Flatey is the only inhabited island of the 3,000 small islets dotting the dramatic Breidafjordur Bay. The island is significant for its combination of natural features and historical heritage. Ferry passengers stop on their way between the Snaefellsnes peninsula and the Westfjords.
Throughout the winter there are only a handful of residents living on Flatey. Many families arrive in summer to help renovate lovely old timber houses of their ancestors. The houses are perfect examples of a 19th century Icelandic village. Beautifully kept old houses in cheerful colors embody the spirit and prosperity that the island enjoyed as the commercial and fishing hub of Breidafjordur during its heyday around 1900.
A major source of pride in the small community is the Book of Flatey. The artifact is one of Iceland’s most impressive ancient Saga manuscripts. A beautifully preserved copy rests in the world’s smallest library on the island.
The island was further an essential cradle of culture in Iceland. Its former monastery, built in 1172, was a center of knowledge. The monastery stood on the island’s highest point. The monks in the monastery created the manuscript.
Birding in Flatey
Nature lovers and bird watchers flock to the island for the unique volcanic scenery that provides plenty of nesting places for the large number of bird species found there. The area supports over 230 recorded species of vascular plants and around 50 regular breeding bird species, e.g. arctic tern and eider duck.