The west of Iceland is an enormous area characterized by fjords, valleys, volcanoes and craters. The most famous attraction in the west is undoubtedly the Snæfellsnes peninsula that is home to the mighty Snaefellsjokull glacier as well as mt. Kirkjufell, also known as the arrowhead mountain from Game of Thrones. The western part of Iceland is also where many of the most famous Icelandic Viking sagas, heroes or ventures took place.
How to get to West Iceland?
The western part of Iceland is easily accessible from Reykjavik through a six-kilometer (4 mi) tunnel under Hvalfjordur fjord. Moreover, the west of Iceland is a showcase of lava formations, geothermal activity, and history. Woodlands and waterfalls are frequent sights, and there are pristine lakes and rivers for fishing.
However, if you are looking to go exploring or simply to take the longer yet scenic route you can skip the tunnel and drive for an extra hour into hvalfjörður bay. There you will find the mesmerizing Glymur waterfall and a surprisingly big birch forest.
After the Hvalfjord tunnel, you have Akranes, the biggest town in the West on the left but if you continue to follow Ring Road one you will see Borgarnes, the second largest town. There you have the option of a right turn into Borgarfjörður bay or continuing through Borgarnes and onwards left onto Snæfellsnes peninsula. Both options are truly amazing!
West Iceland attractions
- Deildartunguhver Hot Spring
- Krauma Geothermal Bath
- Reykholt and Snorrastofa
- Vatnshellir Cave
- Gerðuberg Basalt Columns
- Budir Black Church
- Arnarstapi and Hellnar
- Kirkjufell mountain
- Djúpalónssandur pebble beach
- Snæfellsjökull Volcano and Glacier
Husafell stands in the middle of a lava field and its birch trees blossom in summer and show the most fantastic fall colors in September and October. There you can be picked up for the into the glacier ice cave tour or stay at the luxurious Hotel Husafell.
Deildartunguhver is the most powerful hot spring in Europe and its water is harvested for the neighboring Krauma geothermal baths. Where incredible Scandinavian architecture meets natural energy.
Reykholt and Snorrastofa is the place to visit for the history buffs but the Gerðuberg basalt cliffs for those interested in the geology of Iceland. However, if you are looking for something more adventurous a trip to Vatnshellir lava cave could be just your thing!
Snaefellsnes Peninsula Attractions
On the Snaefellsnes peninsula, you have amazing works of nature adorn the landscape, culminating in the glittering glacial cap of Snaefellsjokull, atop a crater which provided Jules Verne with the setting for his novel ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth.’
The shore abounds in bizarre rock formations and birdlife, and a number of towns snuggle in bays along the north coast. From the largest town, Stykkisholmur, travelers can take cruises or a ferry across Breidafjordur bay with its countless islands. The ferry calls at Flatey island with period piece houses that testify to its old status as a major cultural center.
The cliffs between the tiny villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi are a must-see. Likewise the black sandy pebble beach of Djupalonssandur. Here in Snaefellsnes, more particularly in Grundarfjordur village, also stands the most photographed mountain in the country, Kirkjufell.
Find out more about the best attractions at the bottom of the page.
The Waterfalls of West Iceland
Saga and heritage
Lovers of Iceland’s rich literary heritage will find plenty to their liking in this area where some of the most dramatic events of the Sagas took place. Names of farms, villages and towns conjure up the presence of historical characters such as the warrior-poet Egill Skallagrimsson and renowned scholar Snorri Sturluson. Moreover, Icelanders are extremely proud of this heritage and have made sure to keep these places intact.
For more detailed information about attractions, villages and activities in west Iceland be sure to go through our destination guide.