Recommendations from the locals
Video from the Westfjords of Iceland
We have a selection of videos from the Westfjords in order for you to get a little insight into everything from everyday life in a little seaside villages, to some of our more thrilling experiences like standing on the edge of one of the largest bird cliffs in Europe.
Adventure for Groups
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.
A little video that highlights some of the landscape of the Westfjords of Iceland.
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.
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.
The streets of Isafjordur are generally covered with snow in the winter. Distances are short and the town is flat. No need for a car when you have a kicksled.
Day trips to the various museums, galleries and nearby natural wonders are quite enjoyable and relatively inexpensive. There is something to be found for everyone!
When visiting the Westfjords of Iceland, chances are you will be driving through some of the 8 fjords of Ísafjarðardjúp, fjord system, so it truly puts the “fjords” in your Westfjords adventure. Amongst all the natural wonders of the area such as Hvítanes seal colony, Vigur Island, Reykjanes geothermal area and the historical location Litlibær you will find a small community of 190 people, most based in the phoenix village of Súðavík. Súðavík is a small, charming and friendly fishing village 20 kilometres from Ísafjörður. It's a great place to visit, especially for families. The family garden Raggagarður, is a playground in the heart of the old town. It is created both for kids and adults as a place where the whole family can spend time together. Another attraction is The Arctic Fox Centre, an exhibition and research centre focusing on the only native terrestrial mammal in Iceland, the Arctic fox. The town is an excellent place for hiking and local guide is available for neighbouring routes.
Súðavík has two restaurants, a café, nice and quiet camping place, grocery shop, gas station, post office and bank service. Since 1995, when an avalanche destroyed a big part of the village, it has been divided into two parts, the old and the new. The new village was rebuilt by it's residents on a location safe from avalanches, and the old part is kept intact as a summer resort for travellers.