Treasure at the End of the World
Drink in the beauty of Tröllskagi with a stay at Hvanneyri Guesthouse
As you drive north, you feel as if you are heading to the end of the World. But with the new tunnels now open, suddenly it doesn’t seem so far away. It’s so much more accessible.
The landscape starts changing. Beautiful bays, dotted with farms nestled under mountain ranges, endless expanses of blue sea. Finally, a tunnel on the edge of the mountain.
As you come out the other end of the tunnel, you are greeted by the breathtaking sight of one of the most beautiful fjords in the country and you could be forgiven for thinking you had found Shangri-La.
A short drive down the mountain brings you to the fishing town of Siglufjörður, where fortunes were made fishing herring in the last century. The herring have all but gone now but the people have stayed - and it is easy to see why.
The town clings to the side of the mountain, a strong community with a unique heritage to share. I’ve been here on many different occasions and speak from personal experience. However, it’s not just the beauty of the surroundings, the people here are warm and welcoming.
Hvanneyri Guesthouse is the epitome of that warmth you meet here. It’s a family-run business that exudes personal and friendly service.
Located on the main street, it is surrounded by the shops, bakery and restaurants, making it a perfect spot from which to base both when exploring Tröllskagi peninsula but farther afield, too.
The family offers accommodation to fit every customer’s budget with a wide range including lavish suites to dorms, thus making it possible for anyone to stay and enjoy the area and town.
Katrín Sif Andersen, one of the owners of the guesthouse says that those who do make their way there never regret it. In fact, many who were intent on staying only one night wind up extending their stay for several days – so it should come as no surprise that strong friendships are built. Many often return and when Katrín had a baby, she received gifts from one of her customers.
The town itself is changing now that the herring fishing has all but ended. Artists, seeking inspiration, have moved here, attracted by the tranqility and beauty the area offers.
The vibrant community life is matched by its cultural heritage. Best known, perhaps, is the work of the Rev. Bjarni Þorsteinsson, a one-time resident of Siglufjörður, who diligently collected and documented hundreds of folk songs from the year 1880 onwards, resulting in the Folk Music Centre.
In recognition of their fishing heritage, the town has built a very interesting Herring Museum that is really worth a visit. The patriarch of the guesthouse worked in Siglufjörður’s fishing industry since he was six years old right up until the last fish processing plant was closed last year. Such was the size of the fishing industry that, at its peak, it accounted for 20% of all Iceland’s total exports.
So there is much to interest visitors in this northern outpost, and staying at Hvanneyri not only allows them to venture out but also to tap a mine of knowledge from the family running it.