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 back. You might find hundreds of dangling shark slices drying; the last step in the process.


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