Iceland is a wide country to visit but sometimes it can be difficult to fit in your travel all the places to visit across the country. The Westfjords are one of the nicest places you should visit if you have the time during your stay here! It is one of the less visited parts of the country since it is quite difficult to access and mostly because it is a bit away from the rest of the main attractions of the country. Icelanders really enjoy this area of the country because of its beauty, simplicity and nature. Over there, you will only see astonishing, stunning and mind blowing landscapes all around you. And in addition, during the summer you will get the chance to see some of the wildlife around there such as atlantic puffins, arctic foxes or seals!
For these reasons, we have tried for you a 2-3 days trip in the Westfjords and here is the perfect itinerary to follow!
If you are leaving from Reykjavík, you will have around 4h drive to get to the very first point of our itinerary. To start your trip in the best conditions, there is nothing better than a dip in a hot spring. Traditional activity in Iceland, the hot spring is a place where to relax but also socialise. Due to the volcanic activity in the grounds of the country, you can find many of those hot springs across the country.
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It is near Flókalundur that you will find Hellulaug natural hot spring. This little gem will offer you a view over the fjords while relaxing in warm waters. Be careful when looking for this place on the maps since it can lead you to the wrong place. Look out for the blue swimming sign on the road to tell you which way to go. Here is the right location : https://goo.gl/maps/JcphFbvxsSrRAn5Z7 / 65.5776113728229, -23.15961214746443 (GPS)
Be aware that this little pool can often be very crowded so we recommend you to go late by night or early in the morning if people are partying in the hot spring by night. It is easily accessible from the parking lot and to get there is fully free of charge, there is no entrance fee however, there are no showers nor toilets or changing rooms.
Before leaving, you will find near the parking lot a mailbox where you can donate some money for keeping the place clean. Nearby, you will also find a campsite and a hotel.
The second stop of this trip is in another hot pool named Birkimelur Swimming Pool. It is as well pretty easy to access it from the parking lot however, in this place you will find changing rooms with showers and toilets that are open from 13 to 18 but you can still bathe whenever you wish to.
There is an entrance fee for this hot pool of about 800 ISK but if there is nobody around to pay you can directly put the money in a mailbox for this on the side of the changing rooms. Over there, you will have the chance to enjoy two different pools, with a temperature about 38° both. One pull is a build one and the other one is more in a “natural” hot spring style. However, both pools will give you a spectacular view over the fjord.
Right after this, your next stop will be Garðar BA 64, a shipwreck that you can explore if you are brave enough or just enjoy the structure from the outside, walking around it. There is a big parking lot right next to the ship and a space with table and benches where you can have lunch with the view on the fjords.
At this point you have two options offered to you if you prefer to go to a cliff to see birds first or to a white sand beach. In any case, you will do both but depending on the moment of the day you might prefer going to the cliff first and then to the beach to have dinner and to sleep over there since there is a campsite there and not nearby the cliff.
So let’s say you go to the cliff. Before driving up the hills that will bring you to the cliff, there are public toilets in case it is needed. Látrabjarg cliff is located at the very edge of a fjord. It is quite high so be very careful once you are there. In summer, you will have the chance to see Atlantic Puffins from very close and if the weather is nice, you might be able to see seals down the cliff, laying on rocks and maybe even whales passing by in the distance !
The cliff is rather impressive, you can just sit there and enjoy the view, there are many seagulls there and other wild birds flying around.
After this, you can go to Rauðisandur Beach, the road to get to this part of the Westfjords is a bit tricky and can seem dangerous when the fogg is up and the road is a gravel road and goes up and down in the mountains, so be extremely careful when driving. The beach is quite big overall. There are 3 different spots where to park once you are there. On you left, if you go further, you will reach a campsite with a parking lot giving you access to the beach. On your right, you will have a first small parking lot in front of the church … and if you go further you will find a second parking lot at the very end of the street. Once parked, you can walk around the beach according to the marshes.
The peculiarity of Raudisandur is the color of the sand. Usually, in Iceland, most of the beaches are with volcanic black sand but not in Raudisandur the sand is the white sand you can find in most of the beaches across the world with seashells and so on. If the meteo allows it, you can even swim safely on the shore.
The next stop after this will be Reykjafjarðarlaug Hot Pool. There you will see two different pools with both natural hot water. There you will find changing rooms and toilets but no showers. However, there is no entrance fee for you to pay. You can simply enjoy the place freely. There is a big space where to park and overall this place is not very crowded.
The first pool you will see is a built one splitted in two. When we went there, one half of the pool was clean but the other half was very algae but it depends when you get there if the pool has been cleaned or not.
Upper on the same land, you will see a natural hot spring a bit further. Be careful as the water is very hot in that one while in the pool the temperature is perfect. We recommend you to first go to the natural hot spring that is very hot and then go to the swimming pool to really enjoy the temperature.
Now one of our favorite spots in the Westfjords is the magnificent Dynjandi waterfall or also called Fjallfoss or the Jewel of the Westfjords. This waterfall will literally blow your mind! Before reaching it, you will have to follow a short path along six other waterfalls before reaching the top and the most impressive one. The six waterfalls are
Finally, after walking up, you will be amazed when facing the giant Dynjandi. This huge waterfall is ~100 meters high. You can have lunch there, there are toilets, picnic tables and a fireplace to cook.
Then, you can directly go up to Ísafjörður, the largest city with its 2 700 inhabitants, you can visit around the city, there is some art in the streets, some shops and restaurants. It is nice to walk around and appreciate the architecture of the city and there is a Bonus over there if you need to shop for some food.
After this city, you can head back home to Reykjavík. After passing Sudavík, you find a seals lookout on your way where to stop by next to the road. You will see a signal on the road telling you where to stop so keep your eyes open. 65.99408128907514, -22.81372389715012 (GPS)
On your way home, if you are feeling tired, you can stop in Holmavík, there is a campsite there. In this fjord it has been said that some whales have been seen from the shore. We never know if you get a little lucky you might spot some as well?
Finally, one last stop we advise you to take when coming back is Guðrúnarlaug hot spring. One last hot spring to relax in before heading home, back to the city. This charming hot spring is right behind a hotel, you can park there and walk through the little hill to reach the hot spring. There is a very cute changing cabin with vikings style sculpture. However there are no toilets or showers. The hot spring is quite algae so be prepared for this but the temperature is perfect for you to relax in with this beautiful environment surrounding you.
And off you go home !
We made this trip just the time of a weekend, so in 2-3 days, however, there are many things you can do and see while being in the Westfjords if you have some time.
For instance, you can reach the Westfjords by ferry boat if you wish to see whales on your way. You can even go up to the North of the Westfjords in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve by taking a ferry boat in Ísafjörður. Also, on your way back to Reykjavík, you can also take this opportunity to visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Finally, there are many activities along your way that you could add to your trip such as whale watching, museum visits…
You can always check our tours and activities to discover more of Iceland !