Westfjords

The Westfjords of Iceland  are magical. It is the oldest part of Iceland. Formed over 16 million years ago. The nature is pristine with high steep mountains and deep fjords and valleys carved by the ice age glaciers. The scenic landscape invites birds like puffins, eagles and arctic terns, arctic foxes and tourists the come to enjoy visiting them in their natural habitat. 

The Westfjords are great for watching the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), dancing in the sky, during the winter and equally  fantastic to experience the midnight sun during the summer, when it never sets down.

 

The six areas of the Westfjords

 

Reykhólar and Barðaströnd

The shore on the south coast of the Westfjords is characterized by many bays separated by high mountains, with narrow stretches of coastal lowland and in many places sheer cliffs. Outside you will see the many islands in Breiðafjörður Bay. This part of the Westfjords has relatively large vegetation cover and some geothermal fields exist. This district is renowned for natural beauty and rich bird life and peculiar rock formations. Many interesting walking trails are in the area.

 

Exploring the fjords and Látrabjarg

Dynjandi is among Iceland's most admired falls, the impressive waterfall tumbles off the side of a mountain in a fan shape, with a drop of 100m in several stages. Neighboring Dýrafjörður fjord and Arnarfjörður fjord are especially scenic fjords linked by a switchback mountain road. Golden sand beaches and plentiful bird life are typical of the south coast, which is dominated at its western extremity by the 14km long Látrabjarg bird cliffs. The most extensive in Iceland, the cliffs are home to millions of breeding puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars - a wild, windswept, but hauntingly beautiful spot. It is easy to visit the Látrabjarg area as the road leads practically to the cliff's edge and from the parking lot a walking path traverses the edge.

 

Ísafjörður area

Isafjarðarbær  municipality, consisting of Ísdafjörðir main town, Hnífsdalur, Suðureyri, Flateyri and Þingeyri has a suburb fjord scenery and is a great base for a few days stay and many activities like hiking, sea angling, kayaking, other boat tours and many more sightseeing activities.

 

Ísafjarðardjúp

The main route between Ísafjörður and Hólmaví­k lies through Ísafjarðardjúp fjord, while a lonely coast road winds through the fjords. On the way, you will pass the small village Súðaví­k with its educating and entertaining  Arctic Fox Center  and the only icecap in the north of Iceland, Drangajökull, can be reached by driving through Snæfjallaströnd. A stop in Ögur where kayaking tours and good food are available, as well as a visit in Heydalur Adventure Valley are recommended.

 

Jökulfirðir & Hornstrandir

Reached by boat from Ísafjörður or Bolungarvík these uninhabited fjords north of the town are a nature reserve protecting birds, wild flowers and the exclusive arctic fox. Here you will find abandoned villages, farms and churches, which are being restored by descendants of those who once lived there. Various shorter or longer tours are available.

 

Strandir

Exploring the stunning eastern shore of the Westfjords peninsula is the Strandir district. The shore abounds in bays and fjords, with skerries and islands close of it.  Steep mountains separate the fjords, but with relatively low mountains and heaths behind them.
Fishing and a handful of sheep farms employ most of the coast's 1000 inhabitants, who also collect the huge amounts of driftwood washed over from Scandinavia and Siberia that has tossed about in the ocean before it drifts ashore in Strandir mostly north of the fishing town and regional center of Hólmaví­k. Interesting and ever more dramatic drive is to the abandoned herring station at Djúpaví­k and beyond, where it peters out at the last of the farms.

 

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