Holmavik is the main village along the magical Strandir coast. This 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. It’s a place of spectacular beauty, peace and quiet.
During the 17th century, the Westfjords were infamous for witches, wizards and sorcerers and Holmavik is renowned for this ancient practice. At the award-winning Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft the tragic consequences of witch-hunting come alive.
The first weekend of July celebrates Hamingjudagar (Happy days), a family friendly festival with fun activities, entertainment and food markets. The village prides itself of being one of the only (if not only) village in the world putting such huge emphasis on love, peace and happiness! A huge difference from the witch-hunting days!
What to do in Holmavik?
The stunning nature and peaceful environment of the area is a hiker’s paradise. It’s easy to find shorter hiking trails, such as the lovely Kalfanesborgir right above the village. The local tourist information will happily give out maps and information on the more challenging hiking trails. Even though it only has around 400 inhabitant, Holmavik also offers opportunities for kayaking, golfing and horseback riding.
Apart from the creepy Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft, travelers can pay the Sorcerer’s Cottage a visit, in nearby Bjarnarfjordur fjord. It’s an extraordinary account of how people lived in the time of magic and witch hunts.
As with most villages in rural Iceland, fishing and sheep farming are the main trades. The interesting Sheep Farming Museum, about 10 kilometers from the village, is easily worth a visit. The museum provides entertainment for all ages, even the opportunity to feed real lambs milk from a bottle!
Check out our complete guide to the Westfjords.