The west of Iceland is an enormous area characterized by fjords, valleys, volcanoes and craters. The pearl of the Snaefellsnes peninsula in the west is the Snaefellsjokull glacier. The west of Iceland is also where most of the Icelandic sagas, heroes or ventures took place.
You’re in Viking country! Easily accessible from Reykjavik through a six kilometer (4 mi) tunnel under Hvalfjordur fjord, west 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.
West Iceland attractions
On Snaefellsnes peninsula, 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 bird life, and a number of towns snuggle in bays along the north coast. From the largest town, Stykkisholmur, travellers 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, as well as the black sandy beach of Djupalonssandur. Here in Snaefellsnes, more particularly in Grundarfjordur village, also stands the most photographed mountain in the country, Kirkjufell.
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.
For more detailed information about attractions, villages and activities in west Iceland be sure to go through our destination guide.