The Finnafjord

North-East Iceland

The Finnafjord area is located between two main villages in North-East Iceland. Thorshöfn in the north is in about 15 min. driving distance from Finnafjord and Vopnafjord in the south is in about 45 min. driving distance from Finnafjord. The small village Bakkafjördur is located in between.
The North-East part of Iceland is a densely populated area. About 1300 people are living in those three villages. Airports are in Vopnafjördur and in Thorshöfn used for domestic flights.
The peninsula Langanes is 40 km long. Langanes and the 748 m high Gunnolfsvikurfjall is as a wind and wave braker for the Finnafjord. On top of the mountain Gunnolfsvikurfjall is a NATO radar station.

The Geology of Finnafjord Area

After the ice melted, the land has risen due to isostatic changes. Due to this the Finnafjord is deep and the former subsea gravel banks are now on dry land. This is the reason for the flat surface. This material is ideal for constructions and the making of concrete. The area has a very thin layer of earth and primitive vegetation due to good drain effects.

The offshore situation

The Gulfstream

Normally the Gulfstream carries mild rather-warm ocean water towards the South and East coast of Iceland. Due to the movement of Low pressure areas crossing the North Atlantic Ocean the wind direction is from south and southwest. This is the main reason for the ice free ocean around Iceland the whole year around.
The ice is packed at the east coast of Greenland and drifting from there towards south-west with cold currents along the coast of Greenland. Rather seldom the ice drifts towards Iceland and can hit the north and west coast of Iceland. The Langanes peninsula is like a long arm preventing the ice from drifting towards the south. This is one of the reasons why Finnafjord is better located for a transshipping Hub than fjords at the north coast of Iceland.


The depth in the Finnafjord was first measured with a radar in the summer of 2007 by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute. The surprising fact is that the depth close to the current coastline is between 25-70 m. Keeping in mind all the gravel material in the onshore coast it should be ideal to build up a harbor facility in the Finnafjord.

Wave height

The wave height in the Finnafjord was predicted by using a calculation model using wave heights and currents in the North Atlantic Ocean and close to the coast of Iceland. This was done in the year 2008 by the Icelandic Maritime Administration. The result is in line with experience from the fishermen themselves. The worst case calculated scenario for Finnafjord shows the following surprising fact. A wave coming one in 100 years in Finnafjord is lower than a wave coming one a year near Reykjavik.

The Finnafjördur Iceland
The Wave Height (M)