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There’s good reason to turn off the Ring Road (Hwy 1) at Route 85: the secluded town of Vopnafjörður sits pretty on a scenic stretch of coastline, surrounded by mountains, valleys, sea cliffs and rock formations. The natural wonders are in evidence, but there are great tributes to history here, too: Kaupvangur in the heart of town houses a museum in remembrance of the thousands of emigrants who left the region for Canada and the USA in the wake of the Askja volcanic eruption in 1875. Outside Vopnafjörður, the 250-year-old turf-roofed farm Bustarfell is a folk museum where history comes alive through summertime storytelling and workshops.

The surrounds of Vopnafjörður hold plenty of natural beauty as well as farm guesthouses and cottages ready to welcome visitors keen for a taste of local life. World-renowned salmon-fishing rivers have hosted illustrious guests including the Prince of Wales and George Bush snr. The local birdlife is a magnet for birdwatchers, while coastal walking trails and mountain hikes add more opportunities for active sightseeing. At the end of the day, seek out the remote riverside swimming pool Selárdalslaug for a true local experience.


Walk: Fuglabjarganes is a scenic stretch of coast where birdlife fills the bluffs and rock pillars stand to attention.

Taste: homemade cakes and soup buffets, especially at the Kaupvangkaffi inside Kaupvangur, the restored customs house that acts as the town’s community center.

Soak: at Selárdalslaug, a geothermal swimming pool on the banks on the river Selá.

Road-trip: as an alternative to Route 85, take Route 917 as it travels scenically over the 655-meter pass of Hellisheiði, providing spectacular views. The road is steep and winding but passable for all vehicles in summer.

GPS Points N65° 45' 14.610" W14° 49' 46.159"
Postal codes


Travel directory for Vopnafjörður

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Icelandic craft - Nema-Hvað
  • Hafnarbyggð 7
  • 690 Vopnafjörður
  • 473-1565
BergEy Ferðir
Day Tour Provider
  • Skálanesgata 4
  • 690 Vopnafjörður
  • 844-1153

The view from the observation area is over the Lón (lagoon) - Skógarlón inland and Nýpslón outer. Lón is a nature reserve because of the great variety of animal and bird life in this special situation. Over 40 kinds of small species are in the lagoon, plus fish and birds. Interesting and beautiful to walk along the beaches of the Lón, and the bird life is of great variety.

At the observation point is a sign introducing Vopnafjordur for our guests and mentioning interesting facts about our area.


Vopnfjarðarkirkja church was built in 1903 and is now a historic building. Until that year, there was no church in the village, but there were churches at Refstaður and Hof (both in Hofsárdalur valley).

The altarpiece in Vopnafjarðarkirkja was painted by Jóhannes Kjarval and is called "Savior talks to the people." When bishop Jón Helgason visited the church he is supposed to have said that the people in the painting look like deamons in hell. However, he supposedly added that they seemed to be listening closely to Christ nevertheless.


Towns & Villages

Each town in Austurland has its own characteristics. In some of the coastal villages t, the influence of North European neighbors obvious to everyone. 

The French made a strong impact in Fáskrúðsfjörður where the road signs are made out in French as well as in Icelandic. Norwegian influence is easily detected in the Eskifjörður and Seydisfjörður architecture. No such roots are to be seen in Egilsstadir which is the latest addition to East Iceland agglomeration, founded in the late forties of the 20th century.  

Map Vopnafjörður Borgarfjörður Eystri Egilsstaðir Seyðisfjörður Mjóifjörður Neskaupstaður Breiðdalsvík Eskifjörður Reyðarfjörður Fáskrúðsfjörður Stöðvarfjörður Djúpivogur