Driving and Hiking through the Westfjords

Luis

Crossing splendid landscapes, route 61 will take you to Holmavik, in the crook of the fjord of Steingrimsfjordur. A little shrimp fishing village, we strongly recommend a visit to the local Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft that retraces the history of light and dark magic in Iceland! Finally, to get up close and personal with the seals that inhabit the fjord, head to the northern shore to Drangsnes (route 61, 643 then 645: about 30 km).

From the eastern part of the Westfjords peninsula, route 61 will take you to the huge fjord of Isafjardardjup. Eighty km in length, you have to cross several smaller fjords to get to the town of Isafjordur (a 3 hour drive from Holmavik). The drive is one of Iceland’s most famous, ad it lounges the coast for about 200 km. In front of you, the Snaefjallastrond mountain chain extends itself. Along the way, you can stop and sleep in Sudavik, Ogur, Djupmannabud or Heydalur (farmhouses or campsites).

 

© tsuguliev


 
 

The starting point of all hikes on the peninsula, you’ll enjoy the excitement of the port of Isafjordur. Here, you can take many boat rides out to sea. For lovers of open spaces, the wild lands of Hornstrandir should not be bypassed. In the peninsula’s extreme north, it touts landscapes of fjords, cliffs and lagoons and can only be reached by boat. Maybe during your travels you’ll be lucky enough to cross paths with an Arctic Fox, the region’s symbol.

 

© sunset man


 
 

From Isafjordur, go west on the peninsula by the Vestfjardarvegur trail, taking a detour by Sudureyri’s narrow fjord. Then get on route 60 in the direction of Thingeyri and discover the story of the legendary Gisli Sursson, a valorous Viking warrior with a tragic destiny. Every summer, the village hosts a huge festival of Viking culture complete with a sumptuous banquet, traditional songs and dances, re-enactments and shows. A unique insight into Icelandic life in the middle ages.

1km south of Thingery on route 60, climb to the top of Sandfell and discover a majestic panorama on the Westfjords! The trail is accessible in a 4WD but can also be walked on foot (4 hours there and back). Back on route 60, keep on driving for about twenty km to discover the splendid falls of Dynjandi. Falling from 100 metres, its clear waters crash into the middle of a fjord. An enchanting place where you can camp for free.

 

© Max Topchii


 
 

Further south, discover the villages of Bildudalur, Talknafjordur and Patreyksfjordur. Stuck between cliffs and ocean, the road that leads you there is stunning. Coming up out of misty mountain passes, the route dives back down to the coast several times through verdant valleys, offering up spectacular vistas of the region (route 63)!

Head to the Cape of Latrabjarg, Iceland’s (and Europe’s) westernmost point, and prepare yourself to be amazed. Its imposing cliffs extend over 14 km and rise up to 450 m. There is no where else on the planet where you’ll see this number of birds per sqaure metre! If the weather is clear, you can look below and glimpse seals playing in the waves. The trail then crosses Hvallatur village, which boasts beaches that look like they belong in Mexico. From Patreksfjordur, follow route 63, then the 612.

Read more articles about Iceland


A Trip to Iceland’s Central Highlands

A Trip to Iceland’s Central Highlands
Read article

A Trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

A Trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Read article