Eyrarbakki is a charming, quiet town with a long history that could have turned out very differently—it was in the running for capital city of Iceland, but lost out to Reykjavik, in part because of Reykjavik’s better harbor. Now a village of 500 inhabitants, Eyrarbakki retains its old-time charm, boasting one of the oldest wooden houses in Iceland, built in 1765; the oldest two-story church in Iceland, built in 1890, with an altarpiece painted by the then-queen of Denmark; and numerous houses that are nearly or over 100 years old. The renowned Rauða Húsið restaurant (The Red House) is a short walk away, and throughout the town the roar of the sea can be heard, if not seen. A high sea-wall was built in the 1990s to protect the town from the ravages of the sea during fierce storms, so from street level, the sea itself isn’t visible. However, a walking path extends the length of the sea-wall, spanning the town, and is an ideal place to enjoy the sunset or observe the many sea birds that frequent the shallow coastal lagoons.