Dynjandi waterfall in the Westfjords

Zigzag through the Westfjords, in and out of bay after bay, fjord after fjord, for an unforgettable experience of Iceland. Visit countless little fishing villages and discover why the Westfjords are a must-visit destination. 

The Westfjords are a dream destination for any hiker, biker, or adventurous road-tripper. The fjords are full of natural hot springs, perfect places to go fishing and a photographer's haven for capturing dramatic mountains rising straight up from the tranquil coasts. This complicated maze of peninsulas is only connected to the rest of Iceland by a 7 km wide isthmus, but once you're there, you have more than 22 000 square kilometres of land to explore.

Best Towns in the Westfjords

Ísafjörður is a thriving little fishing village, and the only real city in the Westfjords… if you consider 3000 inhabitants a city. It’s a cosy place, nestled in Skutulsfjörður, with big, steep mountains rising up on either side of the bay.

Ísafjörður in the Westjfords of Iceland by Aron Ingi from Wikimedia Commons

Every Easter, Ísafjörður hosts the music festival Aldrei fór ég suður, with the rocking songs of Ísafjörður native Mugison and many other Icelandic bands. In the wintertime, this town gets the least amount of sun hours than any other town in Iceland, but in the summer, the sun doesn’t set for weeks. Check out the official website of Ísafjörður for more information on where to stay and what to do.

The cutest fishing village in the Westfjords is Vigur, which boasts the smallest post office in Iceland and has abundant bird life, perfect for bird watchers and photographers who want to capture the idyllic fishing village life. Bolungarvík, the lonely fishing town at the end of the road, is now reachable by highway 61. This road goes past Ísafjörður through a brand new tunnel, and finally eliminated the old avalanche risk that this degrading coastal road always faced. 

A short drive over some mountain passes or through some tunnels are the towns of Suðureyri, Flateyri and Þingeyri, all fishing villages with the same peaceful setting and dramatic scenery, and just a few houses and boats to put them on the map.

Patreksfjörður and Bíldudalur are not much bigger, but be sure to catch a whiff of the drying fish always hanging around. 

Best Natural Attractions in the Westfjords

The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is the northernmost part of the Westfjords. It's reachable by ferry from Ísafjörður, and only a few generations ago it was still inhabited by peasant farmers and fishermen. After it was abandoned by the last residents in the early 20th century, it has become a nature haven for flora and fauna. It was established as a Nature reserve in 1975 to ensure its continued use as a sustainable tourism destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Hotsprings in the Westfjords

There are more than 20 natural hot pools in the westfjords, and one of the best is Hellulaug, only a few kilometres away from the Ferry Baldur port where you can enter or leave the Westfjords (on foot or with your car) for Stykkishólmur (with Flatey Island enroute).

There's also a tiny hot pot near the famous Dynjandi waterfall called Dynjandislaug. For a real swim, try Reykjaneslaug, beside the old school converted Hotel Reykjanes. When driving the main road to Ísafjörður from road number 1, you pass a series of hot pots in Mjóifjörður, but you'll need a local guide to be able to find some of them, as they're unmarked and a treasured secret by those who know how to find them.

Other Main Attractions 

Látrabjarg sea-bird cliff and Dynjandi waterfall are the most popular natural destinations in the Westfjords. There is an amazing red-sand beach called Rauðisandur at the south west tip of the fjords which is also worth the detour. 

Látrabjarg sea cliff in the Westfjords of Iceland is the largest bird cliff in Europe

Learn more about the Westfjords in our Iceland Guide and find Westfjord tour options here.