This is the fifth blog post about my Iceland trip and the third about the places I think you must see. In this post, I’ll write about the west and north of the Westfjords. Check my other post for Reykjavík and Western Iceland and the eastern part of the Westfjords. As usual, I’ll probably miss some great places so let me know in the comments!
The Westfjords are one of the most remote parts of Iceland (with the Highlands), and there are fewer tourists than elsewhere. But the scenery and the roads are definitely worth your time!
Must see in the Wesfjords – road 61 from Hólmavík to Ísafjörður
Road 61 is a great scenic drive following the fjords, it follows all the curves and meanders of the fjords, and you won’t go very fast, but you haven’t come to Iceland to go fast. There are some amazing viewpoints along the way with views over the fjords.
Ísafjörður is a town of about 3000 inhabitants unless there is a big cruise ship in the city and then the population can triple. The town has some nice houses, a small Heritage Museum and is also where you should stock up on groceries and petrol.
The camping ground Tungudalur a bit outside of town is one of the best I saw in Iceland, it has excellent facilities and a charming waterfall view.
If you want to learn more about the arctic foxes (sadly I haven’t seen any of them), you can go to the Arctic fox centre in Súðavík; the centre is working on research and conservation of the arctic fox, which incidentally is the only terrestrial mammal native to Iceland.
The short drive from Ísafjörður to Bolungarvik and up to the Latrar Air Station is good but what you should do around Ísafjörður is hiking.
There are a lot of great trails (sometimes they aren’t marked that well) around the town). A nice one is at the end of the Álftafjörður fjord back to Ísafjörður.
But mostly you should explore Hornstrandir!
Must see in the Wesfjords Hornstrandir
Hornstrandir is a huge nature reserve at the northern tip of the Westfjords. The easiest way to go there is by ferry from Ísafjörður. You can go on one-day hikes or for multiple days and get picked up from another ferry port. Westtours has a couple of tours they do in Hornstrandir and also will help you organise the ferry if you want to hike on your own. The ferries don’t go every day to every “port” in the reserve so you ought to check in advance which days suit you for the hike you want to do.
One of the nicest multi day hikes is to go from Aðalvík to Höfn (Hornbjarg) it usually takes about 4 to 6 days, and you will need to carry all your gear and food! I sadly hadn’t the time nor the good enough gear to do this but will certainly come back to Hornstrandir to do this. Btw a good map of the nature reserve is here and if you want to read more about the hike from someone who did the six days hike go here.
There is one guesthouse in the nature reserve at Hesteyri, the Old Doctor’s House where they have great pancakes and tape to fix your shoes (thanks!). You should definitively stop there and enjoy a meal or stay overnight on your bigger hike.
Don’t hesitate to let me know if I forgot something on my list.
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