The Westjords Iceland are much less travelled than most other corners of the country, due to their vastness and distance from ‘must-see’ destinations but for me they are totally authentic and spectacular. However, says nothing about of the incredible wonders to be found here.
Probably one of the most awe-inspiring regions, the settlements are small and sparse, and between them are untouched landscapes and dramatic features unlike any other in the country. While traversing the Westfjords does require a lot of driving, the surrounding scenery proves that the journey can be quite as amazing as the destination.
So many of the features that make Iceland famous, such as its dramatic mountains, hot springs, the multitude of waterfalls, and stunning coastlines, have variations in the Westfjords.
Even so, however, the region has its own distinct character, being the oldest part of Iceland at 16 million years old. It, therefore, lacks active volcanoes and lava fields, but have instead verdant stretches and ancient landscapes.
As a photographer, I was sure to find a wealth of places that will suit to my interests in this incredible region. Below, you can discover the best attractions, towns and tours to be found in the Westfjords of Iceland.
The cliffs of Látrabjarg stretch for 14 kilometres and are over four hundred metres high in numerous places, making them quite a spectacle in themselves. In summer, however, they become a natural wonder worthy of international acclaim, as they fill with literally millions of birds, nesting and raising their chicks. 40% of the world’s razorbills nest here, as do many guillemots, fulmars, auks and northern gannets. What most visitors come looking for and discover in abundance, however, are the puffins.
Dynjandi is a hidden gem, a waterfall so spectacular and awe-inspiring, that it is the favourite of many (including this writer) in all of Iceland. Considering the number of waterfalls that are not only beautiful but incredibly unique, such as Seljalandsfoss, which you can encircle, and Dettifoss, which is more powerful than any other falls in Europe, this is quite a statement.
Dynjandi is, in fact, a series of waterfalls that fall down a cliff-face somewhat resembling a staircase; all in all, it is over one hundred metres high. The scale of it is awe-inspiring, and the contrast of the foaming white water against the black and grey lava and creeping green moss is beautiful.
The water from Dynjandi feeds into many smaller waterfalls, all of which you have to walk by to reach it; while nowhere near as dramatic, all of these are delightful and quaint in their own right.
Finally, some of the greatest natural attractions of the Westfjords are the fjords themselves. Sheltered by giant mountains, and plunging deep into the land, winding up and down the roads here is an awe-inspiring experience. In clear weather, the scale of the peaks will take your breath away, and throughout the summer, the waters are often home to Humpback Whales, feeding on the wealth of fish that reside here.
Flateyri has been a trading post since 1792 and saw its heyday in the 19th century when it was home to a fleet of decked vessels and the base for shark-hunting and whaling operations. The fishing industry has always been vital for the villages in the Westfjords, and in Flateyri the tradition of fishing has successfully been linked to tourism as the village has become a very popular destination for foreign sea anglers. The fjord also offers great opportunities for kayaking.
Many people who travel to Iceland would like to visit at least one hot spring. Often you might think: “What hot springs can I bathe in?” or “What hot springs should I visit?”. The hot springs in the Westfjords of Iceland are extremely cozy, relaxing and comfortable