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Standard Road In The Westfjords

Visit the Stunning Westfjords of Iceland

 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.

A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
This is what the roads look like in much of the Westfjords region

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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.

A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
Watch for sheep darting onto the roads when you’re driving

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.

A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
Heading towards the peninsula; you can see it but we’re not on it in this photo
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
Lonely cottages but what a view
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
Cars were a rare sight once we hit the Westfjords region
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
With near constant wind these whitecaps must be omnipresent
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
I have never seen so many churches in the middle of nowhere as I did in Iceland
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
The Sorcerer’s Cottage – part of the Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft; the aim is to showcase the living conditions of tenants who were whipped or burned for “practicing superstitious and simple magic” It’s a short walk from the hotel.
Big, desolate, raw landscapes in this part of Iceland
Big, desolate, raw landscapes in the Westfjords of Iceland
With so many yellow posts, my guess is that it is quite foggy at times
With so many yellow posts, my guess is that it is quite foggy at times
 Somewhere between Bjarnarnes and Drangsnes
Somewhere between Bjarnarnes and Drangsnes in the Westfjords of Iceland
High cuteness factor but not so bright
High cuteness factor but not so bright
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
Scenery in the Bjarnarfjörður Valley
The Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft
The Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft
Colourful home in Holmavik
Colourful home in Holmavik
A brooding landscape in the Westfjords
A brooding landscape driving through the Westfjords of Iceland
A Visit to Iceland's Spectacular Westfjords Region
What’s a drive without a waterfall in Iceland?

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 Westfjord 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.

For even more information about Iceland visit the Iceland Tourism website.

Further reading related to this Iceland trip

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

A visit to the stunning Westfjords of Iceland

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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