Breiðafjörður, or Broad fjord, is the largest fjord of Iceland, between Snæfellsnes Glacier National Park to the south and the Látrabjarg cliffs of the Westfjords to the north. The eastern half is dotted with thousands of islands surrounded by biologically dynamic Arctic and Atlanctic waters flowing in from the Denmark Strait. The islands are now only inhabited in the summertime, where as until only 100 years ago it was a maritime breadbasket and an important center of commerce.
Some of the most important medieval literature of Iceland were penned here as this area was a source of great wealth. Sturla Þórðarson (1214–1284) was an Icelandic politician/chieftain and writer of sagas and contemporary history during the 13th century, his residency, Stadarhóll was in the vicinity of Nyp. Collections of oral stories were gathered over centuries from sailors, scholars, farmers and settlers, among others the Flatey Book -Flateyjarbók, named after Flat Island, and Laxdæla Saga.
The south eastern part of the fjord was the departure point for Eric the Red’s exiled migration and colonization of Greenland, just a few days’ sail to the west– after he was expelled first from Norway and then Iceland for having murdered one too many. His farmstead can be visited in Haukadalur, or Hawks Dale. A reconstructed turf longhouse is open every day from 9:00-18:00, June 1st ~ August 31, and call for other times + 354 434 1118 or +354 661 0434. www.eiriksstadir.is
Breidafjordur has an Icelandic law specifically written to protect it, and hopefully this idea will expand with the UNESCO World Heritage description of the Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve. The designated area can be seen outlined on the Marine Protected Area Map.