Seydisfjordur, Iceland

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The lush valleys and dramatic waterfalls of Seyðisfjörður are some of the most picturesque sights on Iceland’s east coast. And at the head of the fjord sits the colorful, lively town of Seyðisfjörð with a thriving art and music scene thanks to the LungA Art Festival and concerts in the landmark Blue Church each summer. The Skaftfell Center for Visual Art, open year round, exhibits the work of young artists and also has a popular bistro and a bookstore. Seyðisfjörð was founded in the 19th century by Norwegian settlers, who built some of the brightly painted wooden buildings you see today. The town, population 700, has kept its connection to the European mainland: It's the only port in Iceland that regularly sees passenger ships from Europe, through a ferry service to and from Denmark and the Faroe Islands. The residents in the area surrounding Seyðisfjörð are more likely to be wild reindeer—originally imported from Norway, they're the only such animals in Iceland—and arctic foxes, while seals and porpoises swim along the coast. Many native bird species, including puffins and arctic terns, nest around town, with dozens of species at Skálanes, a nature reserve and research center. Farther afield is Iceland’s largest forest, one of its tallest waterfalls and many opportunities for hiking, cycling and kayaking.
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