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Nature

Nature

Súðavík is a pretty big municipality as it stretches from Álftafjörður to Ísafjörður in the bottom of Ísafjarðardjúp. The area is best known for the landscape that consists mainly of fjords and mountains and little or no usable land for agriculture. Birds, seals, whales and the fox are easily seen in the area and as you follow the road there will be many opportunities for Kodak moments.

Arctic Fox

The Arctic fox is the only truly native land mammal in Iceland. It got stranded on the island after the last Ice Age and lived on birds, bird eggs, berries, seaweed and all sorts of other stuff. Over the millennia the Icelandic Arctic fox has become genetically unique: the Vulpes lagopus fuliginosus subspecies. They are white in winter and grey in summer. The Hornstrandir nature reserve in the Westfjords is the only place in Iceland where the Arctic fox is completely protected from hunting; which means they are a common sight and unusually tame.

Heydalur

Heydalur is a paradise for those who like birdlife and to take pictures of birds. Heydalur offers horseback rides in Heydalur valley and many attractions for the family. The hot natural pool in Heydalur is a few minute walk from the country Hotel Heydalur. Sitting in the hot natural pool feeling the fatigue in your body float away is a feeling like no other. Some say that laying the hot pool in Heydalur gives you strength, and for many that is so true.

Seal

Two species of seal can be seen consitently throughout the Westfjords area.

The "land-seal" is the most popular one and can be seen all around the Westfjords during all seasons. It is common to see them along the shoreline, often lying upon a flat rock enjoying the sun. Sometimes you can se them in the sea close to shore, curiously looking at what is happing on land.

The "Utselur" (eng. deep sea seal) is more difficult to spot as it stays off shore for longer periods. It is bigger than the "landseal", 2,5m and weighing over 300kg.

More species of seals can been seen around the Westfjords although they are not as common as those mentioned above. Long ago a walrus was spotted on shore in the Westfjords, but that is a very uncommon sight here nowadays.

Seals are generally lying at the shoreline during low tide, as they are out hunting during hightide. Wind and sun condition can also affect how they gather at the shoreline, decresing the oppertunity of seeing some seals.

Vigur

Puffins, eiders, guillemoths and arctic terns are this island's magnets, and they are all abundant. Indeed, as the puffins, which nest in burrows, have dug through much of the island's soil, travellers have to follow a certain path to avoid falling into one. This small bird, by some dubbed the penguin of the north, is a clumsy flier but impresses visitors by artfully stacking its beak full of sand eel or small fish, carrying it home to its hungry chicks. Being the opposite of the hospitable humans that live on the island, the Arctic terns fight to keep intruders away. Luckily, a stick held above the head does the trick. Eiders and humans share a mutual beneficence; eiders get protecion by nesting in close vicinity of the people, who collect the precious down from the eider nests. One of the every day event is when locals feed a group of orphan eider chicks. In Vigur you find the smallest post office in Iceland, as well as the only windmill and beautifully renewed houses. Since an end was put to milk production on Vigur island, the inhabitants spend much of the winter preparing the eider down, collected over the summer, for export.

To get to Vigur, there is a daily boat tour from Ísafjörður.

Valagil

Valagil is a spectacular ravine, complete with mighty waterfall and made from layers upon layers of ancient lava. You will find Valagil at the landward end of Álftafjörður, not too far from Súðavík. There is a marked footpath to the ravine from the road. Some say the ravine is named after the falcons (valur is Icelandic for falcon) which reported used to nest there. Other people say it is named after a woman called Vala who is said to have fallen to her death in the gully (hundreds of years ago).

Hvítanes

Hvítanes is situated between Hestfjörður and Skötufjörður fjords. At Hvítanes is an excellent place to view seals on the rocky beach right next to Hvítanes.

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.

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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Map Bolungarvík Hnífsdalur Suðureyri Flateyri Ísafjörður Súðavík Þingeyri Bíldudalur Tálknafjörður Patreksfjörður Hólmavík Drangsnes Reykhólar Borðeyri Djúpavík Norðurfjörður Norðurfjörður