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Winter in Westfjords

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.

Being outdoors

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?

Borea Adventures
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.
Hótel Ísafjörður
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.


Aldrei fór ég suður - Rock Festival
One of Iceland’s best known music festivals, managed by local musician Mugison and his father, Papamug More information at www.aldrei.is
Visit Westfjords - The landscape

A little video that highlights some of the landscape of the Westfjords of Iceland. 

Bird Watching

There are many places in the Westfjords of Iceland that are ideal for bird watching. Látrarbjarg cliff is the largest bird cliff in Europe and gives you fantastic views over the puffins. But there are also other places such as Vigur island, Grímsey island and Reykhólar that are amazing spots for bird enthusiast.


Patreksfjörður is the biggest town in the southern part of the Westfjords, with a population of around 660. Early in the 20th century, Patreksfjörður was a pioneering force in Iceland's fishing industry, initiating trawler fishing. Still today the chief occupation is commercial fishing and fish processing. Other industries, like fish farming and services are also increasingly important.
Tourism has been on the rise in Patreksfjörður, not surprisingly, as the village has gems like Látrabjarg cliffs, Rauðasandur beach and Dynjandi waterfall within its reach. Patreksfjörður has a new, absolutely gorgeous outdoor swimming pool, and if you prefer natural hot pots you will find them within an easy driving distance from the town. In Patreksfjörður you can enjoy hotels or guesthouses, restaurants and various tours. You can reach Patreksfjörður by flight six days per week via Bíldudalur (fly-bus takes you to Patreksfjörður), or by a bus from Reykjavík to Stykkisholmur, then the ferry Baldur to Brjánslækur and a bus from there to Patreksfjörður. If you drive on your own during winter, please remember to get updates on weather and road conditions.


Ísafjörður is the largest town in the peninsula. It is conveniently located between five smaller villages, and being

Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula, with some 2600 inhabitants. It is an ancient church site and a trading post since at least the 16th century, although a real town did not start to form until after mid-19th century. The growth of the town was triggered by salt fish production, and ever since then the fishing industry has been vital for the community. Other industries, such as tourism and the service sector have grown in recent years and decades. In Ísafjörður you will find a hospital, schools ranging from kindergartens to a small university, and branches from various government organizations. For the tourist, Ísafjörður has a range of accommodation, restaurants and recreation for all budgets and tastes. A golf course, hiking- and biking trails, horse riding, bird watching, skiing and kayaking are all within an easy reach. Ferries to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve depart from Ísafjörður daily during the summer months. In Ísafjörður you will find the regional tourist information office for the Westfjords.
Ísafjörður hosts some of the most celebrated festivals in Iceland, including the music festival "Aldrei fór ég suður", the Runners' Festival, the mud-soccer European Championships, Act alone theatre festival and "Við Djúpið" classical music festival.
It is easy to reach Ísafjörður either by car, by bus or by using the two daily flights from Reykjavík. If you travel by car during winter, remember to get updates on weather and road conditions.


Hólmavík is the largest town in the Strandir region, an area with an exciting and tragic history of witchcraft, witch-hunting and sorcery. Inhabitants in the countryside surrounding Hólmavík live mostly on sheep farming, while economic activity in town revolves around the fisheries and the service sector.
The Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft takes visitors on a tour into the mystical world of the supernatural. The history of witch-hunting in 17th century Iceland is presented at the exhibition as well as various aspects of magic from more recent sources. A second part of the exhibition is in Bjarnarfjörður, 30 kilometres from Hólmavík. Next to Hólmavík there is also the Sheep Farming Museum, an entertaining exhibition dedicated to the Icelandic sheep and sheep farming.
Visitors will find all basic amenities, and more, in Hólmavík. Accommodation of various kind, a camping ground, restaurants, a newly built swimming pool and a good Tourist Information Center that serves the hole area. A golf course and a horse rental can be found just outside the town.
Hólmavík is reacheble from Reykjavík by bus two to four days per week, depending on seasons. There are also two to three busses per week between Hólmavík and Ísafjörður.

April - May
Fossavatn Ski Marathon
The oldest and biggest festival of cross-country skiing in Iceland. Suitable for the whole family. Don’t miss the Master Class, buffets and parties, either! More information at www.fossavatn.is
Skjaldborg Film Festival in Patreksfjörður
An annual documentary film festival with new and exiting Icelandic documentaries by upcoming film makers and veterans alike. More information at www.skjaldborg.is

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    Westfjords of Iceland

    Towns & Villages

    The sparsely populated Westfjords region is home to more towns and villages than you might imagine – and each has its own unique atmosphere and attractions.
    Get to know more about them here. 

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