The tiny town of Tálknafjörður sits tucked away in the fjord of the same name, just off Route 63. It’s an extremely peaceful place, where the steely ocean is surrounded by towering and distinctively Westfjordian flat-topped mountains. The fjord is dotted with fish farms, belying the town’s main income; if you’ve access to cooking facilities or a camping stove, you can even take some fresh fish from the refrigerated self-service store, and leave your money in the trust box.
Stay: Guesthouse Bjarmaland
The town’s main hotel is Guesthouse Bjarmaland: a large, smartly painted building with a nice view down to the seaside. It’s clean, pleasant and comfortable, and you can opt for the hotel breakfast before starting your day adventuring around the Westfjords.
Eat: Hópið & Café Dunhagi
Tálknafjörður has a couple of restaurant and café options. A favourite among locals is Hópið, which is located right in the town centre. Their menu offers various beef burgers and a fish and chips option, but the pizzas come especially recommended. Down by the campsite and town pool you’ll also find Café Dunhagi, which is an ideal spot to relax with a coffee. If there are no kids around, and you’re not too full, you could sneak onto the giant trampoline out back and get rid of some pent-up energy.
A few kilometres out of town you’ll find this idyllic fjordside bathing spot. With geothermal water piped in from nearby, there are three small concrete hot pots of varying temperature, painted the same bright blue you’ll find in municipal pools. There are basic but recently renovated changing rooms, a hot shower, and an unforgettable view over the surrounding mountains. It’s one of the nicest bathing spots you’ll find anywhere in Iceland.
Even if you’re not especially interested in wildlife, you will be when you walk by the harbour of Tálknafjörður. It’s an incredibly peaceful spot, and as you gradually attune to the lack of noise, you’ll start to pick out the sounds of nature: lapping waves, and the screeches, honks, chirps and chirrups of all kinds of seabirds. There are red-billed oystercatchers, gulls, grey geese, and perhaps an owl or a falcon. Keep your eyes on the water and you might spot seals, or even a whale.
Visit: Abandoned Whaling Station
On the other side of the fjord, there’s a narrow road that winds up the side of the fjord. At the end of it, you’ll find a long-abandoned whaling station known as Suðureyri við Tálknafjörð. There are rusting machine-part remains and tumbledown buildings, and a view across the fjord. You can also find old riding paths used to travel between the fjords before the roads connected everything—today, they’re used as trails to hike around the region.
Near the town’s camping ground and swimming pool you’ll find a discrete pathway leading up into this small pine forest. Just a few steps up from the car park, you’ll find yourself plunging into a verdant forest that barely feels like Iceland, with a lush, alpine feel. There are various trails to walk around, and the route is dotted with tucked-away picnic tables and pleasant spots, such as a bird-friendly copse with birdhouses made from repurposed cartons.
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