Located just five kilometers from Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon, the quaint harbor town of Grindavik presents a nice opportunity to visit an authentic Icelandic fishing village. The town is also near the airport, making it the perfect place to start, or finish, your Iceland adventure!
With a population of approximately 3,300, Grindavik is a quiet town except down at the harbor. Grindavik boasts one of the most active harbors on the entire island of Iceland, and it’s put to good use. The town is a prominent fishing industry center that accounts for about 40% of Iceland’s salt fish production.
There are a few restaurants in Grindavik but the one I had my eye on was Papa’s Restaurant, AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. (The Bryggjan Cafe, overlooking the harbor and frequented by local fishermen, is another good choice.) The building itself is not much to look at and the interior is almost strip shopping center bland. But the food?! Wow! Online reviews suggested both the salted cod and the pizza. Torn between two favorites I was a glutton and ordered both. I’ve had cod at various restaurants throughout Iceland, including at some well-regarded restaurants in Reykjavik, but the ovenbaked cod at Papa’s was the most succulent and sumptuous I’ve ever had, by far. And no wonder, it probably came straight out of the Atlantic! And the pizza was delicious too.
The cod was so good that I wasn’t surprised to learn that across the street is the Icelandic Saltfish Museum with information on the history of cod fishing in Iceland. The museum also has information about the unique geology of the area.
Speaking of geology, there’s a lot of geology to see in the Grindavik area, with the geothermal Blue Lagoon as but one example. Mossy lava fields blanket the area, and there are lava cliffs, caves, craters, mud pools and steam vents to be found.
From Grindavik there are roads that head both ways along the dramatic coastline where there are crashing waves, lighthouses and shipwrecks to be seen. The roads offer interesting alternative routes to and from the airport and to farther destinations such as Reykjavik and Selfoss.
Location at Google Maps
The soccer stadium (Grindavíkurvöllur) in Grindavik.
Papa’s Restaurant in Grindavik!
The delicious ovenbaked cod with small potatoes and vegetables at Papa’s Restaurant!
Papa’s Restaurant Menu