This is the largest island off
the east coast of Iceland, about 2 km² in area, and the only populated
one until a few decades ago. There was only one farm there and a
church built in 1902. The highest lying point of the island,
Hellisbjarg, is only 58 m high. The island is well vegetated, uneven
and boggy. The cliffs abound in seafowl and a great number of eider
ducks occupies the island during the breeding season.
There are several smaller
islands around the main island, and two of them are connected with it
by cable carriers. The lighthouse was built in 1922. Presumably the
island was inhabited by Irish monks, when the Nordic settlement of
Iceland started. They were called "papar", hence the name of the
Some pieces of small, wooden
crucifixes were discovered there in 1927 and there are signs of
ancient ruins, which have not been excavated yet.
archaeologist Kristian Eldjarn excavated a 10th century farm, a
dwelling and a cow shed. The island offered quite a few advantages in
the past and some of the farmers grew rich. The houses on the island
have been maintained by the family, who lived there last, and used
There are two natural harbours In Papey. The main port is Selavogur in
the west and Attaeringsvogur (Attaeringsvogur) in the north-west. Not
too far on the northern part of the island, behind the farm Bjarg is a
hill which is considered the church of the hidden people and above the
harbour, Arhofn, on the western side of the island, is an impressive
rock called Kastali (The Castle). There the hidden people reside. The
lighthouse on the highest point was built in 1922.
Iceland Saga Trail
Interesting boat trips to the island are on offer
daily tour is offered to Papey Island from Djúpivogur marina, located
across the bay from Hótel Framtíð. The trip lasts 4 hours. The
bird-cliffs of Papey are examined and the seals on nearby scerries as
well. A guided hike on the island itself is included with a look at
Iceland's oldest and smallest wooden-church.