The Westfjords of Iceland offer some of the most incredible scenery in the country. The landscapes are vast and wild, and unlike the popular South Coast, the gorgeous sites in this region are lesser known, and their remote location means many of Iceland’s visitors don’t venture up to this part of the country – so you’ll often get these incredible places to yourself! This guide will tell you some of the best things to do in the Westfjords, Iceland – along with some tips for visiting!
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Table of Contents
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Where are the Westfjords, Iceland?
The Westfjords lie on a peninsula in the northwest of Iceland, connected to the rest of the country by a narrow piece of land just 4 miles (7 km) wide. Exploring this area requires getting away from the Ring Road, so the Westfjords are often overlooked by tourists – and it’s also the least populated area of Iceland! But, these remote locations some of the most beautiful spots in the country, so if you’re taking a road trip in Iceland, I definitely recommend making the Westfjords a part of your trip.
When to Visit the Westfjords, Iceland?
All of Iceland is known for wild weather, but this is especially true in the Westfjords, as the region gets a lot of snow, and because of its low population, the roads are less maintained. The summer months, May through September, are definitely the best time to visit the Westfjords, though weather can be a little unpredictable, so the ends of this range can vary each year). In the winter, weather can cause road closures and unsafe driving conditions, so driving in Iceland is definitely easiest in the summer, when there isn’t any snow.
Before you go, be sure to check out this map of road conditions in Iceland, which will tell you about any current road closures and safety concerns.
How to Get to the Best Things to Do in the Westfjords, Iceland
There are two ways that you can travel around the Westfjords. Renting a car is one, and driving in Iceland definitely gives you the most flexibility and freedom to explore the way you want to. Discover Cars is a great place to find a car for your trip!
But, if you prefer someone to show you all the best spots, and don’t want to drive yourself, there are also a few options for tours that will take you to the Westfjords, like this three day tour that leaves from Reykjavik.
Here are a few ideas for tours of the Westfjords, and you can check out Get Your Guide for more!
Map of the Best Things to do in the Westfjords, Iceland
The Best Things to Do in the Westfjords, Iceland
Here are some of the best things to do in the Westfjords, Iceland, to help you plan your trip!
Drangsnes Hot Pots
Drangsnes is a cute, tiny town in the west of Iceland, where you can find these man made hot pots right next to the ocean. It’s also where I saw the coolest double rainbow ever! There were a few people coming and going while we were here, but they were fairly private and we had them to ourselves for a while.
While you’re in Drangsnes, you can stay in the Malarhorn Guesthouse, a gorgeous cozy spot by the water. Or, stay in a private cabin with your very own hot tub!
Galtahryggjarlaug Geothermal Pool
This was one of the most incredible places I went to on my 14 day Iceland itinerary! You’ll need to set your GPS to the Heydalur Hotel, and once you’re there, you can enjoy the warm swimming pool, the hot tub, and the hot springs right next to the hotel (included with your stay at the hotel, or for a surprisingly small fee if you’re not staying).
But while the human made pools are incredible, the best part is the natural hot spring that you’re almost guaranteed to have entirely to yourself. You’ll need to ask how to get there at the hotel – and the trip is a little bit of a challenge, but a lot of fun and so worth it!
Hörgshliðarlaug Hot Spring
I found this one by accident, just driving through the Westfjords. Hörgshliðarlaug is an amazing hot spring right by the water, and a great place to just realax and enjoy the views!
This was originially on my Westfjords itinerary, but I ended up skipping it because I loved the hot springs at the Hotel Heydalur so much, I ended up staying there all day instead! But, a few people have told me that skipping Dynjandi was a mistake… so if you go, let me know if I need to go back!
But, this is supposed to be one of the best waterfalls in Iceland, with a short walk leading you past several waterfalls to get to the big one.
These cliffs over the ocean are the westernmost point in Iceland, and they’re one of the best places to spot puffins (if you’re in Iceland during puffin season). But even if you don’t see the birds, taking a walk along the clifftops is so worth it, and the views are incredible!
Krosslaug hot spring
This little hot spring is surprisingly private – though it’s easy to get to, there usually aren’t very many people here! There’s a warm pool that you can swim in, and a natural stone hot pot that you can sit in, with views of the mountain and the sea.
This popular hot spring is right next to the ocean, and if you’re feeling brave, you can jump in the cold water before soaking in the hot! It’s a gorgeous place with views of the water.
Where to Stay in the Westfjords, Iceland
While you’re having your adventures in the Westfjords, you’ll need to stop for some sleep!
Camping in the Westfjords
Camping is my favorite way to travel, since it’s not only great for traveling Iceland on a budget, but it also gives you so much flexibility! Camping in Iceland is easy to find, whether you’re in a tent, car, or camper van. This guide has some of my favorite campsites, and a map of every campsite in Iceland.
Hotels in the WEstfjords
You can also book hotels during your Iceland trip! Booking.com is a great resource for this, and if you need to find somewhere to stay, check out this map – make sure to zoom out and change the dates to see all of the options. You can also check out VRBO for private rentals!
What to Bring to Visit the Westfjords
When you visit the Westfjords, here’s what you’ll need to bring to ensure a great trip!
Iceland is known for being wet, so shoes with good traction are a must, whether you’re hiking or just getting out at some overlooks!
My favorite hiking boots are my Danner boots – they’re cute, comfortable, and waterproof! I also love hiking in my Chacos, and I wore sandals pretty much the whole time I was in Iceland. I know most people wouldn’t advise sandals in Iceland, but I prefer them! Just be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
Rain boots are another great option for muddy or wet conditions, and are definitely the easiest to clean.
Bonus Tip: A lot of these links are for my favorite place to buy outdoor gear – Backcountry. If you install the free Lolli extension on your browser, you can earn free Bitcoin when you shop online at certain retailers, including Backcountry. You can transfer it to a crypto wallet, or just cash out to USD in your bank account.
Iceland’s weather is known for being unpredictable, and it’s always best to wear layers. It’s important to bring some rain gear, since there’s a good chance you’ll get caught in a drizzle at least a few times. It’s also helpful for waterfalls, since when you get up close you can get sprayed!
The Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a great lightweight, waterproof option. For the cold, I love my Columbia puffy jacket – it’s lightweight, but keeps me warm. It’s also water resistant! For added warmth and layering, a Patagonia fleece is always a good addition.
Rain pants are also a good idea for rain, and for waterfalls.
The Marmot Precip Full-Zip Pants are light and packable, but if you plan to spend time in the snow too, the Stoic Insulated Snow Pants will be perfect for both rain and snow. You can also get some bib pants for more coverage – the Helly Hansen Pier Bib Pants are waterproof and wind proof!
When I’m bringing my camera gear, my favorite backpack is the Alex Strohl Mountain Light. It’s definitely the best camera bag out there for hiking with photo gear. If you don’t need storage for camera stuff, I recommend an Osprey Hikelite. If you aren’t bringing very much and just want a day bag, I love my Topo Designs Y-Pack for carrying everyday essentials!
Especially when you’re hiking or exploring outdoors, it’s important to stay hydrated! Single use water bottles are, of course, terrible for the environment, so avoid that and bring a reusable one!
For hiking, the CamelBak water reservoirs are convenient and easy – they can fit in your hiking backpack for water on the go. Nalgene water bottles are great for day to day, and if you want an insulated water bottle to keep your water cold and refreshing, Hydro Flasks are the best!
Planning to Explore the WEstfjords?
If you have any questions about these things to do in the Westfjords, Iceland, or you have your own recommendations, let me know in a comment below! For more adventures, I definitely recommend visiting the more popular South Coast.
More blog posts about Iceland:
- Iceland Road Trip Itineraries
- How to Travel Iceland on a Budget
- The Best Stops Along Iceland’s Ring Road
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