Welcome to Vopnafjörður

Vopnafjörður is between Bakkafjörður and Héraðsflói in East Iceland, and in the village and the surrounding area in the fjord live about 600 people. Vopnafjörður has one of the largest and most advanced fish processing plants for pelagic fish, herring, mackerel and capelin, in the world. In addition, three salmon fishing rivers, considered among the best in Iceland, Hofsá, Selá and Vesturá, flow into the fjord. One of Iceland’s leading poets, Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889-1975), was raised in Vopnafjörður. Three settlers built Vopnafjörður, Lýtingur Arinbjarnarson and the blood-brothers Hróaldur Bjóla and Eyvindur Vopni, but the fjord is named after him. During the monopoly trade from 1602 to 1787, Vopnafjörður was one of three trading places in the entire East Fjords district. Vopnafjörður was the main port of departure for Vesturfari, not only for East Iceland but the whole country at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the twentieth. Vopnafjörður is one of the happiest places in Iceland.

Selárdalslaug is on the banks of one of the country’s largest and best salmon fishing rivers. The pool was built by a hot spring in the summer of 1949.

Burstafell in Hofsárdalur is one of the best-preserved turf houses in Iceland. It is now a museum and a part of the National Museum of Iceland. The turf house was built in 1770 and lived in until 1966. The same family has lived on Burstafell since 1532.

It’s about 60 km / 40 mi from the Ring Road over Vopnafjarðarheiði to Vopnafjörður. The weather and conditions in the heath can be tough during the winter. Here, ICE-SAR workers are assisting travellers on the high moors.

The manor and the churchyard Hof, in the middle of the countryside. The church was built in 1901.

Vopnafjörður – A7R IV, RX1R II, A7RIII

Photographs and text: Páll Stefánsson