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A view of a red barn from the water of Port Eskifjordur Iceland

Eskifjordur, Iceland

Just over 1,000 people live in Eskifjörður, a town that shares its name with the fjord it sits on, in eastern Iceland. A visit here provides a fascinating look at how life has been lived on the Icelandic coast for centuries. As was true in the 1700s, when Eskifjörður's economy was driven by the local herring catch, fishing remains central to this day even while the town has become increasingly known as a port of call for cruise ships.Dotted with red-and-white wooden houses, Eskifjörður is watched over by 985-meter (3,231-foot) Hólmatindur Mountain and is home to a ski resort. Outdoor activities aren’t limited to the winter, however. In warmer months, the nearby Hólmanes peninsula is a popular area to go hiking and bird-watching.  A bit farther afield, the beautiful landscapes around the Borgarfjörður estuary and the Hengifoss waterfall—one of the tallest in Iceland—are also worth a visit. Back in town, the local maritime museum, once a herring processing factory, includes artifacts that illuminate the history of the region. Make some time during your visit for a lunch at one of the town’s restaurants—you’re unlikely to find seafood much fresher than that served here.