Neskaupstaður in Nordfjordur fjord, is the largest municipality of Fjarðabyggð, with about 1500 inhabitants that mainly live from tourism and the fishing industry. Neskaupstaður originally built on a farm called “Nes,” was occupied by Egill Rauði (“the red”). Like many cities and villages in eastern Iceland, Neskaupstaður was an important place of trade in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, Neskaupstadur began to boom thanks to herring fishing that lead to the building of the Síldarvinnslan plant, that is now one of the most advanced fish processing plants in Europe – processing around 30,000 tons of fish per year, mainly for human consumption and employs over 200 people.
To get to Nordfjordur, take the road number 92 from the north, if you are traveling from the south, take road 96. The Museum house, Safnahúsið, presents the art collection of the artist Tryggvi Ólafsson, Iceland’s best-known contemporary artist who was born in Nordfjordur in 1940, the Natural History Museum and the Maritime Museum. As for local art, you can admire art in the Gallery Thea ( best known for its clay horses), or the Nesbær Cafe regularly exhibits the work of local artists. For a bit of music, the club Brján offers blues, rock and jazz. Of course, like most of the towns and villages in Icelandic, Nordfjordur also has an outdoor public swimming pool.
Nordfjorður Nature Reserve is famous for its beautiful floral and fauna, and is also the perfect place for bird watching in the summertime. Other outdoor things to do in Nordfjordur are horse riding with the local company Skorrahestar, kayaking if you’re in the mood and, of course, you can go sightseeing. There are impressive views from the rocks at Rauðubjörg ( unique for the purple colour) and from the cave Páskahellir, near the beach. Páskahellir, Easter Cave, is a small cave near the sea in the Neskaupstaður Nature Reserve, formed by sea erosion. The story goes that on Easter morning, you can see the sun dance from Páskahellir. With these caves among rock and lava, the Easter Cave is an exciting place to visit. While there you can see hole marks from ancient trees that were destroyed by lava more than twelve million years ago. To get down to visit Páskahellir, you need to walk about 15 minutes from the nature reserve entrance, you will then see wooden stairs that lead you on the right path -take care while taking the stairs, steps may be slippery.
The city of Neskaupstaður is also notorious for the avalanche that killed twelve people in 1974. Today, you can visit the structures that prevent deadly avalanches occurring and causing damage to the town. These structures are above the town, and from the top the panorama view of Neskaupstaður, and Nordfjordur is breathtaking.
Do not forget to visit the waterfall Hengifoss, the highest waterfall in Hellisfjörður at the bottom of Nordfjordur, located on the bay right in front of Neskaupstaður. In this fjord you can see the remains a whale station from the twentieth century.
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