A charming fishing village and port in the middle of Iceland's eastern fjords, Eskifjörður is surrounded by a spectacular panorama of glaciers, icebergs, volcanoes and waterfalls accessible via land and boat. Two mountains, Eskja and Hólmatindur, dominate the fjord; Hólmatindur is renowned by locals as the most beautiful mountain in the vicinity.
In 1786, Eskifjörður was established as an official trading post and has been a commercial centre since 1798. In 1998, Eskifjörður joined Neskaupstaður and Reyðarfjörður to form the new municipality of Fjarðabyggð, or 'fjords-settlement'.
Since village culture and industry has been shaped by the sea, a stroll through Eskifjörður is recommended. Along the way, historical buildings, piers and the Maritime Museum offer a splendid look at the vestiges of the town's seafaring history, as does the Randulfssjóhús Lodge, unchanged since 1890. You can taste the shark and dried fish still produced here utilizing traditional methods observed for generations, or set sail around the picturesque fjord and try your hand at fishing the teeming coastal waters.
Eskifjörður's geology is especially notable for producing some of the most beautiful and exquisite stones in existence. Some of the world's largest spar crystals have been excavated from one of the most famous spar mines along the coast, and thousands of polished, cut and original stones from all over the island are displayed in the Sören & Sigurborg Stone Museum, and the Petra Collection in Stöðvarfjörður.
Due to its compact size, Eskifjörður can be easily explored in just a single day.
Going Ashore in Eskifjörður
The ship may be docked at the Hafskipabryggja Pier. Eskifjörður's town centre can be reached via a five-minute taxi ride or 15 minutes on-foot.
Eskifjörður is home to several galleries, souvenir and craft shops. Among them is Gamlabúð, built in 1816, which also houses the Maritime Museum Of East Iceland. You can also browse arts and crafts made of glass and clay at Verkstaedi Kotu, along with giftware, candles and flowers at Boggablom.
The cold, clear, teeming waters along the coast of Eskifjörður offer a bounty of delectable seafood selections popular among residents and visitors alike. Among the favourites are fresh fish and seafood dishes, French-influenced cuisine, lamb, soups, crepes, and cakes. Popular restaurants in-and-around Eskifjörður include Randulf's Sea-House, Café Sumarlina, Hotel Alden, Bistro Skaftfell, and Coffee Shop Kaffihúsið.
Eskifjörður's accessibility makes it easy to discover some of the jewels of East Iceland, including the Reyðarfjörður Fjord, French-influenced Fáskrúðsfjörður Fjord and Village, Sandfell Mountain, Stöðvarfjörður Fjord and Village, and Neskaupstaður, East Iceland's largest fishing village.
Eskifjörður's seafaring and fishing history can be traced through a series of historic displays and artefacts found at the Maritime and Fransmenn Islandi museums. Photos, models and weapons depicting Eskifjörður's involvement in World War II can be observed at the Icelandic Wartime Museum on Reyðarfjörður Fjord.
A sculpture by Ragnar Kjartansson is located along the main road in Eskifjördur, and commemorates the mariners who drowned at sea.
Eskifjörður's pristine natural beauty and diverse topography combine to create a wonderful array of outdoor activities, including nature-watching, bird-watching, caving, hiking, ice-climbing, skiing, reindeer-hunting, horseback-riding, watching the Northern Lights, and more. Eskifjörður's picturesque fjord and teeming coastal waters are central to the village's maritime history, and provide the ideal setting for a scenic and relaxing day of boating, fishing and kayaking amidst spectacular icebergs, glaciers and waterfalls.
Nestled in the foreground of beautiful Mt. Hólmatindur, the Hólmanes Nature Reserve is home to over 150 species of vegetation and diverse bird species that include seabirds, wading birds, moas, ducks, and geese. At Vöðlavík, marvel at the deserted bay with its black sandy beach. A beautiful nine-hole golf course is situated at Byggdarholtsvollur, just outside town, and highly recommended for golf fans.
Following a day of sightseeing, a visit to the local Eskifjörður Swimming Pool is also recommended. It offers two hot tubs, a sauna, three different water slides, a children's pool, and breath-taking panoramic vistas over the bay and to the mountains.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board.