Grundarfjörður is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains, in the northern part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula and has a population of 900 inhabitants, as of 2015. In recent centuries, Grundarfjörður played a major role in Icelandic fishing industry, due to its central location on the Snaefellsnes peninsula and good natural docking and mooring conditions. Until the 18th century, the fishing industry in Grundarfjörður was controlled by the Danish, but since 1786 when the King of Denmark cancelled the restrictions on trade and economy in Iceland, the first foreign-owned fish factory was established by French sailors who came arrived in Grundarfjörður around 1800.
They settled there and built a hospital and a church. Thanks to the success of the fishing industry, local residents became wealthy and lived a comfortable life. Till today you can still see large scale decorated houses that are a reminder of these good and prosperous times. Although Grundarfjörður economy is based on a long tradition of fishing, there is also guesthouses and recreation and leisure activities that include annual festivals and numerous hiking trails for nature lovers.
Grundarfjörður port not only serves as a dock for fishing boats, but also for huge cruise ships that moor here and whose passengers get off board to experience the beautiful landscapes.
It is a place of pilgrimage of photographers from around the world and considered the most beautiful and certainly the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Mount church towering over a small spit of land protruding into the sea opposite the beach at the foot of Grundarfjörður, picturesque streams, and small waterfalls. Approximately 463 meters high, but humble conical peak curvature and being surrounded by the sea, making it a unique and impressive.
Colors vary along the landscape around the seasons and times of sunset and sunrise. For those who want to experience the beautiful mountain by foot, there is a walking trail around the mountain is safe and takes about 3 hours. There is also a steep route that leads to the summit, but the recommendation is to do it only if accompanied by a certified mountain guide. Beautiful waterfalls and a natural pool of water that locals tend to dabble in the summer face Mount Kirkjufell.
Grundarfjörður is located in a Gulf rich with fish that attracts seabirds and marine mammals and cruises depart from Grundarfjörður throughout the year. Winter cruises emphasis on Orca killer whales and (Orca), the Snaefellsbaer peninsula is considered the best area to watch dolphins who live in the area all year long. On summer cruises you can see puffin, have a go at fishing and of course see various species of whales who roam the coast of Iceland during this season.
A complex that includes a tourist information center, a cafe and two small exhibitions. One exhibition shows a selection of photographs of Grundarfjörður in the past and the other presents an exhibition of various preserved items that were used at the beginning of the 20th century such as boats, fishing boats, agricultural equipment and toys. There information center offers a variety of road maps and topographical hiking maps, internet connection, updated weather forecasts and general information regarding events taking place in the region. Address: Grundargata 35, Grundarfjörður
Approximately15 km east of Grundarfjörður there is a farm named Bjarnarhöfn. It has a small museum dedicated to a species of shark known as the Sleeper Shark that lives in the Artic Ocean Arctic and is classed as one of the largest and poisonous sharks in the world. Here you can learn about shark behavior and interesting facts in addition to tasting shark meat that is locally produced in a traditional method, where the meat is fermented for months to get rid of the poison. This Icelandic dish, called Hákarl, is considered a delicacy and served with a local spirit called brennivín. Tourists must be brave to taste this traditional dish and a visit to the museum is a great way to test your courage.
Museum website: www.bjarnarhofn.is
These are vast lava fields that stretch from east Grundarfjörður and sites documented in one of the Icelandic sagas. The source of lava is from volcanic eruptions that intermittently occurred between 2000 BC in 1000 BC, from four different volcanoes located in the region. During each of the eruptions, lava flowed from the volcanic craters, gradually cooled and solidified into a crust of lava fields covered with soft Arctic moss. The forms of the solidified lava landscape depend on its cooling rate and other factors, such as chemical composition, therefore some of the lava fields are flat and comfortable for walking, and others a jumble of rocks protruding at different heights and angles that make walking between them an almost impossible task.
The saga written about the region is the " Eyrbyggja Saga ", which tells of characters from the Snaefellsbaer peninsula who were the first settlers in 1000 AD. One episode tells of a farmer named Satyr, who brought two huge and aggressive Nordic Berserkers with combat intoxication to the farm. One of them fell in love with Satyr's daughter and asked for her hand in marriage. Satyr , who had no intention of giving his daughter to warrior was concerned that his refusal may course mayhem and so told them that if they forged a path that would cross the lava field, he would give his consent. Satyr thought that this was an impossible task, but to his surprise, the warriors finished the task in surprising speed and the warrior expected to receive consent for the marriage. Simultaneously pleased about the road and alarmed by his prospective son-in-law, the farmer invited the two Berserkers to relax their tired muscles in a special sauna he had built for them. When they were exhausted from the hot steam and too weak to fight back, he killed them both.
Indeed, to this day, there is a trail that crosses the lava field where a pile of rocks was found, under which the remains of two large skeletons were discovered. The place was declared a national heritage site and given the Icelandic name Berserkjahraun which means " Berserkers Lava" Berserkj – warriors and Raun – lava .
This festival, annually held in Grundarfjörður during the last weekend of July, offers the public a variety of attractions that include, Restoring of the Viking era, art exhibitions, musical performances and children's activities. The festive atmosphere is felt throughout the town and each streets are decorated with one color selected in advance. .
Held consecutively since 2008 in autumn, this festival attracts many movie lovers. The festival's motto is to screen independent artistic films in which film directors express their creative freedom regardless if the films are mass entertainment blockbusters. Apart from the selection of films in various categories, the festival also includes musical performances and artisan workshops. There is also a culinary competition for "the most delicious fish soup" in which amateur cooks are invited to take part in the competition, with a panel of judges that include Icelandic chefs and guests who taste the dishes.