More about Seyðisfjörður
“Made up of multicoloured wooden houses and surrounded by snowcapped mountains and cascading waterfalls, obscenely picturesque Seyðisfjörður is the most historically and architecturally interesting town in east Iceland.” –lonelyplanet
The long, calm, deep fjord of Seydisfjordur twists and turns 17 kilometres from its mouth to the head of the fjord, where the town of the same name shelters beneath Mt. Strandartindur and Mt. Bjolfur.
In the valley above the town, the river Fjardara cascades from the edge of the heath above in innumerable beautiful waterfalls, down to Lon (the lagoon) at the head of the fjord. A road leads up from the fjord, along by the river, to the Herad district, 26 km away across Fjardarheidi heath. Once a hazardous place to travel, the heath is now crossed in a mere half-hour by a high-quality road, commanding splendid views of the surrounding area. The route (Stafirnir) down into Seydisfjordur by the Fjardara river is one of Iceland’s most spectacular roads.
Distance from Reykjavik: 679 km / 422 mi
Seydisfjordur is regarded by many as one of Iceland’s most picturesque towns, not only due to its impressive environment, but also because nowhere in Iceland has a community of old wooden buildings been preserved so well as here. Poet Matthias Johannessen called Seydisfjordur a “pearl enclosed in a shell.”
The community, like so many others in Iceland, owes its origins to foreign merchants, mainly Danes, who started trading in the fjord in the mid-19th century. But the crucial factor in the evolution of the town was the establishment of the Icelandic herring fishery by Norwegians in 1870–1900. The Norwegians built up a number of herring fishing facilities, and in a matter of years the little community grew into a booming town. It received its municipal charter in 1895.
In the early 19th century a new method of construction was developing in Norway. Sawmills started to produce ready-made houses in kit form for export. Businessmen in Seydisfjordur, who had roots in Norway, started importing these splendid excellent-quality buildings – both as homes, business premises and public buildings. Many of these buildings have survived to the present day, giving Seydisfjordur an early-20th-century ambience. The history of the community and its old buildings is recounted in a booklet (Historic Seydisfjordur), which is available to visitors at the Information Centre.
Today 653 people live in Seydisfjordur (Desember 1st 2016). The local economy has long been based on the fisheries, while light industry also flourishes.
Tourism is playing a growing role, as the picturesque town in its spectacular surroundings attracts more and more visitors. The car/passenger ferry Norrona, which plies between continental Europe and Iceland every week, all year round.
Seydisfjordur is on Lonely planet’s top list for “must visit” destinations in Iceland.
Tourism in Seydisfjordur has developed with a focus on history, arts and culture, through the Skaftfell cultural centre, which serves as the centre for visual arts in East Iceland as well as housing two galleries, a Bistro, an internet café and an artists’ atelier.
Throughout the year, Icelandic and foreign art is on exhibition in both galleries, one focusing on established artists and the other on young and upcoming ones.
LungA Art Festival is a yearly event held in Seydisfjordur. In the middle of July people gather for a week in this small town to enjoy the space that gets created by electric vibes from various art forms melting together when young people from all over the world unite in one place through their creativity. The week ends off with a celebration, exhibitions and concerts. More Festivals
The Technical Museum of East Iceland is a living museum that portrays the dawn of modern life in Iceland. Artefacts, pictures and tools from the introduction of modern technology around 1900 to the present times are exhibited in their original settings. Telegraphy, communications. photography, mechanics, town life and architecture. The country’s first telegraph station and oldest mechanical shop are among the houses in the museum area.
The Fjardarsel hydro plant, built in 1913, is one of the oldest AC plants and municipal electric utilities in the Nordic region; it is still in use almost in its original form. The plant is located in picturesque natural surroundings, about half-an-hour’s walk from the town. A small electricity museum is located on the second floor.
A few useful telephone numbers
Health Clinic: +354-470-3060
Emergency Number: +354-112
Information Centre: +354-472-1551
Seydisfjordur Municipality Office: +354-470-2300
Skaftfell – Centre for Visual Art: +354-472-1632
Bus (across Fjardarheidi Heath): +354-472-1515
Iceland Practical Information
Iceland Size: 103,000 km² / 39,756 sq. mi
Population: 325.671 (jan 1st 2014)
Currency: Krona – ISK
Time Zone: GMT (UTC +0)
Telephone Code: +354
Religion: Lutheran (80%)
Tipping: Service and VAT always included in price.
Electricity: 2 pin sockets – 50Hz, 240 volts
Emergency Services Number: 112
Road Conditions Number: 1777
Legal Drinking Age: 20
Vinbudin – a chain of government run off licences. The only stores legally permitted to sell alcoholic beverages.