Most travelers usually ignore West Fjords while making their Iceland itinerary. West Fjords are ignored because of its remoteness & tricky terrain & supposedly lack of famous attractions in the region. Trust me, that is not the case. The reality of West Fjords is quite different.
Here are few reasons why you must include West Fjords in your Iceland itinerary/wishlist:
If you love Geographical extremities like me, then you won’t be able to wait to visit Látrabjarg. It is the westernmost point of Iceland AND European continent! You can also find very distinct species of birds around this cliff.
The world famous puffins can be found here & you can easily click pictures of these pretty birds because they are not scared of humans at all. There is a relaxed walking trail along with the edges of the cliff. Just beware around the edge as it is not too strong. If you look on the other side, you may also spot Greenland on a clear day.
These reasons make Látrabjarg the most visited spot in West Fjords. There is a parking facility nearby but that’s it. Bring your own food if you want to picnic here.
2. Natural Hot Pools
You will find so many natural hot pools around Iceland but in West Fjords, the concentration of these pools is way higher. Natural hot pools can be found in many villages, towns & even in the wild.
One of such hot pools that I visited is known as Reykjafjarðarlaug pool. It is literally in the middle of nowhere but that’s what makes it so exotic. There are 2 pools – One of them is the natural pool where the temperature is about 52 degrees! From the same natural pool, the water goes to the nearby swimming pool (about 5m away) where the water gets cooled down to about 30-35 degrees. There is a changing facility & parking available as well.
If you go in shoulder or off season, you will find these pools to yourself only. There are many such natural geothermal pools in West Fjords so keep exploring.
3. Pretty Villages
Credits: Dave Morrow
I stayed in 2 villages of West Fjords – Birkimelur & Flateyri. While in Birkimelur, there was literally nobody around but Flateyri was stunning. The population was around 180 & it was too peaceful because it was the beginning of Summer.
Credits: Serena Tang
If you have more time, then I really recommend to see more towns of West Fjords, meet people there & just relax in some of these pretty places. It will be totally worth your time. There are guesthouses in almost every town of West Fjords hence it will not be difficult to find a place to stay anywhere in the region.
4. Challenging Roads
If you look at the overall infrastructure of Iceland, it is amazing considering the remoteness of its regions & the population density. West Fjords is a region with least population, varied terrain & dramatic weather which results in challenging roads sometimes.
The level of challenge depends on the side that you are coming from. If you are taking an anti-clockwise trip from Reykjavik, then you will find West Fjords quite challenging because you would have driven on the N1 for most of the time. If you are taking a clockwise trip from Reykjavik, then you will not feel too challenged because West Fjords is literally the 2nd region from the capital. In fact, it will boost your confidence while moving forward.
Rocks, snow, green hills, every type of terrain can be seen while moving around West Fjords. It is like touring Iceland in a nutshell.
Ah! This wonderful waterfall should not be missed while visiting Iceland. Technically, there are many small waterfalls in the same vicinity. My personal favorite is this clear stream called Hundafoss. The blue water makes it very charming. The larger one (the iconic shape) is called Dynjandi.
There is a hiking trail from the parking to the main waterfall. It will take 15-20 minutes & it is totally worth hiking here. Once there, take a deep breath & experience the freshest air.
West Fjords is definitely an experience that you must take when you are taking a trip to Iceland.
Pictures: Parichay Mehta
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