In the pretty town of Seydisfjordur the multi-colored wooden houses are sheltered by a jaw-dropping backdrop of snowcapped mountains and tumbling waterfalls. Seydisfjordur started out in 1848 as a trading center for foreign merchants, fishermen and whalers, but its wealth came from herring– with its long, sheltered fjord giving it an advantage over other fishing villages.

The picturesque 19th-century timber buildings seen throughout the village were imported in kit-form from Norway during the herring boom. The most prominent of these buildings is the pretty Blue Church which is home to a popular series of jazz, classical and folk music concerts offered in mid-summer. The friendly community is a draw for artists, musicians and craftspeople from all over the country and shopping in the area for local handicrafts is a rewarding treat.

Hiking opportunities abound in the lush green hills that tower over the fjord as well as mountain biking, camping and sea kayaking. Just east of Seydisfjordur is the remote farm of Skalanes, a wonderful private nature reserve which showcases the incredible flora and fauna, ecosystems and settlement history of the reserve. The stunningly beautiful coastal cliffs are home to a mind-boggling array of seabirds, including eider ducks and Iceland’s famous puffins.