Greinasafni: Icelandic Times
Off the Beaten Track in the West Fjords: Drangsnes
It may be the smallest fishing village in Iceland. With only 65 residents, Drangsnes in the West Fjords has nevertheless become a destination visited by over 2,000 people every year. It is also the only village in Iceland with hot tubs sitting right on the beach and where villagers can be seen shopping or walking to and from the hot tubs in their swim suits, “tub robes” and “tub shoes”. In 1997, hot water was discovered and the town immediately switched over to geothermal heating for their houses, and thus the hot tub idea was born as a gift to the people of the town from a local fisherman. The very first hot tub was washed out to sea one winter and was subsequently replaced by three new ones. Buttressed by boulders which have been turned into works of art by the famous Icelandic artist, Mireya Samper, the hot tubs are a unique feature of Drangsnes.

Every summer, the town holds its annual ‘Harbour Festival’, one of the largest in the area, where the locals come together to help make this event a success. The close-knit community is very welcoming of tourists and are a friendly bunch, says Jenny Jensdottir, head of marketing and tourism for the area. Festival highlights include local art and photography expositions and an exhibit chronicling the history of lump fish caviar which was first produced in Drangsnes in the 1930’s. Free samples of cod, lump fish, crab, seal and whale specialities from the village chefs, cooked to perfection, are another of the day’s highlights. Join locals as the festival culminates in song around a bonfire and a late night dance for young people.

Drangsnes, renowned for its beauty and tranquility, boasts excellent possibilities for seal and whale viewing, often right from the shore. Sightings of minke whales and dolphins are common and even the occasional blue whale has been seen in Steingrimmsfjordur Bay. The offshore island of Grimsey (not to be confused with the island of the same name on the arctic circle above Iceland), is accessible by boat in summer with daily trips for puffin watching. It is home to millions of the little birds, making this the second largest puffin colony in Iceland.

Amenities include 2 swimming pools, a guest house, camp ground, post office, general store and N1 petrol station.

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