When Iceland Traveller attends a local event, we like to engage children and families in finding out about Iceland by asking them to guess the location of hidden treasure on a map. Our latest treasure trove was hidden in Vopnafjörður, a small town in North East Iceland that is often described as ‘otherworldly’. We wondered why.
Vopnafjörður has a great deal going for it. First settled about 1100 years ago by Vikings from Norway, it became an important trading area and later known best for its links to the fishing industry. Halldor Laxness earned the Nobel prize for Literature for ‘Independent People’, his acclaimed novel based largely on the lives of Icelanders living around Vopnafjörður.
Like many areas of Iceland, the scenery is spectacular and varied and here, at the right time of year, there is also the chance to see reindeer or a rich variety of wading birds, passerines and raptors amongst the many cliffs and skerries around the coast. Here too are some of Iceland’s finest salmon fishing rivers, beautiful hiking trails and remote cross county skiing areas. Between 1850 and 1914 many Icelanders emigrated from here to find a better life in Canada and America, and there is now much interest amongst the current generation of the families who left in tracing their roots.
Our forthcoming Arctic trail will be visiting Vopnafjörður, so we are looking forward to experiencing the otherworldliness for ourselves, and if we are lucky, perhaps also the Aurora Borealis.