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Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails

From Bolungarvík you can hike almost in all directions.

There are two ways to choose between Hnífsdalur and Bolungarvík. First there is the old mainroad, Óshlíð, and secondly there is the hike over Heiðarskarð via Reiðhjalli hydro-power-plant. From Reiðhjalli hydro-power-plant you can also keep on going over the Hnífsdalur valley and all the way to the cross country ski area above Ísafjörður.

To Súgandafjörður there are also two routes to choose from. Firstly there is Gilsbrekkuheiði between Syðridalur and Súgandafjörður and secondly there is Grárófuheiði between Tungudalur and Súgadafjörður.

To Skálavík there are three routes to choose from. Firstly Gönguskarð from Tungudalur to Skálavík, secondly there is the road over Skálavíkurheiði. And last but not least there is the hike in Stigahlíð next to the ocean.

If the plan is to visit Galtarviti then there are also two routes to choose from. Firstly there is Bakkaskarð from Skálavík to Galtarviti and secondly there is a difficult hike of the ocean side of the mountain Öskubakur.

This list is almost never ending but it can give you a good image of where you can hike. We always recommend you to take a look at the information center in Bolungarvík or in Ísafjörður to get a map before you decide to take a hike. The Tourism Association of the Westfjords have made hiking maps for the Westfjords and we advise all hikers to get the map for more detailed information about the hikes. 

Skalavik

Skálavík is the next creek westwards from Bolungarvík. People lived in Skálavík until around 1960's and since then the creek has been uninhabited. People from the area and people who have relations to Skálavík have restored some of the houses and new summerhouses have been built. In a good summer day the people from the area like to build sandcastles on the beach, take a walk and even swim in the river. Skálavík is a paradise for kids and a perfect place to stop the car and play around. On the way from Skálavík, we recommend driving all the way up to the top of the moutain and take a look at the view from the top.

The stone of Þuríður Sundafyllir

In the year 1975 was put up a memorial stone for Þuríður Sundayllir, the first known settler of Boungarvík. The stone, which is called Þuríðarsteinn or the stone of Þuríður is situated in Vatnsnes where people think Þuríður's settlement was in the beginning.

Lignite mine

Syðridalur in Bolungarvík is known for an old lignite mine which is situated in the valley. Lignite was mined from the mine in the years of 1917 until 1921 or while and after the first World War. The reason why the mining was shut down is because coal from Europe became more accessible after the war. Lignite in Iceland is worse than coal due to the fact that volcanic ash is one of the main contents. Lignite in Iceland only includes 60% carbon but European coal includes 70-80% carbon. The mine in Syðridalur actually consist of two mines, one on either side of the river. Gilsnáma is the one that's more known but Hanhólsnáma is the lesser known mine. Gilsnáma is more than 100 meters long but the other is around 10 meters. Inside Gilsnáma you can see some of the equipment that was used to mine, including a few hammers and a scale. To get into Gilsnáma you almost have to crawl, but once you're in the ceiling gets higher and you can stand upright. The walk up to the mine takes around 20-25 minutes on a marked trail and it's well worth the stop.

Reiðhjalli

Reiðhjalli is situated in Syðridalur in Bolungarvík. from the end of the road in the bottom of the valley there is a slightly worse road that climbs up the hill from the Hydro-powerplant. If the road is hiked it leads you to the Reiðhjalli reservoir. The view from the area is stunning. As an addition to the hike you can take a sneak peak off the cliffs down to Súgandafjörður or even hike down Hnífsdalur valley.

Galtarviti

Galtarviti is in a creek called Keflavík and is situated between Súgandafjörður and Skálavík. The only thing you see when you look westwards is open ocean and sometimes fishing boats and ships pass by. There is no road to the area so the only possible way is to travel there is by sailing, hiking or during wintertime on snowmobile. The hike to Galtarviti can be a difficult trip. Please talk to the people at the tourism information center or ask the locals where it's best to go. 

Bolafjall

The most popular visiting point in Bolungarvík is the top of Bolafjall Mountain. The place offers a staggering view over Ísafjarðardjúp, Jökulfirðir and some people say all the way to Greenland. To get to Bolafjall mountain you have to drive up the road from Bolungarvík the way to the radar station on the top. The station was built by the Americans but is now controlled by the Icelandic coast guard. The route is open from the middle of june until august september. After a visit to Bolafjall, or even before, We recommend a coffee break and a nice walk at the black sand beach in Skálavík.

Bird Watching

Do you want to go bird watching in Iceland? The Westfjords offer some of the best bird watching sites there are. The unique Látrabjarg cliff is one of the best places in Iceland to photograph puffins. Other popular bird watching sites include Reykhólar, Vigur, Grímsey island in Steingrímsfjörður and Hornstrandir nature reserve. 

Óshlíð

Óshlíð is the old road between Bolungarvík and Hnífsdalur. The construction of the road started in 1950s and it served the people of Bolungarvík as the only connection to Iceland's roadsystem. Since 2010 the road is not used by cars any more because of the new Bolungarvík-tunnel but people have been using Óshlíð as an outdoor recreational area. The paved road gives perfect conditions to bikers and runners that want to be closer to nature. You feel really small under the enormous cliffs that seem to be hanging by a thread 300 - 400 meters higher. Óshlíð is known for the bad road conditions due to avalanches, rock slides and stone falling. The road has also lost a part of the paved lane in some places due to bad weathers and the sea has been eating it's way into the land. Tourists are therefore advised to take care on the way and leave the car on either side of the pass. If you will drive the road and something happens, neither the car or the passengers are insured. We recommend Óshlíð especially during the bright summer nights, because you will nowhere get a better glimpse of the sunset then from Óshlíð and Óshólar. Information signs are at Hnífsdalur where Óshlíð road begins and there is also a perfect place to stop and have a little coffee after you park the car and start walking into the sunset.

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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