Laid out along the fjord, this long, narrow, and charming fishing village and commercial center is one of the oldest towns in Iceland’s East. Movie director Baltasar Kormákur, the son of well-known Icelandic painter Baltasar, filmed “2 Guns,” starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, here. He also filmed “Contraband” and “The Deep” here.
Eskifjordur’s Church and Cultural Centre Built in the late 1990s, this hexagonal church doubles as a concert hall. When I visited, musician Jon Karason asked us to wear a blindfold and then led us in a musical experience designed to make us “think only about now, not yesterday, not tomorrow, not the volcano, only right now.” We participated with no expectations, listening to guitar music punctuated with an American Indian story about two wolves named Good and Evil, in which the one that wins is the one you feed. Music festivals are held here in summer. The Bleiksá waterfall is just behind the church.
East Iceland Maritime Museum Strandgata 39b. Daily 1-5pm, Jun-Aug. Situated inside the oldest house in town, which dates from 1816, this small two-story museum is slathered on the outside with black creosote. It displays a reconstructed general store along with assorted nautical items--ship models, fishing equipment--and other more unexpected items such as a hand-crank candy maker and dental equipment.
Mjoeyri Guesthouse Strandgotu 120. Kitchens. Open all year. Small red cabin-huts and larger natural-wood cabins line the fjord’s shore.
This spot fits into my ongoing interest in experiencing places that have an end-of-the-road, edge-of-the-world feeling. In addition to a regular bed, our A-frame red cabin had a loft with mattress on the floor that was reached by a ladder and which children would particularly adore. It was amazingly quiet in our fjord-front cabin, so quiet that we could hear the water lapping at the shore. The pleasant interiors are finished in baby knotty-pine wood. Facilities include a boat-shaped hot tub (called a “hot pot” here) and a sauna,
and towel swans greet you atop the European-style, pushed-together twin beds with individual duvets.
And no key cards here—a hand-knit key fob bell helps you find the key when it is in your pocket. At check out, you just leave the key in the lock as though it were 100 years back in time. Arrangements can be made for touring, including reindeer guiding, cave tours, and ski and winter tours.
Randulff’s sea-house/Randulfssjohus Strandgata 96. L-D daily, June-Aug. Resembling a Norwegian herring house, this seafarers’ lodge has an informal museum upstairs where you can see rooms as they were left in 1890. We tasted Iceland’s infamous fermented shark—which is milder here than in Iceland’s west—as well as dried haddock. Both are still produced in town. We washed it down with a shot of Brennivin--Icelandic schnapps, which in the old days was called “black death.” I put the shark meat in my mouth and chewed it, but in the interest of not causing a volcanic eruption in my tummy I did not swallow it. The dried haddock was ok, and the Brennivin was good enough for me to buy some at the airport to take home.
The cozy, woodsy restaurant is one large open space. It serves a menu of local specialties that includes Icelandic shrimp, brown bread and really-good rolls, reindeer meatballs with a sweet red currant-chili sauce, and white chocolate Skyr yogurt with blueberries. Butter is served atmospherically atop a rock. This restaurant is under the same ownership as the Mjoeyri Guesthouse, and it is just a short, scenic walk between the two.
More things to do in Iceland.
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers