The mention of Bolungarvík in the Icelandic Book of Settlement is both interesting and unusual. It was a woman, Þuríður sundafyllir, not a man or a famous Viking, that settled in Bolungarvík around one thousand years ago. From that time up to the second half of the nineteenth century, most of the inhabitants lived on farms in the two valleys so beautifully placed in between the three mountains that are characteristic for Bolungarvík.
Bolungarvík is one of the older fishing stations in Iceland
Fishing has always been important because of the short distance to rich fishing grounds. For centuries, Bolungarvík was one of the largest fishing station in Iceland, with houses scattered throughout the land into both walleyes. At the end of the 19th century, a village started to grow as houses became denser around the coast. Fishing, fish processing, and commercial activities became the primary means of income and more organized. And the former fishing station grew into a village. Like many towns around the coastline in Iceland, major changes started when Icelanders began to use decked vessels and motorboats.
Transportation on land was always difficult
Transportation on land was always difficult for Bolungarvík. Most of the transportation was by sea, and a road wasn’t built until 1950. A road that proved to be quite dangerous due to avalanches and rock falls from a high and steep mountain above the road. It wasn’t until 2010 that the village got a permanent solution to their transportation when the road was moved and a tunnel built through the mountains.
Today fishing and fish processing is still the primary economic base and the means of income for most families. Like so many villages in the West, Fjords Bolungarvík was hit hard by the fishing quota system created by the Icelandic Government in 1990. Instead of large vessels and active fish processing companies, everything is smaller and less active compared to the seventies and the eighties.
Bolungarvík and people traveling in Iceland
Like many of the towns and villages around the coastline in Iceland, most of the houses are single family houses built in the fifties up until the eighties in the last century. At that time, much of the town's infrastructure was built to provide the necessary service required by residents today. Bolungarvík has a preschool, elementary, middle school and a library. There is also easy access to the high school in Ísafjörður only minutes away. The town has a sports center and a swimming pool, offers accommodation, has a gas station and a beautiful camping site.
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 Bolungarvík region.