In the international TV hit ‘Trapped’, Siglufjörður is a place of dismembered corpses and human trafficking; dark secrets and guilty consciences; a CGI ferry looming ominously in the harbour; endless nights of snow and wind; and one very tired, very sexy crime-solving, milk-drinking Yeti. In life, this North Icelandic town is where Icelanders come in winter for ski weekends and summer for golf, driving the hour and change up from Akureyri along the majestic Eyjafjörður and through a series of tunnels. Tucked between the water and snaggle-toothed mountains at the apex of the Tröllskagi peninsula, its skyline a smattering of fish plants, colourful cottages and even small New Objectivist apartment buildings, Siglo still feels very much like an isolated oasis.
Stay: Sigló Hótel
The town’s luxury-accommodation option, a long, low olive-green building, was a prominent exterior in ‘Trapped’. Out front, a sauna and hot pot overlook the town and harbour—perfect for Northern Lights or white nights. Inside, the hotel boasts country cottage-style rooms and a very cosy lounge bar oriented around a modernist fireplace, with windows overlooking the fjord and vintage travel literature on the bookshelves.
Museum: The Herring Era Museum
Siglo was known as the “Klondike of the Atlantic” during the first half of the twentieth century, as workers came from all over Iceland (and beyond) to catch, pack, process and ship the massive herring stocks then glistening in the waters north of the island. The Herring Era Museum, spread out across three refurbished buildings, pays tribute to the boom years with copious photos and newsreels; personal and professional effects gathered from the town’s “Herring Girls” and their descendants; a fish factory; and a “boathouse” complete with fully equipped fishing vessels. Give yourself two hours.
Drink: Segull 67
One of the newer entries in Iceland’s burgeoning indie-brewing revolution, Segull 67 took over an old fish factory in 2015 and has been churning out tasty lagers and a variety of seasonal beers since. Email ahead for a tour and a tasting, or check their Facebook to see if there’s any events on at the brewery—or just pick up a sixer at the Vínbúð.
Eat: Marina Village
The restaurants Hannes Boy and Kaffi Rauðka occupy brightly painted warehouses opposite a small marina from the Sigló Hótel—the whole complex is part of a newly spiffy and quaint section of the harbour area. Marina Village is open in the summer, with plentiful outdoor seating.
Festival: Folk Music Festival
Siglufjörður’s Folk Music Centre, open in summer, features artefacts and recordings dedicated to Icelandic traditions such as epic poetry recitation and quint-song (two voices in parallel fifths). Every July, they put on a week of performances in town, featuring performers in Icelandic and other Nordic styles. This year’s festival, which will also spotlight African folk music traditions, is set for July 5-9.
Just out of town, on the road up to the town’s ski slope, is the town forest (thanks, national reforestation efforts!). Short walking trails wind through piney forests; you’ll hear the small waterfall long before you see it. Downstream, a grassy clearing is a perfect picnic area.
Hike: Siglufjardarskard or Héðinsfjörður
Before the tunnels were built, the only road into Siglo was over the mountains from Skagafjörður to the south and west—a treacherous overland route that was impassable for much of the year. Today, it’s a trail for more experienced hikers. Easier routes wend along the peaceful uninhabited fjord to the east of town, just through the tunnel.
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