Color & Curiosity At The Edge Of The World

Color & Curiosity At The Edge Of The World

Seyðisfjörður, Iceland

Michael Marquand & Sarah Cahlan | Photography by Michael Marquand


If you’ve ever been to Iceland, you’re probably familiar with the colorful art scene, modern architecture and thriving culinary culture in Reykjavik. You probably also know that as you move farther east away from Reykjavik, the cultural flare diminishes. However, it’s not a bad trade - the less art there is, the more the landscape morphs into glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs and other natural phenomenas. Mother Nature becomes the artist, and the landscape is her canvas. But in one remote town, the scene is almost dwarfed by the people and their buildings. The curious and colorful town of Seyðisfjörður is a charming piece of civilization that offers a respite from the wildness of East Iceland. Seyðisfjörður nestled in the mountains of the eastern coast, was originally settled by Norwegian fisherman in 1848 and had spent most of its history as a fishing village until World War II when the town became an important military base. Today, the municipality has a population of fewer than 700 people but offers substantially more culture than any village of its size. There’s a small main street in the center of town, with bike rentals, artist shops selling handmade goods, and restaurants offering farm-to-table meals, freshly baked goods and locally brewed beer. The thriving artist community sits in direct contrast to the remoteness of the town.


The Norwegians who first settled the town built colorful wooden buildings, many of which are still in tact and used today.


Left: Horses in a pasture near the town remind visitors that this culturally rich town is not a stereotypical urban jungle. Right: Rainbow colored pathway through the center of town leading to Seyðisfjörður church (also known as the blue church). 


Traditional and modern homes owned by residential artist who decorate the exterior as they see fit. 


Clockwise from left: Detail of the exterior of an artist's home, locally brewed beer at Café Lara El Grillo Bar, road through southwest Iceland, Seyðisfjörður modern art sculpture at the center of town


Clockwise from Left: Seyðisfjörður church, wild sheep in a green pasture near town, colorful boats docked at Seyðisfjörður harbour, mural painting on a locals home, traditional Scandanavian archiecture


The combination of Seyðisfjörður's natural and man-made beauty is most notable on the harbor at sunset.