Djúpavík – A Beautiful Secret Village in the Westfjords

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Basic Information

  • Djúpavík is a small village in the Northern Westfjords of Iceland. 
  • The least populous municipality in Iceland with only 53 residents.

Stemming from the confines of the land of fire and ice, Djúpavík is a natural marvel. Djúpavík is a small town based in the Northern Westfjords of Iceland. The town is popular for its huge abandoned herring factory. It is situated at the peak of Reykjarfjörður on the Strandir coast. The crowning beauty of the Westfjords region, Djúpavík is an enchanting place.

Djúpavík in Westfjords of Iceland

History of Djúpavík

Peppered with the tiny settlements that you see on your way, Djúpavík offers breathtaking scenes. Apart from the mesmerizing scene, it is the history of the place that is truly fascinating. It begins from the year 1917 as before that Djúpavík had farmsteads for hundreds of years and only a single-family lived there. A herring salting factory was constructed in 1917 by the foremost residents of the vicinity. Owing to various downfalls that the industry went through, the herring factory was shut down by the 1920s. Meanwhile, the place witnessed several evolutions such as the building of a new factory and a sharp decline in the herring business during the late 1940s. Djúpavík is a part of Árneshreppur. With only 53 residents, it is the least populous municipality in Iceland. It expands over a wide area though, covering almost 780 kilometers square.

Many citizens arrived in Djúpavík by the 1980s. Ásbjörn Þorgilsson and his wife Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir, the third generation of a former Djúpavík resident, bought back the herring factory. They renovated the factory beautifully and turned a part of it into a hotel intending to support increasing tourism in the area. The couple that came from Reykjavík has turned the locality into a major attraction. The environment and the cultural heritage of the site are well-preserved by them and their staff. As recently as in 2016, Hotel Djúpavík was the sole eco-friendly tourism service in Strandir.

woman hiking in Djúpavík in Westfjords of Iceland

Exploring the Herring Factory

The intriguing fact that catches the attention of the explorers is that there were no roads at the time when the new factory was constructed. Everything was imported through ships including massive boilers. This alone speaks volumes about the perseverance of the Icelanders who successfully created the most state-of-the-art factory in such atrocious circumstances. The factory was installed with the most advanced technology which Iceland had never witnessed before.

Presently, visitors have a chance to get a guided tour through the factory and to explore the history of the Djúpavík exhibition. The exhibition is open for visitors Monday to Friday from 10:00 – 12:00. It reopens from 14:00-17:00. You have to reach around the afternoon for the guided tour.

The part where the females resided during the time of herring was transformed into a hotel, called Djúpavík hotel. The staff here is cordial and the environment warm. The hotel staff and the majority of residents arrive in the summers. The beauty and the charm of the old renovated building are sure to captivate you. You can see a waterfall above the town at the back end of the factory.

Reaching Djúpavík

Djúpavík is situated about 70 kilometers away from Hólmavík, while the distance from Ísafjörður is around 270 km. 300 kilometers is the distance from the country’s capital Reykjavík. You can reach Djúpavík by car through road 643 or by plane via the nearby Gjögur Airport.

shipwreck in Djúpavík in Westfjords of Iceland

Djúpavík on a map

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