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Tuesday, June 14 update: Ísafjörður, Westfjord Maritime Museum, Tjöruhúsið

We spent the day in Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords (population: 2,600). It’s a nice little town, with a lot of shops, bakeries, and cafes:

isafjordur downtown

After a very nice breakfast of pastries from Gamla Bakaríð, a great little bakery, we headed to the Westfjord Heritage Museum (which seems to also be called the Westfjord Maritime Museum). The museum is on 3 floors, and had a nice selection of displays about fishing, and, surprisingly, accordians.

isafjordur museum

isafjordur museum boats


They also had a very detailed movie about life as a fisherman, which our whole family found surprisingly riveting.

Next door to the museum is the restaurant Tjöruhúsið, where we went for lunch. This was both the best and the least expensive meal we have had in Iceland. That’s a pretty amazing combination– best AND cheapest. Kids under 14 eat free! (Update September 2016: Now that the trip is complete, I can say that this was unquestionably the best meal we had in Iceland.)

We had to wait about 15 minutes before lunch service started, presumably because they are bringing in today’s catch from just down the street. They bring you huge pans of fish, straight from the kitchen. It’s tough to see the scale in the image below, but that’s a full-sized spatula and spoon:

amazing fish

Dinner is 5500 krona for everyone over 14; that includes soup and several entrees. Lunch cost varies based on which fish they catch, and so you won’t really know how much it will cost until you get there. But the range is 1500 to 3500 krona. For 3500 you may also get soup? We paid 1500 krona per adult, and all of the kids ate for free. Paying $26 for 6 people (plus a baby) for one of the best meals we’ve ever had feels very close to stealing.

Various reviews claim that Gamla Bakaríð is the best bakery in Iceland, and that Tjöruhúsið is the best fish restaurant in Iceland. We thought both were excellent. And Tjöruhúsið is a ridiculous value if you have kids.

In the afternoon, we headed back to Súðavík to the Arctic Fox Center. They have a couple of rooms with exhibits and a video about the arctic fox:

sudavik arctic fox museum

But the main draw is the 2 foxes they have in a cage out back, which were found by hunters as babies (and without a mother).

sudavik arctic fox_

Continuing south past Sudavik, we saw a road sign with a picture of seals. And there were indeed seals:


Look for the picnic table. There the locals have kindly left binoculars in a plastic container that you can borrow for some seal watching.

seal binoculars

As the sign indicates, a little further down the road there is a historic turf roof house where they serve coffee, waffles, and some other desserts.

I didn’t realize in the picture above that I had captured the sheep walking down the road in the far background; they passed us a couple of minutes later on their journey south. Be careful when driving!

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Tuesday, June 14 update: Ísafjörður, Westfjord Maritime Museum, Tjöruhúsið was last modified: January 1st, 2017 by Eric