Ísafjarðardjúp, Iceland

The largest fjord in the Westfjords region, Ísafjarðardjúp is located in the north west of Iceland and it virtually divides the Westfjords into two. Translated, the name means Ice fjord deep. The capital of the Westfjords region, Ísafjörður, can be found near the mouth of Ísafjarðardjúp. The coast to the north east is relatively straight with only one inlet called Kaldalón, but there are fjords going well into the land on the south side. Some of these fjords are Álftafjörður, Hestsfjörður, Ísafjörður, Mjóifjörður, Seyðisfjörður, Skötufjörður, and Skutulsfjörður. Respectively, these names translate as Swan fjord, Horse’s fjord, Ice fjord, Meager fjord, Seed’s fjord, Shot fjord, and Shettel’s fjord.        

As the longest of all the West fjords at 75km long, Ísafjarðardjúp is the most breathtaking, stretching from the shores of Ísafjörður fjord, the most easterly of the fjords on the southern coastline, all the way to the mountains surrounding Bolungarvík. There are three islands in Ísafjarðardjúp and visitors can take a boat tour to some or all of the fjord’s islands.  The names of the islands are Æðey, Borgarey, and Vigur with the latter being the largest and having one farmstead. Æðey also has a little farmstead, but Borgarey is uninhabited and is the smallest island. Visitors will also enjoy spectacular views around Ísafjarðardjúp – views as far as the human eye can see of remote and uninhabited fjordlands. Indeed, there is only one village along the lonely route that runs for approximately 200km from Ísafjörður fjord to the region’s capital.

The coasts around here were home to a number of isolated farms until just a couple of decades ago. However, the difficulty of making a living from limited crops and sheep farming mean that most are now deserted. Some farmers at Ísafjarðardjúp supplemented their living with fishing where there was once an abundance of whitefish. However, these fish have now moved further seawards and shrimps are more commonly found around the mouth of the bay.