Having wound northeast around the convoluted coast for 60km from Hofsós, Route 76 cuts through an unpleasantly dark and narrow single-lane tunnel to land you at the enjoyably remote fishing port of SIGLUFJÖRÐUR (known locally as Sigló), a highlight of any trip to the northwest. The country’s most northerly town, Siglufjörður clings precariously to the foot of steep mountain walls which enclose an isolated narrow fjord on the very edge of Iceland: the Arctic Circle is barely 40km away and you’re as far north here as Canada’s Baffin Island and central Alaska. Winters can be particularly severe, though in summer, Siglufjörður makes an excellent base from which to hike across the surrounding mountains.
Today, Siglufjörður’s heyday as a herring-fishing town is long gone and the place is considerably quieter, with a population of just thirteen hundred people. It’s a pleasant spot, consisting of a handful of parallel streets with unkempt multicoloured homes grouped around the main street, Túngata, which turns into Snorragata as it approaches the harbour, busy with the goings-on of a low-key fishing port. Here, you’ll see fishermen mending their nets in the shipyard and fish hanging out to dry – the town still produces kippers (smoked herring) from a factory down by the harbour. Once you’ve seen the herring museum there’s some excellent hiking to be had along the trails that lead up out of the fjord.