Where history and legend unite
When your MSC cruise to northern Europe takes you to the north western point of Iceland, you will cast anchor at Isafjordur, a small town of ancient origins.
In Isafjordur you will find the oldest standing Icelandic house, built in 1743. In the periphery of Bolungarvík, the northernmost location in the western fjords, one can instead visit Ósvör, once a fisherman’s village and now an open air museum.
The past re-emerges also in the old town of Nedstikaupstadur, where Icelandic and Norwegian merchants first, and then British and German ones, would meet in the mid-15th century in the bay of Isafiord. Here, in the second half of the 18th century, Krambud (the shop) was built, that was converted in the 20th century into a private home; as well as Faktorshus (the farmers house); Tjoruhus (the tar house) and Turnhus (the tower house) used as warehouses and fish processing centres.
While on your MSC cruise to Northern Europe, if you want to get an idea of how Icelanders used to live in the past, try an excursion to Vigur, literally the “spear-shaped island”. Its waters host a great deal of sea lions who feed on marine birds such as the puffin, the black guillemot, the aggressive arctic tern (who can attack people if it feels threatened) and the common eider.
Another spectacle of nature is the Naustahvilft, the “troll’s seat”, a large depression shaped like a half moon in the flat mountains that surround the Isafjordur fjord. Legend has it that it was created by a troll caught by the sunlight sitting on the mountain with its feet in the water.
Whether you believe in the legend or more likely in a valley dug out by the ice during the last ice age, try this brief but intense excursion, it is certainly worth it.