Sitting practically separated from the mainland, on the frayed Westfjords Peninsula, Isafjordur rose to prosperity thanks to its natural harbour and rich fishing waters. A visit here puts magical scenery within easy reach, such as the graceful tumbling waters of the Dynjandi waterfall – where a wide flow cascades like a bridal dress down the grey rocks. The mesmerising scenery, and rich birdlife of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is also close by, and no less beguiling. Sweeping waves of rich green marshland make for a striking contrast to Iceland's blackened landscape, with sparkling brooks cutting through wildflower sprinkled beauty, and jutting peaks providing a ragged, revitalising backdrop.
Anglers will love the local ice fishing, which involves boring a hole into the ice, and plucking fish from the dark depths below. The Isafjordur Maritime Museum offers a fascinating introduction to the region's fishing heritage, and you’ll be offered a taste of a divisive local delicacy - fermented shark. Enter to also learn about the Cod Wars, which saw plucky Icelandic coast guards facing up to the might of the British Navy, as the two quarrelled over fishing rights in these fruitful waters. The nearby Vestfirdir Tunnel is another example of stubborn Icelandic endeavour, with a single lane tunnel bored into the sheer rock, connecting three towns along the way. There’s only one lane for traffic - so it’s fair to say that driving can be a somewhat nerve-wracking experience. Like most things in Isafjordur, however, the locals pull together to ensure that it simply works - with cars pulling into passing spaces to allow traffic to negotiate Iceland’s volcanic scenery in both directions.
For such a small town, the people here certainly like to celebrate - and there are festivals throughout the year - from winter's prestigious Cross Country Ski tournament - Fossavatn Ski Marathon, which skids into town during April, to the quirky swamp soccer festival, which provides a feast of messy mayhem in summer.