The spectacular Westfjords of Iceland region gets overlooked by most visitors to the country. It’s in the hard to reach northwest and even through its crisscrossed with roads, many are closed for a big portion of the year.
The driving, even on the good roads in the Westfjords of Iceland, is slow. In hindsight, I wish we’d had a week in this area as its just so wild and desolate feeling. Always keep your gas tank topped up and carry snacks in the car as you never know when you’ll next come to a gas station or restaurant. Book hotels well in advance as there aren’t a lot of options.
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The Westfjords of Iceland – an unspoiled landscape
There aren’t a lot of people who live on the peninsula – under 7,000 at last count and the bulk of them live in the town of Isafjordur where there is a small airport. What you will find apart from loads of sheep, is a gorgeous, unspoiled landscape that feels far removed from the touristy Golden Circle.
In hindsight we should have spent more time in the Westfjords. It’s so hard to know what to prioritize when you have only two weeks for the whole country. As it was we had a night and two days.
What we missed in the Westfjords of Iceland
Although we certainly got a sense of the lonely, quiet landscape we missed the world-famous Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs. The cliffs are home to literally millions of birds including puffins, razorbills, northern gannets and guillemots.
And in summer a trip to the remote Hornstrandir Nature Reserve at the tip of the peninsula would be an incredible destination for backcountry hiking. But it’s very difficult to access.
It took us the better part of eight hours with scenic stops along the way to drive from Myvatn to Hótel Laugarhóll (I’d recommend it) in the Bjarnarfjörður Valley on the east side of the peninsula.
The drive is spectacular once you reach the Westfjords, especially on the coastal roads. Outstanding views out to the Greenland Sea and the distant snow-capped mountains keep you company.
Enjoy the photos from our brief stay in the Westfjords. At the very least they’ll give you an idea of what’s in store for you once you reach the peninsula.
Obviously I’ve just scratched the surface of the Westfjords region. But I think you can see what a raw, lonely landscape it offers. Not everyone likes the lack of people and services but if you do, make your way here.
A ferry option for getting to the Westfjords of Iceland
If you don’t have a lot of time there is the option to take the ferry from Stykkisholmur on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Brjanslaekur via a possible stop on the Flatey Islands. Then it’s just a few hours drive to the Látrabjarg Bird Cliffs.