Djúpavík used to be one of the busiest villages in Iceland, but only for a very short period. Located at the Reykjarjförður on the east coast of the Westfjords, it was never an ideal site for a village or a town, but it was worth the try. The story goes back to 1917 when an entrepreneur named Elís Stefánsson decided to build a herring factory in Djúpavík. The timing was, of course, all wrong with the Great War raging in Europe, followed by economic depression. The whole enterprise went bust in 1919. Though Elias's creditors tried to take over the business, it really was one dead duck and abandoned during the 1920s.
Big things in a small setup
This failure didn't prevent the resettlement of Djúpavík in 1934. A new factory was built and for a few years, business was booming. It was a major factory, the most technologically advanced in the world, and the factory building amongst the largest concrete structures in Europe at the time. Then, in 1944 the herring stock started declining and vanished altogether in 1948. The owners tried to process other fish, but their attempts were in vain. Again, the enterprise went bankrupt in 1954. All the residents moved away, and the buildings were abandoned to rot.
The third attempt is under way but smaller in scale
But, the story didn't end there. The optimists, who built the factory, wanted the buildings to last, to withstand any weather the Arctic chose to throw at it. The buildings didn't rot, and 40 years later they were once again put to use when first of the old factory buildings (the Women's Quarter) was converted to a hotel. Today this place of melancholic beauty is a great place to visit.
If you are going to visit the Westfjords in Iceland you might be looking for a places to stay. Here you can book from a selection of accommodationin the Djúpavík region.