In the Westfjords, winter is king. It is the longest and most varied season, and a genuine treat for the traveller.
A bit of everything
The winter season lasts almost half the year and in that time there will be extended spells of still, clear weather; some truly thrilling storms; and some grey days with curtains of impenetrably thick snowfall. The temperature might dip as low as minus ten or more. But it might also go up to plus ten degrees. Expect to be surprised.
Ideally you will want to experience a bit of everything, because travel is about new experiences. Most visitors are not used to snowdrifts as high as houses, not used to winds which can knock a man over, and not used to seeing sun-dappled waterfalls frozen solid. The three or four hour-long days of midwinter are another big draw to the curious. And most visitors absolutely love the whole experience.
The warmest season
Winter is the time to be cosy. Icelandic houses are always beautifully warm, and most are brimming with hot chocolate, cookies, good books, slippers, candles and other creature comforts.
This is probably why Iceland is such a great place to celebrate Christmas too. People take it really seriously and almost every house does its bit to brighten the winter darkness with twinkling fairy lights.
The northern lights dancing in the sky above are an extra added treat and a reason to visit the Westfjords all by themselves.
The festive period also brings people outside to let of thousands upon thousands of fireworks – and you’ll be relieved to know the Westfjordians are as hooked on this New Year’s tradition as everyone else in Iceland.
Some of Iceland’s best skiing, snowboarding and Nordic skiing areas are in the Westfjords and there are endless opportunities to go snowmobiling, snow hiking and even ice climbing.
For many, experiencing the region’s extreme weather is a big part of the attraction, but for others it’s all about the views. Because the Westfjords’ mountains and fjords look at their very best under a winter coating of white – and bathed in the purples and greens of the northern lights.
Who can offer you winter in the Westfjords?
If you want excitement, talk to Borea. Day tours and multi day-excursions: they provide Backcountry skiing, sailing, kayaking, hiking, ice climbing, horse riding and much more. Borea’s team of expert guides will show you a Westfjords you never even knew existed.
A surprising slice of heaven, tucked away at the end of a remote fjord, Heydalur is an old farm which now provides a unique mix of chalet accommodation, horse riding, adventure sports, hot tubs, a greenhouse garden, and some of the best home-cooked meals in the region…mostly made from local ingredients. Stop in for lunch and you might end up staying a week!
Ögur Travel offers a very special variety of tours in the unspoilt beauty of Ísafjarðardjúp – near the main road, four hours from Reykjavík and an hour or two from Ísafjörður. Each tour is infused with history, culture and old tales from the local area. Look out for their gourmet kayaking tour – and don’t miss out on the restaurant either.
The premier hotel in the Westfjords region, Hótel Ísafjörður commands spectacular views towards the end of the fjord and over the town square. Its comfortable rooms, warm service and attention to detail have earned it a great reputation – and the Við Pollinn restaurant is a beacon of locally sourced haute cuisine. A real treat.