Autumn day in Neskaupsstadur town. The name literally translates as a shopping place on the peninsula but the place has been an important harbor town for a long time. PIC Bödvar Eggertsson

M uch further East you cannot go in Iceland without getting wet than by visiting the town of Neskaupsstadur in Nordfjordur fjord. Getting to this place takes some detour from the Ring Road circling Iceland and it depends on your interests if this is worth it.

The town itself with its 1500 inhabitants is a typical Icelandic fishing town and fish and fisheries more or less the only industry here. The town is also precariously situated under the steep hills of the fjord. Avalanches happen here and one of the worst ever in Iceland happened here in 1974 when twelve people died after a massive avalanche hit the center of town. Nowadays the place is protected by elaborate structures above the town but sadly these give the town a horrible look.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]Sadly, these give the town a horrible look[/blockquote]

As a consequence of remoteness and small population it goes without saying there are limited things to do here apart from enjoying what nature made. The town boasts of a swimming pool, golf course and a decent ski area in Oddskard but the locals also boasts three small museums which are all nice but by no means must-stops. A good hospital is here also along with the usual array of gas stations and convenience stores. There is even a local bar/disco frequented on weekends.

These are the Maritime Museum, Sjóminja- og smiðjumunasafn Josafats in local language, at Egilsbraut road, the Art Museum of Tryggvi Olafsson at Hafnarbraut road and lastly a Natural History Museum. All are only open in summertime. None of these are good enough to tempt foreign visitors on a large scale as they hardly even tempt the locals.

The jagged coastline along Nordfjordur fjord is appealing to nature lovers. A nice cave is found by the sea some distance from the town. PIC rwhgould

More interesting, as always, is the surrounding nature. Nice hiking paths run along the shoreline to East from the town. These lead to Nypan mountain at the edge of the fjord and about there you´ll find Paskahellir sea cave. Some people like to climb to the top of the mountains around. These give fantastic views but for those not inclined you will get a very decent view also just by driving into Neskaupsstadur. To get here you will have to cross one of the country´s highest roads at 630 meters.

Most exciting for most is the fact there are two totally empty fjords located directly across from Neskaupsstadur. Hellisfjordur and Vidfjordur are both worth exploring and although empty now both have their stories. Hellisfjordur was once the location of a big whaling station and some remains can still be seen here. Viðfjordur fjord was famous back in the day for being very haunted and books have been written about it. In summertime enterprising locals have offered boat trips across to these fjords but if not available do not be afraid to ask the local fishermen for a ride.

Other natural places of interest would include Gerpir, the easternmost point of the fjord and most likely the oldest part of the country of Iceland. Should ancient ghost stories be your thing then head over to Sandvik beach close to Gerpir. Here some people swear a friendly ghost goes around once in awhile and even takes off his hat for most. Further south from Gerpir you will find a beautiful area once inhabited but now just for the pleasure of anyone taking the time.

As for staying here you have a choice of Hotel Capitano at Hafnarbraut road, Hotel Nes at Nesgata road and Guesthouse  Trolli also at Hafnarbraut road.

» Certainly pretty remote and oftentimes in winter pretty hard to get to but the closeness of very fine fishing in the Atlantic have made the town thrive pretty well throughout

» Get off the Ring Road by Reydarfjordur village and then follow road 92 through Reydarfjord, Eskifjord and you will end up in Neskaupsstad town.

»The town is unremarkable in every sense but nature here is pretty impressive. Tons of great hiking routes and overall a good place for such activity. Then again, this can be had elsewhere too.

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