towns property, it is important to involve a local Iceland Wedding Planner to help you secure the proper permissions and/or permits. Feel free to contact us for more information on making the dream a reality!