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Municipalities in the Westfjords of Iceland

Iceland’s least populous; the municipality of Árneshreppur has only 50 inhabitants. The road connecting the region to the rest of Iceland can be closed for weeks during winter, leaving transport by air the only option. Hikers on their way to Hornstrandir can take the boat from Árneshreppur, and there they find a museum, a café and accommodation. One characteristic of the area are two herring factories, built in early 20th century, one in Ingólfsfjörður and one in Djúpavík. There, huge houses and facilities were built and profitably used to process herring. Then, as quickly as the herring had appeared, it disappeared and the factories were closed down. An exhibition has been put up in Djúpavík, recounting the interesting history.
 Bíldudalur is nested by the fjord Arnarfjörður, a location which is not only beautiful but also responsible for Bíldudalur’s reputation as the “good-weather-capital of the Westfjords”.  The main industries in this picturesque village are sea mineral processing and fish farming, while tourism has also been increasing.  Although the population of Bíldudalur is only about 300, music and culture have thrived there for decades. Don’t forget to visit Melodies of the Past, an exhibition of Icelandic music memorabilia. The fjord Arnarfjörður is well known for its numerous sea monsters. Tales of such creatures have played a colorful role in Icelandic folk culture for centuries. The Icelandic Sea Monster Museum in Bíldudalur offers an action-packed multimedia display of such tales, something the whole family can enjoy together. Bíldudalur is accessible from Reykjavík by flight. A fly-bus connects Bíldudalur to the neighboring villages Tálknafjörður and Patreksfjörður. If you travel to Bíldudalur by car, make sure you check the road conditions before you start your journey. Please note that the mountain roads Dynjandiseheiði and Hrafnseyrarheiði on road #60 (between Bíldudalur and Þingeyri/Ísafjörður) are closed during winter.
Bolungarvík is the northernmost village in the Westfjords, situated on an eponymous cove.The village has been a fishing port since settlement, so naturally the most popular tourist attraction in Bolungarvík is the Ósvör museum, a fascinating replica of an old fishing outpost. There, the museum curator greets visitors wearing a skin suit similar to the one Icelandic sailors wore in the 19th century. In addition there is a natural history museum in town that hosts an extensive bird and mammal collection, including a polar bear.Another popular visiting point is the top of Bolafjall Mountain offering a staggering view. There is a road all the way to the top to service the radar station up there. It is open to tourists in the summer months only.Amenities include a gas station, shops and different types of accommodation, as well as an indoor swimming pool and a sports centre. Just outside the village, there is a nine hole golf course.
Traveling along road #643 through the Árneshreppur municipality is one of the most scenic drives you could ever take. Besides the breathtaking nature, you are bound to be captivated by the tiny settlements that greet you on the way. The historical village of Djúpavík dates back to 1917, when a herring factory was established in this small creek by the fjord Reykjarfjörður. The first attempt was short lived but in 1934 a new factory was erected, the largest concrete house in Iceland at the time. The factory operated until 1954, but today it serves as an exhibition building. The houses in Djúpavík are only used as summer dwellings today, except for the hotel, Hótel Djúpavík, which is open all year.   Djúpavík is ap part of Árneshreppur the least populous municipality in Iceland, with only 53 inhabitants. It stretches over a wide area, though, covering some 780 km2. The population density is thus only 0, 07 individuals per km2.  The area does not enjoy any public transport, apart from one to two weekly flights from Reykjavik to Gjögur, a small settlement which is only inhabited during the summertime. Most visitors travel by car. Please note, though, that if you are traveling during the winter it is necessary to check the weather and road conditions before you visit the area.
Drangsnes is a fishing village, pure and simple. Conveniently located near the fishing grounds, it thrives in its minimalistic ways. In fact, the entrepreneur who runs the local restaurant and one of the guesthouses is a fisherman. He also runs the boat tours to Grímsey. Grímsey island, supposedly formed by a giant trying to dig the Westfjords apart from the rest of Iceland, is the biggest attraction in Drangsnes. The boat ride is only 10 minutes across. Grímsey boasts a rich bird life of puffins, fulmars and an interesting side story of fox farming. It does not come as a surprise that in this small hamlet, the camping place is just by the municipality's office building, as synergy is always important in small villages. Lastly: although the new swimming pool in town is of top notch quality, the blend-in-with-the-locals way of bathing would be to dip into the small hot pools at the shore.
Flateyri has been a trading post since 1792 and saw its heyday in the 19th century when it was home to a fleet of decked vessels and the base for shark-hunting and whaling operations. The fishing industry has always been vital for the villages in the Westfjords, and in Flateyri the tradition of fishing has successfully been linked to tourism as the village has become a very popular destination for foreign sea anglers. The fjord also offers great opportunities for kayaking. The old village bookshop has been turned into a museum where visitors can learn about the history of Flateyri while buying second hand books and visiting the old merchant’s home. An international doll museum and the popular Nonsense Museum can also be found in Flateyri. Accommodation is available at the hostel or in self catering flats. A small shop, a restaurant/pub and a nice swimming pool with brand new outdoor hot-pots provide visitors with all the basic services. Across the fjord you will find a white, sandy beach. Although the sea might be colder for bathing than most people prefer, the sand is great for building sand castles. This beach is actually the venue for an annual sand castle competition which attracts hundreds of participants every year, children and adults alike.
Hnífsdalur is a small village between Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík. It has some 200 inhabitants, many of whom seek work in Ísafjörður, only 4 km away. The traffic is two-way, though, as Hnífsdalur is the home to the largest fisheries company in the Westfjords, HG, which has around 250 employees on their payroll. No actual services can be found in the quiet village, but it is a great place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The deep valley that the village derives its name from is lush and green, with a river winding through it. Multiple hiking trails can be found in the valley and surrounding mountains, both moderate and challenging. Hnífsdalur is easily reached by bus, with multiple departures from Ísafjörður every weekday.
Get off the ring road - and let the trolls guide you The Strandir area, with its small towns, rich history, and impressive landscape is the perfect chance to do something a bit different. Hólmavík Holmavik is a small fishing town nested by the large Steingrímsfjördur fjord. It is the largest town in the region and the perfect place to take a break and plan your Strandir adventure, and/or as a base for day trips. Visitors will find all basic amenities, and more, in Hólmavík. Camping ground, various accommodation, and restaurants. There is a swimming pool, various tours available such as sailing and horseback riding, and the surrounding mountains provide endless opportunities for hiking and enjoying the unspoiled nature. Highly recommended are visits to other small towns in Strandir. Drangsnes with its geothermal tubs right on the Steingrimsfjordur beach, Djupavik and its haunting, abandoned herring factory popular with artists and musicians, and last but not least, Nordurfjordur, “where the road ends”, home to the famous Krossneslaug swimming pool. Researching magic Strandir was the setting for a witch-hunting craze in Iceland in the 17th century. Due to its isolation, the locals have throughout the centuries preserved stories of strange beings, ghosts and everyday witchcraft. Holmavik boasts two centres of research related to folklore and the history of Icelandic sorcery; the well-known Museum of Sorcery and Magic, and the University of Iceland’s Folklore Research Institute.  
Rooted in a rich history as a trading post since the 16th century, Ísafjörður has evolved from its humble beginnings into the vibrant heart of the Westfjords. Known for its significant role in Iceland's fishing industry since the mid-19th century, today, Ísafjörður is a cultural epicenter, surrounded by the scenic towns of Þingeyri , Flateyri , Suðureyri , Súðavík , and Bolungarvík. Each offers unique insights into the area's heritage and contributes to the rich tapestry of community life and natural beauty. As the largest town on the peninsula, Ísafjörður serves as a central hub for exploring the rugged landscapes and pristine wilderness of the surrounding areas, including the untouched Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Accessible by car, bus, or flight, it provides visitors with unparalleled access to outdoor adventures ranging from hiking and kayaking to bird watching and skiing, inviting a deep connection with nature. Furthermore, Ísafjörður's cultural calendar is bustling with activities and festivals that draw visitors from across the globe. Celebrated events like the "Aldrei fór ég suður" music festival, the Runners’ Festival, and the "Fossavatnsganga" nordic skii compet ion, among others, highlight the town's lively spirit and its residents' passion for arts and music. These festivals, along with the town’s museums, galleries, and artisan workshops, offer a glimpse into the creative soul of the Westfjords. Visitors to Ísafjörður can expect a warm welcome and a chance to immerse themselves in a community where the wilderness of Iceland is always just a step away, and the cultural experiences are as enriching as the landscapes are breathtaking. For a comprehensive guide on services and activities available in Ísafjörður and the surrounding areas, explore the interactive map below.
Norðurfjörður is a part of Árneshreppur the least populous municipality in Iceland, with only 53 inhabitants. It stretches over a wide area, though, covering some 780 km2. The population density is thus only 0, 07 individuals per km2.  The area does not enjoy any public transport, apart from one to two weekly flights from Reykjavik to Gjögur, a small settlement which is only inhabited during the summertime. Most visitors travel by car. Please note, though, that if you are traveling during the winter it is necessary to check the weather and road conditions before you visit the area.   Hikers who wish to visit the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve can catch a ferry from another tiny village, Norðurfjörður. There, they will also find guesthouses, a campsite, a small grocery store and a café. Just outside the village they will find the renowned Krossneslaug, one of the most popular geothermal pools in the Westfjords area.
Patreksfjörður is the biggest town in the southern part of the Westfjords, with a population of around  780. 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. If you drive on your own during winter, please remember to get updates on weather and road conditions.
If you are interested in bird-watching, the small village of Reykhólar is the perfect hub. The sea closest to shore is very shallow and with a high tidal range. These conditions, combined with the marshes and ponds found inland create a bountiful biota and a perfect environment for a rich bird life.There is a unique perquisite exhibition at Reykhólar, a museum dedicated to the gifts of nature, and their utilization, in the Breiðafjörður area. From a historical perspective, it shows how birds, seals and fish provided the farmers and fishermen with food and clothes, helping them to get through famines and hardship in the past.The village is also famous for its kelp factory, the only factory in Iceland that processes seaweed. The products are used in food, animal fodder, fuel, fertilizers and for medicinal purposes, to name just a few.
Suðureyri is a fine example of an Icelandic fishing village. The village only began to form in the early 20th century, growing rapidly with the mechanisation of the fishing industry. Recently, villagers seized the opportunity of combining the fishing tradition with tourism, and every summer hundreds of sea anglers from Europe visit the village and try their luck at catching cod and halibut out in the fjord. Those who prefer more fish-friendly activities can feed the cod in the lagoon just outside the village. Suðureyri has in recent years taken big steps towards an environmentally-friendly and sustainable policy, all from catching the fish to serving it to the customer.All basic services can be found in Suðureyri. The swimming pool is one of the most popular in the area, being one of the few outside pools, so it often gets crowded on sunny summer days.
The small and friendly fishing village of Súðavík, 20 kilometres from Ísafjörður. 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 built on a location safe from avalanches, and the old part is kept intact as a summer resort for travellers.Súðavík is 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 for kids and adults alike, 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.Sumarbyggð/ Iceland Sea Angling is the oldest sea angling project of Westfjords. It offers boats and accommodation services in Súðavík, Tálknafjörður and Bolungarvík. 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.  
Tálknafjörður is a friendly village in the southern part of the Westfjords, with a population of approximately 300. For centuries, most of the locals made their living from fishing, and they still do of course, but in order to diversify its economy, the town now welcomes large groups of tourists every year, the biggest attraction being sea angling.In the northern part of the fjord, hot water springs from the earth. This pure energy is used for fish farming and heating the swimming pool. Bonuses to this geothermal activity are natural hot pools located just outside the village. There is nothing better after a long day on the road, than to glide down into the warm water and enjoy the stunning beauty of the surrounding mountains. Various hiking trails can be found on either side of the fjord, many of them old riding paths, used to cross the surrounding mountains and heaths.
VISIT THINGEYRI -EVENT CALENDAR Þingeyri is a small village situated on a spit of land in one of Iceland's most scenic fjords, Dýrafjörður. Like in most other seaside villages in Iceland, the culture and industry has been shaped by the sea throughout the centuries. Þingeyri provides various services to the surrounding countryside as well as to its visitors; a small shop, post office, bank and a swimming pool at the local sports hall .Simbahöllin is a homely café, specializing in Belgian waffles, set in a beautifully renovated old Norwegian house from 1915. Another point of interest is the oldest functioning mechanic workshop in Iceland, established in the year 1913.One of Iceland's most scenic golf courses is just a stone's throw from Þingeyri, with the Westfjords Alps as a backdrop, including the highest mountain of the peninsula, Kaldbakur (998 metres).
Breiðafjörður is the second biggest fjord in Iceland as it stretches 70 km where it is widest. Where the fjord gets more shallow there are almost uncountable number of islands but if we would have to guess a number, they would be around 2800. Many of those islands were inhabited few decades ago but now almost all are uninhabited. Flatey is the one exception. Flatey is the biggest of the islands in Breiðafjörður. It also is the only island in Breiðafjörður where inhabitants live the whole year round. The inhabitants count as many as 6 persons but during summertime the population multiplies. Many of the other islands in Breiðafjörður used to be inhabited not so long ago like Hvallátur, Svefneyjar and Akureyjar. All the islands have one thing in common. They are all made by the force of glaciers in the ice age. The islands are mostly flat and the geological layers are similar to the ones on the Westfjords. In most of the islands there are many plants and the birdlife is diverse with puffin, eider and black guillemot being the kings of the fjord along with the White-tailed-Eagle. The history tells us that the people that lived in Breiðafjörður never had to deal with shortage of food because of the plentyful gifts of nature such as birds, fish and shells. When there were bad conditions and food shortage was common in Iceland, people fled to Breiðafjörður bay where there was plenty of food for everyone. 

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