Get To Know Bolungarvík

Bolungarvík, Iceland, West-fjords, Vestfirðir, fishing villages in Iceland, fishing in Iceland
Óshólaviti, an iconic orange lighthouse. Photo: Hilmir Berg

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with a population of only 332,529 and an area of 103,00 km2. So, as you can imagine we have a lot of space and one would hardly describe Iceland as densely populated. Most of the villages and towns in Iceland are located on the coastline. They are small and revolve around fishing. Fish has always been the lifeline of the Icelandic nation. It is hard to overstate its importance and its meaning for the culture and life of those living in these often isolated places. Each of the little towns and villages has its own personality and they are all charming in their own way, filled with history and heritage.

We are taking a closer look at all those towns and villages around Iceland and getting to know them a little bit better. And we want to take you with us! Previously we visited Ísafjörður and now it is time to pay a visit to its smaller neighbour – Bolungarvík.

Get To Know Bolungarvík

Bolungarvík is a small village located on the Westfjords peninsula and is the northernmost village in the fjords. It has a population of approximately 900 people – so it is safe to say it is pretty small. It is one of Iceland’s oldest fishing outposts and according to Landnámabók, Iceland’s book of settlements, the first settlers in Bolungarvík were siblings Þuríður sundafyllir and Þórólfur who settled there around 940.

Bolungarvík has a beautiful harbour with a splendid view. It is only a 20 min drive away from Ísafjörður so make sure to stop by if in the area. It is a popular destination for those interested in hiking, biking, fishing and bird watching.

What it lacks in size it makes up for in charm – it’s location is beautiful where it sits between the massive mountains with a breath-taking panorama view over the sea. There also are a few location you should make sure to check out if you visit Bolungarvík. We recommend Ósvör, the maritime museum. It is a restored fishing hut with all the trimmings! It gives a great idea of how fishing used to be in the olden days so we advise you take a look if interested.

Bjarnabúð has been in business since 1927 and that actually makes it one of the oldest stores in Iceland. It stocks all of the everyday things you need plus everything else! Even some locally knitted socks and mittens. It is still located in the same house and the top floor of the building serves as a kind of museum where many of the old artifacts from the store are still stored.

Visit The Temple Of Water And Wellness

Icelanders are obsessed with swimming-pools and you can find one in almost every village and town. Most of them are outdoor ones and many Icelanders hit the pool daily – either for a swim or just for a nice chat in one of the hot tubs. Bolungarvík has a great swimming-pool called Musteri vatns og vellíðunar, a direct translate would be the Temple of Water and Wellbeing. A very fitting name idead! Giving that a visit is definitely not a bad idea therefore we highly advise you to do so.

The mountain rising above the town is called Bolafjall, and Bolungarvík draws its name from it. On the top of the mountain you can find a former US radar station – most noteworthy is the impressive view from the top. We advise you take great care if you go to the top as there are no fences and the hills are very steep.

Share your story!

View our photo gallery below for some snapshots from Bolungarvík – and if you’ve ever been there we would love to hear your travel story!