Ísafjörður is laid out on a coastal spit shaped like the number "7" in a small fjord called Skutulsfjörður. The northernmost part of town -- from the mainland to the elbow of the "7" -- is known as Hæstikaupstaður, which loosely translates to "Uptown." Hæstikaupstaður has most of Ísafjörður's historic homes, built by fishing merchants in the 19th and early-20th centuries. Before walking around town, pick up the Ísafjörður History map at the tourist center, or visit the Heritage Museum, which has an accessible exhibit on town history. West Tours offers a 2- to 3-hour town walking tour on request (around 5,000kr, including admission to Heritage Museum; minimum two people), which smartly combines historical sights with introductions to local characters -- including Ísafjörður's accordion-playing barber.
Miðkaupstaður (Midtown), boundaried by Silfurgata to the north and Mjósund to the south, is Ísafjörður's commercial center. The main drags are Hafnarstræti and Aðalstræti, which converge at Silfurtorg, the town square. The information center is on Aðalstræti, at Miðkaupstaður's south end. The Heritage Museum, the main harbor, and most of the warehouses and industrial buildings are in Neðsdikaupstaður (Downtown), the southernmost section of Ísafjörður.
Set back from the rotary where Ísafjörður meets the mainland, Úr Álögum (Breaking the Spell II) is a provocative and intricate rendering of St. George and the dragon, by Iceland's foremost sculptor Einar Jónsson. The naked woman curled on George's arm is the Libyan princess he spared from being sacrificed to the dragon. A shriveled female figure, a symbol of the dragon's curse, is morphed into a cloak that the princess casts off as the dragon's head is pierced by George's sword.
What To See & Do -- While Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavík is the country's reigning alternative/indie music festival, Ísafjörður's Aldrei fór ég suður (www.aldrei.is), on the Friday and Saturday before Easter, is the fresh upstart. Its name, which means "I never went south," is an expression used by locals who have resisted the steady migration of population to the capital. Like Airwaves, international acts are included; but, unlike Airwaves, every performance is free. Flight and accommodation packages are sold by West Tours.
Other events during Easter Week include art exhibitions and Ski Week (Skíðavikan), featuring trail competitions, snowboarding jumps, and a family day. Check with the Ísafjörður information center for details.
Ísafjörður's annual Act Alone Theater Festival (www.actalone.net), held over 4 days in late June, is devoted to solo performances by Icelandic and international "monodramatists." Admission is free.
Swamp soccer, a sport recently invented in Finland, is basically what it sounds like: soccer on a muddy field, with some rule modifications. Ísafjörður is a swamp soccer hotbed, with a tournament held the first weekend of August; for more information, visit www.myrarbolti.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.