Information about Breiðafjörður

A ferry runs across Breidafjordur to connect the Westfjords to the town of Stykkisholmur.

Breiðafjörður is a nature reserve and bay between the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords in west Iceland.

Geography of Breiðafjörður

Breiðafjörður is 125 kilometres (78 miles) long and 50 kilometres (31 miles) wide at its widest. Its surroundings are mountainous, and the Snæfellsjökull glacier can be seen on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, at the southern side of the entry to the bay.

In clear weather, it is possible to see the Westfjords from Snæfellsnes, and visa versa.

The mountains at the northern side of the bay’s entrance are some of the oldest in the country, formed 15 million years ago. As you travel towards the land, they become considerably younger, with those at the furthest inside the fjord being half the age.

This is due to the movements of the tectonic plates in Iceland, which are pulling apart at a rate of around two centimetres (an inch) a year.

History of Breiðafjörður

Around 3000 islands and rock outlets are littered throughout Breiðafjörður. Very few of these are inhabited year-round, although many used to be. Flatey, for example, was once home to a monastery. An important medieval manuscript, Flateyjarbók, was written here, detailing sagas of old Norse kings and collections of poems, in the late 14th Century.

Most importantly, Flateyjarbók recounts the first settlements made by Europeans on Greenland, under Eirík the Red. This was considered to be largely legend until recent archaeological digs revealed the story to be true.

It also contains information about the early settlements on the Faroe and Orkney Islands.

Today, Flatey’s year-round population is just five people. Like many of the other islands, however, it has many more residents in summer.

Wildlife in Breiðafjörður

Puffins are just one of the many animals that make Breidafjordur their home.

Breiðafjörður is pregnant with life, due to the fact it is a breeding ground for much of the country’s fisheries.

Fifty species of bird nest on the islands, including the common shag, the black guillemot, the brent goose and the white-tailed eagle. Puffins also nest on Flatey. Many of these species are migratory, however, and only can be seen from May to September.

Year-round, however, it is often possible to see a variety of marine mammals in the bay. Most common are the grey and harbour seals, which can be seen swimming and hauling out on the rocks. The lucky, however, may also see common porpoises and white-beaked dolphins, and even the occasional minke whale.

It should be noted that Breiðafjörður is one of the best parts of the country to see orcas from the shore, although they are still uncommon.

Economy of Breiðafjörður

The main economy of Breiðafjörður is, as could be presumed, fishing. The villages and towns on the northern side of Snæfellsnes and the southern side of the Westfjords are reliant on the fertile waters for their prosperity. Farmers on the island also collect bird-down from nests for extra income.

A ferry crosses the fjord, called the Baldur ferry, throughout the year. It connects Stykkisholmur to the south with Brjánslækur in the north, with stops at Flatey in summer.

 

Services near Breiðafjörður

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Breiðafjörður

Flatey

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Kolbrún Ragna. Flatey ('Flat Island') is just one of the thousands of islands that dot Brei&...

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Melrakkaey

Melrakkaey ("Fox Island") is a small island found at the mouth of Grundarfjörður. Melrakkaey was protected in 1972 and today, onl...

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Höfði

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo by Laurentgauthier Höfði is a building in Iceland’s capital, most famous for being the meeting poin...

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Bjarnarhöfn

Bjarnarhofn is a farmstead on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Many notable Icelanders lived here. Bjarnarhofn's church and shark museum are listed as ...

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Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum

Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Xfigpower The Bjarnahöfn Shark Museum is a fascinating exhibition on the processing of traditio...

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Stykkishólmur

Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir Stykkisholmur is a town of about 1,100 people on northern shore of the Snæfellsnes ...

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Berserkjahraun

Berserkjahraun is a 4000-year-old lava field situated on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It covers the western part of Helgafell, between Stykkish&oa...

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Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell, or 'Church Mountain', is a distinctly shaped peak found on the north shore of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula, only ...

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Grundarfjörður

Wikimedia, Creative CommonsChensiyuan  Grundarfjörður is a small town found on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula ...

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Rauðisandur Beach

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit:  Nojhan.  Rauðisandur (Red Sands) is a 10-kilometre red sand beach found in the south of Icel...

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Rauðasandur

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Evgeniy Metyolkin Rauðasandur is a beach in the Westfjords, famous for having red and golden rath...

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Ólafsvík

Olafsvik is a fishing town of just over a 1000 people, located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.  Economy and services Olafsvik h...

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Ölkelda

  Olkelda is a farm in the south of Snaefellsnes, taking its name from a renowned mineral spring close by. The pristine mineral spring by the O...

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Hellissandur

Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Chensiyuan Hellissandur is a village dating back to the 16th Century, found on the northwesternmost ...

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Búðir

Búðir is a small hamlet in the municipality of Snæfellsbær on the westernmost tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The ha...

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Öskjuvatn

  Oskjuvatn is a large crater lake in the Askja caldera in the Dyngjufjoll mountains, north of Vatnajokull glacier. Oskjuvatn is Iceland's s...

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Tálknafjörður

Between Patreksfjörður and Bíldudalur is the village of Tálknafjörður, in the southern region of the Westfjords. Despi...

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Ytri Tunga Beach

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by pjt56. Ytri Tunga is a beach by a farm of the same name on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Unlike many...

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Bíldudalur

Surrounded by layered, flat top mountains, Bíldudalur is an attractive fishing village settled on the fjord, Arnarfjörður. This fjord-...

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Kirkjubólsdalur

Kirkjubolsdalur is a valley in the Westfjords. The river Kirkjubolsa runs through the valley. The valley  is a good hiking or biking trail, as i...

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Tours near Breiðafjörður

Whale Watching on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Come along on an excursion of the marine life of Breiðafjörður Bay. This whale watching tour is......

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13 Day Self Drive Tour | Ring Road with Snaefellsnes & Westfjords

Jump behind the wheel for this 13-day, self-drive tour around Iceland! You will get to see......

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10 Day Slow-Paced Summer Self-Drive | Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle & South Coast

Immerse yourself in Iceland without rushing a single site by booking this slow-paced summer......

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15 Day Summer Hot Spring Hunt Self Drive | Iceland in-Depth

Immerse yourself in the Icelandic nature as you travel the Ring Road, circling the entire......

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Sea Kayaking Tour | Departure from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Witness Iceland's nature and wildlife at its best with this small group sea kayaking tour.......

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10 Day Summer Self-Drive | Off-the-Beaten-Path in Snaefellsnes, Westfjords & Flatey Island

Travel into the undisturbed nature and visit lonely fjords, turf houses, hot springs, remote......

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13 Day Self Drive Tour on Budget | Circle of Iceland & Westfjords

Be the master of your time and your wallet on this 13-Day Budget Self-Drive Tour around the Ring......

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Snaefellsjokull Glacier Hike

Hike the legendary Snæfellsjökull glacier on this incredible day tour. If you are eager for......

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The 'Wonders of Snæfellsnes' Private Helicopter Tour

Go further with this exceptional helicopter tour exploring the other-worldly peninsula......

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