Contrary to most small villages on the coastline in Iceland, Flateyri started as a trading post, not as a fishing farm. At the end of the 18th century, the store at the nearby village of Þingeyri started an annex in Önundarfjörður. The store post soon developed into fishing and fish processing parallel to the commercial activity. On the second half of the 19th-century shark catching was lucrative and entrepreneurs at Flateyri participated in that venture. Later a Norwegian investor settled in the small village and started a relatively large whaling operation. So there were more ventures than just pure cod catching to sustain the next meal in the 19th century. Even new enterprises from Germany and other European countries started and ended at that time in Flateyri.
A clear victim of the fishing quota imposed by the Icelandic government
During the 20th century, the village was an active fishing village with many small boats and large trawlers. At that time, in the fifties, sixties and seventies the town grew, and homes popped up. The town's population was near 500 in an active, and kind of booming time for the small village. Much of the infrastructure and services in the community developed at that time. When the Icelandic Government created and implemented the fishing quota system in the nineties, things turned into decline. In recent decades, Flateyri has lost much of its former strength in the fishing industry as well as population.
A struggling community in a larger municipality
Today the small village Flateyri, with a population of approximately 190, is part of the Ísafjörður municipal. This merge became possible in the last half of the 20th century when a tunnel between the two villages opened and enhanced communication to a new and safer level. Like many small communities in Iceland, Flateyri has good access to preschool, primary and middle school. It also has a community center and sports facilities. The community also has good access to other services through the larger municipal of Ísafjörður.
Flateyri has in recent years taken a step towards tourism. The village offers recreational activity, accommodation, has a convenience store and a gas station.
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 Flateyri region.