The remote Westfjords are a distinct region in Iceland that differ from the rest of the country both historically and geologically, with rock formations up to 14 million years old. In the Westfjords, land meets sea in the most dramatic terms imaginable, with sheer mountains rising from the sea and deep fjords dotted with occasional fishing villages snuggling against the slender seaboard.
The Westfjords are the most scattered populated region of Iceland (apart from the highlands). Isafjordur is the main town in this region, Capital of the West, with a population of over 2500 people.
Things to do in Westfjords
The possibility for activities in this part of Iceland are endless. In the wintertime, extreme sport enthusiasts travel to the area for sport activities such as heli-skiing, where you ski straight from the top of the mountain down to the sea.
Mountain biking, hiking, paragliding, mountaineering, you name it, Westfjords can serve it all. For calmer activities, there are several golf courses in the region, and sea kayaking is a peaceful way to spend the afternoon exploring the picturesque fjords. Outdoor bathing in natural hot springs is a common activity enjoyed in the Westfjords, which has many hidden bathing spots in remote locations.
Culture and history in Westfjords
If you want a bit of social life and culture in your visit to the Westfjords, Isafjordur is a scene for plenty of social activities, with several cafés, a thriving harbor and an annual music festival.
The Westfjords were renowned in the olden times for sorcerers and wizards, and today the village of Holmavik hosts an exhibition on the matter that might make for an unusual experience.
Birdlife in Westfjords
The Westfjords are rich of birdlife, the birds outnumber the inhabitants many times over. One can see the seabirds on their rugged cliffs and the Artic foxes in their lairs. Breidafjordur is a mecca for birdwatchers, and there are the three largest bird cliffs in Europe, the most known one being Latrabjarg.
Nature attractions in Westfjords
One of the most spectacular and majestic waterfalls in Iceland is Dynjandi, located in Arnarfjordur fjord. For that sight alone, a trip to the Westfjords is worth it.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is another place worth visiting. It’s rather remote and off limits to all motorized traffic, so the pure and wild nature makes it an ideal destination for hikers and nature lovers alike.
On the southern shore of the Westfjords is the Raudasandur beach, meaning ‘The Red Sand Beach’. A lot of people associate Iceland only with black beaches, but Raudasandur beach throws that assumption out the window, with its golden and red colours set in magnificent surroundings of black cliffs and blue ocean.
For more detailed information about attractions, villages and activities in the Westfjords be sure to go through our destination guide.