The rugged eastern edge of the Westfjords is one of the least visited parts of Iceland, yet it’s also the most scenic and hypnotic with its sparse population and untouched nature. Holmavik is the main village situated in Steingrimsfjordur Fjord along the picturesque Strandir coast. It provides a different variety of natural beauty and mystery than other towns in this region.
Even though it only has around 400 inhabitants, Holmavik has a bustling town life. The first weekend of July is the Hamingjudagar (Happy Days), a family friendly festival with fun activities, entertainment and food markets. Hólmavík also has its own film festival, called the Turtle filmfest, and is usually held in August.
Things to do in Holmavik
During the 17th century, the Westfjords were infamous for witches, wizards and sorcerers. Holmavik keeps the memory of this ancient practice and its tragic consequences alive at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. In nearby Bjarnarfjordur you can visit The Sorcerer’s Cottage. There you can see how people lived in the time of magic and witch hunts.
As with most towns in rural Iceland, fishing and sheep farming are the main trades. You’ll also find The Sheep Farming Museum in the village, dedicated to the Icelandic sheep and sheep farming. The museum provides entertainment for all ages, with a play room for children. You can even have the opportunity to feed real lambs milk from a bottle.
The awe-inspiring nature and peaceful environment of the area is a hiker’s paradise. Shorter hiking trails like Kalfanesborgir are easily found, and the local tourist information will happily give out maps and information on the more challenging hiking trails. Holmavik also offers opportunities for kayaking, camping, golfing, horseback riding and swimming in the newly opened spa complex.
Check out our complete guide to the Westfjords.