Hestfjörður (translated to “Horse Fjord”) is a fjord in Westfjords, near Vatnsdalur valley, Bolaskógur forest and Hattardalsfjall mountain. The fjord is 15km long and, at its broadest point, 1km wide. Like the neighbouring fjord Skötufjörður, countless waterfalls cascade down the region’s mountainsides, making for a beautiful, if rarely seen part of the Westfjords.
Explore this area of Iceland on a self drive tour.
Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Christian Bickel. No edits made.
Hestfjörður has an important place in modern Icelandic history. It was here in the 1920s where fisherman first stumbled upon shrimp stock in the water. This revolutionised the industry and economy of the Westfjords, as well as Iceland generally, with shrimp still an important resource to the region today.
The landscape around Hestfjörður is dominated by the imposing Mt. Hestur (“Mt. Horse”), which has a rough elevation of 648m above sea level. Mt. Hestur is famous for its striking appearance, with its long sloping grasslands gradually elevating to four domineering cliff faces that cut the sky. Aesthetically, this is a mountain made for photography. Mt. Hestur is also a well-visited spot for Heli-skiing tours in Iceland, as well as extreme mountaineers.
Mt. Hestur is a constant visual landmark for hikers walking through the Folafót Nature Reserve. Folafót is, without hesitation, an environmental paradise, easily accessible from Hestfjörður. Bird species of all variety - puffins, arctic terns, razorbills - nest in the cliff-faces, safe from the elusive arctic fox, stalking the long grasses and flowers so recognisable to this region. In the waters of Folafót, seals either bask lazily in the sunshine or play together in the ocean, a beautiful sight for any passersby lucky enough to catch them.
Vigur Island, an island colonised by birdlife, sits at the mouth of Hestfjörður and is available to visit by boat from Isafjordur harbour. Alternatively, the island can be easily viewed from a distance, complementing the fjord’s already enriching beauty.