Although it is the largest town in and the capital of the Westfjords region of Iceland, Ísafjörður has a mere 2,600 inhabitants and is only connected to the mainland by a narrow nine-meter-wide (30-foot-wide) isthmus. Local lore has it that the isthmus, and the town itself, were formed by a group of trolls who wanted to live apart from humans. Despite its small population, Ísafjörður has earned a reputation as a cultured and urbane town thanks to its excellent choral and theatrical groups, a nationally known theater festival called Act Alone and the popular music festival Aldrei Fór Ég Suður (“I Never Went South”) held each Easter.
Ísafjörður and its outlying regions stretch over 2,300 square kilometers (900 square miles) from the stunning waterfall of Dynjandi in the south to the vast Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the north where, on the cliff of Hornbjarg, visitors can see the largest colony of seabirds in the North Atlantic. Along Iceland's spectacular coastline, glacier-carved green mountains stand in contrast against the deep blue sea.
Given its location, it’s no surprise that the fishing industry has long been central to life in Ísafjörður—you'll likely pass fishing boats headed out to sea. On dry land, chief among Ísafjörður’s attractions is the Westfjord Heritage Museum, situated at the tip of the spit on which the town makes its home, in a renovated 18th-century house. The museum focuses mainly on maritime history; you’ll find everything from fishhooks to antique ships here.