Just off Route 1 in the East Fjords, the buildings of Djúpivogur fill the interstices between a network of crumbling cliff walls. With about 500 residents and its own liquor store, Djúpivogur is a relative metropolis in the remote east. A member of the international Cittaslow movement, the municipality has committed itself to maintaining a slow pace of everyday life here. If you move slowly enough, you just might be able to fill out a whole day in Djúpivogur.
Stay: Hótel Framtíð
Situated in Djúpivogur’s harbour, Hótel Framtíð offers a variety of accommodation options right in the heart of town. Wood-panelled single and double rooms in the hotel’s main building, cottages and the adjacent apartments make for a cosily rustic experience. Built around 1905, the hotel’s main building underwent a series of reincarnations as it passed from owner to owner. Despite its claim to longevity and its variegated past, it still bears its early twentieth century name “Framtíð,” which (perhaps ironically) means ‘The Future.’
Although about 40 minutes’ drive from Djúpivogur, it’s well worth the trek across Berufjörður to munch on the hearty vegetarian fare dished up at Havarí’s café. A stark departure from the often unremarkable, repetitious dishes that line the rural roads of Iceland, Havarí’s café serves meals with a heavy helping of love, care, and attention to flavour. Try the grilled cheese stuffed with vegetarian sausage and be sure to dip it in the curry ketchup.
Neighbouring Djúpivogur’s commercial harbor, this smaller harbour hosts a handful of unexpected oddities. Twin whale skeletons along Víkurland road mark the entrance to Freevilli Gallerí, an eclectic mix of rocks, bones and folk art collected by an eccentric local. It’s unclear what’s for display and what’s for sale, but perhaps that’s precisely the point. Just down the road, 34 ovoid sculptures hug the outer coast of the bay. Each smaller than the next, the sculptures represent the eggs of 34 bird species that call Djúpivogur home.
Swim: Sundlaug Djúpavogs
Housed indoors, Djúpivogur’s municipal swimming facility offers a balmy respite from the elements during generous opening hours all year round. A massive swimming pool, two hot tubs and a kiddie pool provide plenty of room to relax, exercise, or play. With the thermostat set at near-tropical temperatures, you’d be forgiven for wanting to just sit in a deck chair, defrost and revive on a particularly miserable day.
Near the mouth of Berufjörður, about 20 minutes west of Djúpivogur, a series of falls plummets step-by-step through Fossárdalur (Waterfall-river-valley) to the sea. Vague trails wind through a sapling grove, allowing for a serene, sylvan jaunt alongside the falls. Be sure to catch Nykurhylsfoss—the most stunning of these falls—which gushes through a gate-like aperture in the cliff-wall before pouring, ultimately, into the fjord.
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