Pleasantville

Pleasantville

Pleasantville

5 hours after leaving Sudureyri my phone rang. 

“Is this Haukur? This is the lady from the shop in Sudureyri. I believe you were staying at the campsite, right? Are you missing your camera bag?” 

“No, I don’t think so—I would never leave my 9,000 Euro camera laying around—Or, wait, it’s not here!” 

“No worries, someone found it on the street and brought it in here.” 

Sugandafjordur

Sudureyri is that kind of town. It’s not only the world’s safest town with the most honest people, but it may just be the most sustainable village in Iceland.

Elías, at Fisherman, an award winning tourism project, says that Sudureyri is primarily a fishing village. The fish is caught in small boats using traditional methods like long-lines and hand-lines just a short distance from the shore. Pride is taken in using nearly every part of the fish and minimizing waste: intestines are used to make ointments and cod liver oil, and the skin is used by Kerecis for tissue regeneration for humans. Fish heads are dried and exported to Nigeria, bones and other leftovers are minced and used for animal food. The processed fish filets are packed and exported the same day; to be served in restaurants in New York or Berlin only forty hours after being caught.

In addition to optimizing their fish production, the village’s electricity comes from a hydroelectric plant in the end of the fjord, clean drinking water filters through the mountain straight to everyone’s home, and hot water comes naturally from the ground. 

Campsite view

Cod

We stayed in the Bestfjords van at the seafront campsite. We enjoyed observing the boats coming in and out through our porthole, which felt a bit like being on a boat ourselves. We spent time at the harbor watching the fishermen bring in huge cod then go out again for some more. 

Fish plant tour

Food tour

In fact, everything is about fish in Sudureyri, and the best thing is that they are open and welcoming, offering travellers a chance to experience it first hand. Through Fisherman visitors can enlist as crewmembers on a small boat, visit the baiting sheds and help prepare the lines, and even experience a real fishing trip. Those that prefer on shore can do a tour of the high-tech fish plant and learn all about the process. However, my personal favorite is joining actor and guide Víkingur Kristjánsson for a guided food tour around town. Not only is he an all around fun and knowledgeable guy who will tell you the town’s past and recent history, but he will also organize a few delicious stops where you can experience the locally produced fresh goodies. 

Sudureyri may well just offer the most original experience for a traveler in Iceland, and it’s even safe to leave valuables on the streets.