Skip to content

Or try searching by Category and/or Location

Vatnsfjörður nature reserve is an area of total 20.000 ha. 80% of the area is rocky and barren but the lowlands is mostly covered with birchwood. From Vatnsfjörður it's perfect to visit most of the Westfjords. It takes you about one and a half hour to drive either to Látrabjarg, to Selárdalur or even to Ísafjörður. It takes you half an hour to drive to Dynjandi and it's a one hour sail from Brjánslækur to Flatey island.

Fauna in Vatnsfjörður is pretty diverse compared to Iceland, even though the number of animals is not so high. Around twenty types of birds live in the nature reserve area all year round. Mice, foxes, minks can be found in the area. You could see seals in the ocean and both salmon and trout can be found in the rivers. 

The flora is based on low rise rowan and birch wood which stretches from the coastline up to the mountains. The wood and the mudflats are the base for the diverse flora. You can also find a lot of Arctic blueberries in the area if you are travelling during August/September.

The geology of the area is similar to the Westfjords in general. The bedrock is basalt from the tertier time and is thought to be about 10-13 million years old. The Landscape is made from the ice-age glaciers and the mountains are about 700 meters high. The area's pride is also geothermal water springs that you can bathe in and is also used to heat up some houses in the area as well as a swimming pool. The lignite canyon is also worth seeing but to see that you have to hike from Vatnsfjörður up the hill. You better ask the locals about that, but it's definitely worth seeing.

The history of the area is long, and many people say that the history of Iceland begins exactly here. Hrafna-Flóki is said to have been the first person to settle Iceland and he was the first person to name the country Iceland. In the book of settlement you can read the following text about Hrafna-Flóki. He said: "The weather here is rather cold." Then he hiked up the mountain and saw a fjord full of ice and icebergs. That's why he named the country Iceland. In Hörgsnes there is a cave called Gíslahellir (e. Gísli's cave) where it is believed that Gísli Súrsson, the main character from the Icelandic saga Gísla saga Súrssonar hid in. All around the fjord there are many walking routes to neighbouring areas and ancient cairns are indeed the sign of that.

Hellulaug is a geothermal pool, located just off the highway, close to the beach in Vatnsfjörður. It is quite lovely to chill out in the pool(38°/100,4 F) while looking out over the fjord.The pool cannot be seen from the road, but there is a parking lot next to the path that leads to Hellulaug. The pool is 60 cm deep.
Lignite canyon
Surtarbrandsgil (e. Lignite canyon) was put on the Icelandic environment protection list as a natural phenomenon in 1975. The main reason for the protection was to pretect the fossils of the flora which was to be found in mud and lignite layers between the basalt layers. Thease plant fossils are from the tertier time. The Environment Agency of Iceland’s exhibition on the nature reserve Surtarbrandsgil in the old priest’s lodgings in Brjánslækur is open daily from 10. June until 10. August. Entrance is free for everyone.  In relation to the exhibitions opening hours, hikes to the canyon led by a land ranger are available during these times:Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 13:00. Please note that hiking up the canyon is prohibited unless accompanied by a ranger. For further information, call 822-4080 or 831-9675.
Iceland owes its name to Hrafna-Flóki or Raven-Floki. After a long navigation from Norway, he took land in Vatnsfjörður fjord. As a navigational aid, he brought some ravens along, which he let loose at sea, directing him to land (hence the nickname). Flóki only stayed for one winter, as he was not prepared for the cold and hardship. They lost many animals during the stay and understandably got disgruntled. In the spring, Flóki hiked to a nearby mountain top. Seeing the surrounding fjords all full of ice, he announced that this cold and inhospitable place should be called Iceland. There is a hotel at Flókalundur with a restaurant and gas-station. A memorable natural pool is down by the sea. Flókalundur is about 6 kilometers from Brjánslækur where the ferry Baldur docks.
Hotel Flókalundur
Hótel Flókalundur is a small family-run hotel in Vatnsfjörður, on the south coast of the Westfjords. The hotel was built in 1966 by the Local Region Association Barðstrendingafélagið, but prior to that, a restaurant was in operation on this location since 1961 and Vatnsfjörður has always been a popular visiting place for tourists in the area. Hotel Flokalundur has 27 single or double bedrooms and one suite. All rooms are equipped with a bathroom. All rooms are fully furnished and breakfast is included in the price. One room is accessible by wheelchair. A small Restaurant is located at Hotel Flokalundur and is open every day from 7:30 till  23:00 for all guests in the area. A Breakfast Buffet is served from 07:30 till 10:00. Lunch is served from 11:00 till 14:00 where the Meal of the Day is available, along with a menu of small dishes that can be ordered through the whole day. Dinner is served off the Dinner Menu from 18:00 till 21:00 with emphasis on fresh seafood, local game and other meat dishes. The Restaurants offers a selection of alcoholic beverages. The bar is open until 23:00. The Camping Site, with it’s beautiful view over the fjord, is situated close to the Hotel. On the Camping Site there is ample space for tents and camping trailers. There is access to electricity and in a Facility Hut there are WC, hot and cold water faucets, showers and facilities for dishwashing. The Camping Site is open from June 15th till September 10th. Next to the hotel we have a small fuel station (automatic pumps) and a minimarket that is open between 11:00 and 18:00 during the summer.
Þingmannaá Waterfall
The Þingmannaá river flows from the Þingmannadalur valley down to Vatnsfjörður fjord, featuring charming waterfalls within its canyons. Explorers can walk behind one of the waterfalls and view it from behind the cascading water.   One of these waterfalls had a role in the television show Nonni and Manni from 1990. A parking lot is conveniently located about 100 meters from the road, and from there, it's just a five-minute walk to reach the waterfall.