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Skyline of Grundarfjarðarbær
Location of Grundarfjarðarbær
|• Mayor||Björg Ágústdóttir|
|• Total||148 km2 (57 sq mi)|
|• Density||5.89/km2 (15.3/sq mi)|
Grundarfjörður is a small town, situated in the north of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. It is situated between a mountain range and the sea. The nearby mountain Kirkjufell forms a small peninsula. Kirkjufell, one of the most famous mountains in Iceland is the landmark of Grundarfjörður and visible from all angles in town.
The town received the right to do commerce in 1786. Around 1800, French merchants came to Iceland and lived in Grundarfjörður, where they constructed a church and a hospital of their own. The town has become rich through the fishing industry, and this wealth shows in the style of the original, luxurious houses being built.
The road to nearby Stykkishólmur crosses a big lava field, called Berserkjahraun. The name of the lava field comes from the Eyrbyggja saga, according to which two Berserkers were slain here by their master, because one of them fell in love with his master's daughter.
- Paimpol, Brittany. Grundarfjörður and Paimpol in Brittany in northwest France have strong historical connections. Between 1852 and 1935, Breton sailors from Paimpol and the surrounding region sailed to Iceland to catch cod. The connection between the two towns was sealed in a formal friendship and Grundarfjörður has been twinned with the Breton town Paimpol since 2004.
Port and Fisheries
The harbor is the district's lifeline. Excellent harbor facilities and favorable natural conditions have encouraged the growth of the fishing sector. Well-established fishing companies operate in Grundarfjörður. They possess quotas for a variety of species, which means that fishing activity is evenly distributed throughout the year. The industry has been developed with a view to the future and today, Grundarfjörður's harbor is one of the 10 largest quota-fishery harbors in the country with the biggest demersal catch in West Iceland being landed here.
Nature, community life, and the area's history have attracted many tourists from both Iceland and abroad to visit Grundarfjörður. Grundarfjörður is the perfect place for discovering Snæfellsnes as it is so centrally located. There are also a number of activities on offer from Grundarfjörður such as horseback riding, kayaking, whale watching, glacier tours, birdwatching boat tours, and sea angling. An impressive mountain range offers interesting hiking opportunities and excellent views over the area.
- Mount Kirkjufell - the most famous landmark of Grundarfjörður. Kirkjufell means Church Mountain and it refers to its majestic size, iconic shape and the freestanding form of the mountain.
- Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall - small but beautiful series of waterfalls in walking distance from Kirkjufell
- Grundarfoss Waterfall - one of the highest waterfalls in the West of Iceland
- Grundarfjörður Harbor - follow the footpath along the shore to enjoy the famous Mt. Kirkjufell from a different perspective. There is an interesting information board depicting a timeline of the harbor and its functions
- Saga Center Grundarfjörður - accommodates several interesting exhibits about the town in former times. All exhibitions are free of charge
- Grundarfjörður Church - opened in 1966. The architect was Halldór Halldórsson. A litho-printed copy of the Guðbrand’s Bible is on display in the church. It is the first book to be printed in Iceland and one of 500 original copies.
Culture & Art
- Saga Centre in Grundarfjörður - accommodates several interesting exhibits about the town in former times.
- Bæringsstofa - small movie theater in the Saga Centre, named after the photographer from Grundarfjörður, Bæring Cecilsson (1923-2002). An interesting slideshow of his pictures about life in Grundarfjörður through the ages is presented in the cinema.
The town also offers some interesting pieces of outdoor art to explore:
- Lúðvík Karlsson - local folk artist. About 25 of his interesting stone sculptures are on display all over town. He also has a workshop and gallery in Sólvellir 6.
- Statue “Sýn" - stands next to the church in Grundarfjörður. It is a tribute to the life and work of fishermen and was created by Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir.
- Orca Sculpture - by Unnsteinn Guðmundsson. Snæfellsnes is the only area in Iceland where orcas are seen regularly and this sculpture shall raise awareness of these fascinating animals.
- Paimpol Cross - a monument to commemorate the French sailors who drowned in Icelandic waters erected at Grundarkampur, the ancient Grundarfjörður trade site.
- "Umkringja" - five photographs from Nina Zurier installed on the exterior of an old fish factory next to the harbor in Grundarfjörður. This installation was part of the art exhibition Nr. 3 - Umhverfing that included a variety of different exhibits all around the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Sports & Recreation
All residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of sports facilities in town.
- Swimming Pool - comfortable little pool in a prime location next to the campsite. Two hot tubs and a wading pool for children.
- Ski Resort Snæfellsnes - ski slope just outside of town with the only ski lift in Snæfellsnes.
- Golf Course - 9-hole golf course located in a beautiful environment, around 8 km from Grundarfjörður.
Annual Festival "Á Góðri Stund í Grundarfirði"
The annual town festival is celebrated on the last weekend in July. Á góðri stund is usually translated as Good Times in Grundarfjörður, which does the festival justice! The town event offers fun activities for the whole family, ranging from art exhibitions to music concerts. It is a longstanding tradition that locals decorate their streets with a specific color. They also dress up in their street’s color for the entire weekend which brings a vibrant and fun look at the festival.