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Great food, unspoilt nature and a Viking festival; Ísafjörður town has it all

By Sara McMahon

  • The local. Thelma Hjaltadóttir recommends a walk along the shore overlooking Ísafjarðardjúp fjord when in Ísafjörður town. Photo/Thelma

Thelma Hjaltadóttir says the oceanic view and the majestic mountain range make her home-town of Ísafjörður, one of the most beautiful towns in Iceland.

Thelma Hjaltadóttir works as a receptionist at the district commissioner´s office in Ísafjörður, the capital of the Westfjords.Thelma’s favourite local landmark is the Old Hospital building, which now houses the town’s library and art museum. The building was designed by State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson in 1923 and was ready for use in 1925.
“I was born in the Old Hospital building and it holds a special place in my heart. I find it very relaxing to visit the library, read the newspaper and have a cup of coffee,” Thelma explains. 

Spouse: Ragnar Ingi Reynisson

Children and/or other familymembers: My two teenage boys; Ívan Breki Guðmundsson and Tryggvi Leó Guðmundsson.

For how long have you lived in Ísafjörður? I was born in Ísafjörður but grew up in Reykjavík. I moved back to the Westfjords when I was a teenager.

What‘s the best thing about your town? The unspoiled nature that surrounds the town; The oceanic view and the majestic mountain range make Ísafjörður, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful towns in Iceland. What’s more, although it’s only a small town with a population of 3.600 people, it offers a vast range of cultural events all year round.”

Favourite restaurant: Tjöruhúsið. It´s located in one of the oldest houses in Ísafjörður which is now part of the maritime museum. The restaurant serves fresh, high quality seafood and is renowned for its quirky, laid-back atmosphere.”

Favourite place for brunch or breakfast: Gamla bakaríið, or the Old bakery, is a local treasure. There you can sit down and enjoy your baked goods while enjoying the view over the town´s square.”

Best café: Bræðraborg is furnished with antique pieces, giving you the feel of being in your grandmother’s house, but it also serves a wide range of delicious and healthy food.”

Your favourite spot: Húsið. Not only is it a great café and restaurant but also a very happening bar after hours. There is live music every weekend and they also broadcast all major sporting events live on TV.”

Do you have any secret tips for visitors:
“Hardly a secret, but one of my favourite activities is a long walk along the shore overlooking Ísafjarðardjúp fjord.
“Ísafjörður is a part of a municipality known as Ísafjarðarbær which includes the towns of Hnífsdalur, Suðureyri, Flateyri and Þingeyri, all well worth a visit. The Nonsense museum in Flateyri showcases private collections of everything imaginable, from teaspoons to sugar-cubes. In Þingeyri there’s an annual, family-friendly summer festival that celebrates the traditions and ways of the Vikings. Should you miss the festival you can visit the Viking ship, built by the locals, all year around.” 

View over Ísafjörður town. Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson

A beautiful old house in the old part of Ísafjörður town. Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson


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