Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum

Museum in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Image by Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo Getty Images

The farmstead at Bjarnarhöfn is the region’s leading producer of hákarl (fermented shark meat), a traditional Icelandic dish. The museum has exhibits on the history of this culinary curiosity, along with the family's fishing boats and processing tools. A video explains the butchering and fermenting procedure.

Find the museum off Rte 54 on a turnout from Rte 577, on the fjordside, northeastern edge of Bjarnarhafnarfjall (575m).

Greenland shark, which is used to make hákarl, is poisonous if eaten fresh; fermentation neutralises the toxin. Note that Greenland shark is classified as near threatened, and is the longest-living vertebrate on the planet, with some living over 500 years.

Each visit to the museum comes with a bracing nibble of hákarl, accompanied by Brennivín (aka 'black death') schnapps. Ask about the drying house out the back. You might find hundreds of dangling shark slices drying, the last step in the process.


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