Grundarfjörður is a beautiful town situated on the fjord of Breiðafjörður. The town is located in the middle of the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland. Grundarfjörður has a unique nature and climate. The area in which the town is located is called Eyrarsveit. Around 1940, the present township began to form. Since then the town has been steadily growing. It now has a population of almost 900 people.

Fishing is Grundarfjörður’s chief industry and about half of the workforce is employed in this sector. Various other services and industries have been growing in Grundarfjörður as well. The town is considered unusually beautiful and well-kept and has received several awards for its neat appearance.


The geology of Grundarfjörður is very unique as it spans the entire geological history of Iceland. The volcano, Setberg, in the middle of the area, is a volcano from the Snæfellsnes volcanic belt, which was Iceland’s first eruption belt. Its volcanic activity is believed to have started about 18 million years ago but cooled down about 6 million years ago.

About 2 million years ago, a new eruption period began in the area as a side eruption belt. The youngest eruption in the Grundarfjörður area is believed to be the crater Rauðakúla (meaning “Red Crater”) in Helgrindur, which is about 3000 years old.

The town’s most famous mountain, Kirkjufell is one of the most impressive signs of glacial eruption in Iceland. It was formed over millions of years during the Ice Age. It was located between two glaciers that influenced and shaped the mountain into its current iconic form.


The weather in Grundarfjörður is also special. A unique weather phenomenon in Grundarfjörður is the stormy days combined with strong south winds and heavy rainfall. Despite these 30 to 40 windy days per year, Grundarfjörður is one of the most weather-friendly places in West Iceland.


The Eyrbyggja Saga is one of Iceland's top historical stories and its title can be translated as “The Saga of the People of Eyri”. The Saga is based in Snæfellsnes and tells the story of the settlement of this peninsula. This Saga describes how Eyrarsveit received its name from the settler Vestarr who chose the land Öndverðareyri as his home. Vestarr was the ancestor of the people of Eyri and came from Norway. Archaeologists found the ruins of the Viking huts from the time of the settlement in Öndverðareyri.

For centuries, Grundarfjörður has been an important commercial center thanks to the town’s good natural harbor and its location in the center of Snæfellsnes. The earliest evidence for commerce in Grundarfjörður dates back to the Settlement Age when ships arrived in Salteyrarós. This place was located west of Kirkjufell and is now called Hálsvaðall. At several places in this area, ancient artifacts were found which indicates great trading activity in the Viking Age. The ancient Grundarfjörður market was at Grundarkampi at the end of the fjord. Archaeologists found remarkable ruins from various times in this area. Significant commercial trade took place here in the 15th century.

When Denmark imposed a trade monopoly on Iceland in 1602, Grundarfjörður was one of the designated trading posts in Iceland. For 184 years, Iceland’s economy was under the strict rule from the Iceland-Danish trade monopoly. After this monopoly fell in 1786, Grundarfjörður was certified as one of the country’s first six trading venues. With that act, Grundarfjörður became the capital of the Western District and an important center of commerce and services in Iceland. During this time, Grundarfjörður was the only place in West Iceland where trade was allowed.

French fishermen also profited from the excellent harbor and used the town as a base from 1800 to 1860. During this time, they built a hospital and a church here. This French connection is still present and Grundarfjörður has been twinned with the French 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.

The entrance to the harbor in Grundarfjörður is safe and easily navigable. Minimum depth at the main pier for ocean-going vessels is 6 meters at low tide. In summer 2001, Norðurgarður, a new 140 meters docking, and landing pier was added to the port with a minimum depth of 9 meters. At the end of 2019 work began to extend the harbor even further to be able to receive bigger ships alongside.


Marine Service

Along with the robust development of the fishing fleet and the increased activities of the port, a strong marine service has been built up. The new part of the harbor accommodates an ice-making factory for the fishing sector. When this factory opened in fall 2000, it was the most advanced of its kind in the world. The ice is pumped directly on board the vessels through 3 pipes from the factory at the harbor. Grundarfjörður also has a powerful transport company specialized in the transportation of fish. A landing service also operates at the harbor.

Social and Cultural Activities

Grundarfjörður has long enjoyed stable employment  which has created a positive atmosphere and strengthened community life. Cultural and social activities thrive in the town with  both town and country residents taking part.

All residents can enjoy the sports facilities, gym, swimming pool and the town’s ski slope with its ski lift. Horsemen have built up impressive stables and facilities on the outskirts of town. An active golf club operates a good nine-hole golf course at Suður-Bár. Grundarfjörður also has an association for senior citizens, a hunting club, a rescue team and a number of other social and charitable organizations.

Several restaurants operate in the town. They do not only offer good food and service but they also host  various events that add variety to the town’s social life. Grundarfjörður residents hold their annual summer festival, “Á góðri stund í Grundarfirði" (“Good Times in Grundarfjörður”) on the last weekend in July.


Nature, community life and the area's history, have attracted many tourists from both Iceland and abroad to visit Grundarfjörður. The opportunity to enjoy natural beauty in such peaceful surroundings is considered a privilege by those who normally have to cope with the noise and bustle of city life. 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. This is a wonderful place for those who want to experience peace and relaxation.



The history of trading is long in Grundarfjörður, as described earlier. Englishmen, Germans, Danes, Norwegians, and others came to Grundarfjörður in former times to trade.

In the middle of the 19th century, Grundarkampi lost its trading rights and trade was poor for a few years. But in 1897, a new licensed trading center was opened in Grafarnes, located where the town stands today. This laid the foundation for Grundarfjörður. At first, trading was a bit unstable until urban development began and formed the present township in 1940. Today Grundarfjörður is a thriving town with flourishing businesses and shops offering a wide range of products and services.

Service Contractors

The rapid development of Grundarfjörður has created a need for increased services. The construction industry provides plenty opportunities for contractors living in Grundarfjörður. There are a number of both small and large companies offering a variety of services in the town. Contractors from Grundarfjörður do not only operate in the local area but also undertake projects in other regions. Professional and high-quality contractors successfully participate in calls for bids both inside and outside of Grundarfjörður. These industries have grown rapidly in Grundarfjörður in recent years.

Public Service

Grundarfjörður offers good service for the residents of the municipality. In town, there is a kindergarten with about 60 children, a primary school with almost 100 pupils and a music school with about 50 children. The Upper Secondary School of Snæfellsnes opened in 2004 and currently has more than 200 students. In Grundarfjörður there is also a health center, a library and a well-equipped fire brigade as well as an excellent ambulance service.