Welcome to Siglufjörður

Iceland’s northernmost town, Siglufjörður (which now is a part of Fjallabyggð, along with Ólafsfjörður), is a historic fishing town whose fame and fortune has always been linked to the ebb and flow of the fishing industry. A tiny shark fishing village in 1900, Siglufjörður soon became one of the largest towns in Iceland and the undisputed capital of herring fishing in the Atlantic. Although the herring have disappeared, the town bears the distinct imprint of ‘The Herring Era’.

The harbour at Siglufjörður has long been considered one of the best in Iceland. As early as the Middle Ages, English and Dutch fishing and merchant ships favoured Siglufjörður as a convenient, sheltered base of operations. 

During the 20th Century, Siglufjörður became the centre of Iceland’s flourishing commercial herring fishing industry and its harbour one of the largest and most important in the country. In the heyday of the herring fishery, Siglufjörður was a town filled with fish, jobs and money, a busy boomtown with a gold rush-like atmosphere that quickly earned the nicknames Klondike of the Atlantic, Fishermen’s Eldorado and Iceland’s Sodom. By mid-century, 500 boats were active in the local herring fishery. In times of bad weather, hundreds of fishing boats would seek refuge, tying to the docks or anchoring in the fjord to wait out the storm. There were so many docks in the harbour that you had to travel a kilometre and a half to get from the first one to the last. In fact, laid end-to-end Siglufjörður’s docks would have stretched well over six kilometres! 

With the disappearance of the herring from Iceland’s waters by 1970, the old wooden docks were replaced by permanent concrete. Though considerably smaller than in the past, the modern harbour is still just as protected and just as close to the fishing grounds as always. Today, the harbour is frequented by large shrimp trawlers and small cod-fishing boats delivering their catch to local processors.

Siglufjörður is along with the community of Ólafsfjörður a part of The Municipality Fjallabyggð, which came into being when the two communities were merged in 2006. The area maintains a flourishing cultural activity and is known for its dynamic and vibrant extracurricular activities. There are interesting galleries and artist studios to be visited in town as well as museums and exhibitions.

By walking through the Herring Era Museums three buildings one can easily sense the atmosphere of the old times, in the herring girls’ lodgings one can for example find a ball dress, red lipstick, love letter or a knife for gutting the herring. When visiting the Folk Music Center guests get a good idea about Icelandic folk music when hearing local people singing traditional rhymes and folk songs. Segull 67 is a small family owned craft brewery. The brewhouse is in an old fish factory that has been designed and adapted to its new role. The Icelandic Poetry Centre provides an opportunity for visitors to get acquainted with trends and movements in Icelandic poetry from the settlement era to the present day. Saga-Fotografica The purpose of the museum is the preservation of equipment for photography and photo processing, from various times. In Siglufjörður there is a flourishing cultural life. There are several restaurants, there are also numerous galleries and workshops, museums and our local church in Siglufjörður.

Siglufjörður is an area of spectacular natural beauty. The mountains and the fjords are awe-inspiring and the opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation are almost inexhaustible. There are hiking trails for all levels of experience in the mountains and valleys surrounding Siglufjörður. The most popular trails lead into neighboring Héðinsfjörður, an uninhabited fjord of pristine and natural beauty.

Siglufjörður has a 25-metre indoor swimming pool, a sauna, an outdoor hot tub and a gym. There are nine-hole golf courses in Siglufjörður.

The ski area in Skarðsdalur is arguably one of the country’s best ski areas. In Hólsdalur there is a cross-country ski trail. Mountain skiing is becoming an ever more popular leisure sport. Few places boast better conditions for this sport than in Siglufjörður.

Since 2002 Siglufjörður has welcomed cruise ship passengers to visit this small town at the edge of North Iceland that is full of well kept history.

Hope you enjoy your visit!

Siglufjordur  Herring museum

Siglufjörður  Herring