The authorities in the tiny village of Eskifjordur on the East coast of Iceland are delirious these days as yesterday marked the very first time a cruise ship ever visited its harbor. Admittedly a small vessel but the story goes that at least eight more such vessels will visit next year. Pure bonanza.
There are two things very wrong with that picture. The first one has to do with the municipality giving deep discounts to entice cruise ship companies to make a stop. Based on our sources that is the case here. Which means that although the local bus driver and the few locals selling tourist stuff by the pier will get a couple of bucks very little money will be left behind.
Worse yet, is the fact that Eskifjordur is probably among the worst places to visit in Iceland for tourists. Yes, the immediate surroundings can be quite stunning but that is also the case everywhere in Iceland. The town itself offers the tourist very little, see our guide to Eskifjordur here, and the next door neighbor town, Reydarfjordur, is the proud home of the largest aluminum smelter in the country. On a clear day the pollution can be witnessed clearly and easily.
To go anywhere of value from here takes forever by bus and short cruise ship stops do not allow for serious excursions. The result will be that the tourist will be bored and get a very bad first impression of Iceland. And first impressions are everything!