Ísafjörður in August || Part One

Ísafjörður, Iceland

Ísafjörður is a beautiful little town in the northwest of Iceland. With a population of 2,600, it is the bustling metropolis of the Westfjords (Vestfirðir). I spent my first 3 weeks in Iceland in Ísafjörður for an Icelandic language course. Summer in the Westfjords was in incredible experience. Despite it’s tiny size, (the entire town is only a few streets wide), Ísafjörður has several bakeries, a handful of bar/cafes, a museum, a public swimming pool, a music school, and a culture center.

Ísafjörður, Iceland

The Mountains. No matter where you looked, there they were. In the sunlight, they were surreal and inspiring. Sometimes they seemed to hold back waves of fog from filling up the valley. And one day, when I looked out of the window, the peaks were dusted with snow.

Ísafjörður, Iceland

The water. Like the mountains, the deep, cold water of the fjord is all around you. On one side of the town are the  pleasure boats and other small craft, and on the are are the huge fishing boats with a pragmatic beauty all their own. Since the town is so small, I recommend using google maps to explore it a bit. Ísafjörður, Iceland

The people of Ísafjörður that I met had all the kindness and warmth of a small town and all the culture and education of city dwellers. All the shop owners were happy to help us students practice our newly acquired Icelandic phrases. In fact, one cafe owner insisted that we try ordering in Icelandic since she knew we were students. I stayed in a tidy basement guest apartment with another American student, and at the end of my time there, the landlady invited us to have dinner with her family. Her son drove us home, and on the way, stopped to show us around his family’s newly renovated summer cabin. He had done all the work himself, and it was one of the most darling little homes I’ve ever seen.

Ísafjörður, Iceland

Ísafjörður was the most peaceful (inhabited) place I have ever been. This quiet little town and the fresh air are so good for the soul. I hope to go back at least once before I leave Iceland, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ísafjörður, Iceland

10 thoughts on “Ísafjörður in August || Part One

  1. You should check out Tjöruhúsið if you’re passing by there again. It’s a restaurant that has great fish dishes. I’m not quite sure if it’s open during the winter but it wouldn’t hurt to check.

  2. Hey, cool blog. I’m also considering going to Iceland for a summer course. What made you decide to do the Icelandic course in Ísafjörður rather than the one in Reykjavík? How many people were you in the course? How much did the accomodation cost? How was the course itself? Lots of questions, I know. 🙂 Have a nice time!

    • Hi Frank,
      The Reykjavik course, I believe, is earlier in the summer, and I didn’t want to move here that soon, since I was still working. I also knew I would be living here and have full access to the Arni Magnusson Institute, so it would be great to check out a different part of the country first. We were one of their biggest classes, maybe 60 or 70? I booked my room late, but paid about 500-600 for the whole three weeks. I think that’s about what everyone else paid too. The course was great. It definitley could have been more intensive, but there were three teachers, and I hear some of the other classes were faster paced, so you could ask if you wanted to be in one. I would recommend it, especially since the Westfjords in august are gorgeous. However, I’m guessing the AM course would a bit more intensive academically. You should email the Westfjords University Center. They are very small, and very happy to answer questions. It’s a wonderful town, a wonderful University Center, and a really fun course with plenty of free time for exploration.

      • Thanks for your quick reply, Ezra! Wow, I hadn’t expected 60 or 70 students to follow an Icelandic course there! I mean, who would be crazy like us and try to learn Icelandic? 😉 500 sounds reasonable (if you mean dollars 🙂 ). All the accomodation I found on the Internet was something like 90 euros per night and that would be a little too much. I will definitely ask the Westfjords University Center about this. If possible, I’ll try to have a fast-paced class because I think that suits me best.

        • For accomodation, email Sigurborg (gunnar7[at]simnet.is). She has a great two bedroom guesthouse style apartment in town that she lets out. I stayed there with another student. You really need to email the guesthouses and see what they have for dorm-style/ hostel-style accomodations. There are tons of little guesthouses for the size of the city all with bedrooms and shared kitchens. And yes, I meant in dollars. You’d be surprised at how many people want to learn. That was just for the open course. There were also 100 exchange students who stayed in a nearby town. It made for quite a lively little town those three weeks!

  3. Pingback: Ísafjörður in August || Part Two | An American in Iceland

  4. Pingback: Cozy Winter Cabin for the Weekend | An American in Iceland

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