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Breiðdalsvík is a small seaside village situated by a cove (Icel. vík) of the same name. Inland from the cove is the aptly named valley Breiðdalur (“Broad Valley”), the largest valley in the East Fjords. Framed by majestic mountain ranges, Breiðdalur possesses great natural beauty.
A proper village did not emerge in Breiðdalsvík until the 1960s, though the town was licensed as a trading post long before, in 1883. Until then, the present town consisted only of a scattering of farmhouses and a general store. There was considerable disagreement about whether a town should be established by the seaside or in the valley, near the ancient parsonage at Heydalir. Many found it appropriate for a village to be built up around the parsonage, but the interests of the fishing industry ultimately won out. Fishing and fish processing were understandably the primary employment of Breiðdalsvík’s inhabitants during the town’s rapid growth in the latter half of the 20th century.
Breiðdalsvík and Breiðdalur are now home to about 200 people, and while the fishing industry is still an important source of employment, tourism has been a growing industry since the turn of the century. Farming and various services round out the most common forms of employment. The area offers a wide range of services, including restaurants, museums, hotels, and a general store, kindergarten, elementary school, library, sports center, car repair shop, bank, post office, and healthcare center.