Project Description


Fáskrúðsfjörður is located in the center of the East Fjords with a grassy valley with arctic woodlands at the bottom of the fjord. Around the peninsula, as well as throughout the fjord there are numerous interesting hiking opportunities. The route from Reyðarfjörður along the coast is very scenic and offers excellent views of the hollow cliff island Skrúður. Skrúður is home to a diverse and colourful birdlife with the unique ‘Puffin Cave’ sheltering thousands of puffins and a great colony of Gannets that can be seen plunging into the water below. The village at the bottom of the fjord is officially named Búðir however, everyone calls it Fáskrúðsfjörður and inhabits 662 people.

The town became a trading post in 1880 and in the late 19th century until 1935, the town was the main hub for French fishermen. The town is known for its French heritage which is still being cultivated, and in a gesture to the local heritage, the street signs in town are both in French and Icelandic. In July the village celebrates the ‘French Days’ and their connections with the sister town of Gravelines, France. The french fishing operation was not only important for the eastern fjords of Iceland, they were also highly important for villages of the northern French coasts. In the french town Dunkerque approximately 6000 people were employed in the relation to fishing off Iceland in 1860’s.

In the town’s well-manicured French Quarter, you can learn more in the French museum that explores these historical connections, and take a walk around town to admire the restored buildings. The renovation of the French heritage buildings, one of the largest historical restoration outside the capitol area, was finished in the summer of 2014. The five French buildings play a substantial role in local culture and society in Fáskrúðsfjörður. The French Hospital, for example, now serves as a hotel with a restaurant on the ground floor. The Chapel is the only building that still maintains its original role and is open for guests of the French museum.


GPS: 64.9303689,-14.5687176




Fáskrúðsfjörður French Days are celebrated during the third weekend of July and last for three days. During these days the village celebrated the fjord’s links to the French fishermen. Representatives from the village’s French sister community, Graveline, also participate in the celebration. The festival is focused on French entertainment mixed with the Icelandic and for example, the French boules games pétanque become an indispensable event of the festival weekend. The festival officially starts Friday night with a bon fire and a sing-a-long, however, locals usually jumpstart the fun and have made a Thursday night walk called ‘kenderísgangan’ a tradition. The fishermen who lost their lives at sea are commemorated in a simple ceremony in the French cemetery.

The French museum is located in two stately buildings, the Doctor’s House and the French Hospital, built by French fishermen around 1900. The main attraction of the museum is, however, located in a tunnel that connects the two buildings. The museum explores the interesting history and legacy of the French sailors and is shown by the means of the latest multimedia technology.

The French sailors settled at Fáskrúðsfjörður from the mid 19th century till the First World War, with the number of French ships off the coast peaking at 200 – 300. The history of French cod fishing off Iceland, however, goes back all the to the 17th century. During this long history, many ships never made to back to France and it is estimated that up to 400 of them were lost around Iceland, along with 4000-5000 sailors. Down by the French graveyard, a monument has been erected in honour of these heroes who were subjected to hard work.