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Nature Reserve in Vatnsfjörður

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Nature Reserve in Vatnsfjörður
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 come 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

The cliffs of all cliffs, Látrabjarg, are home to birds in unfathomable numbers. This westernmost point of Iceland (and Europe if Greenland and the Azores are not counted) is really a line of several cliffs, 14 kilometres long and up to 441 m high. And it's as steep as it gets, dizzyingly so. Safe from foxes, the birds are fearless, and provide stunning photographic opportunities from close range. Bird photography for dummies, you might say. The puffins are particularly tame and are the ones frequenting the grassy, higher part of the cliffs. But look out, the edges are fragile and loose and the fall is high.
Látrabjarg is thus deservedly the most visited tourist attraction in the Westfjords. The cliffs are easily accessible by car and when you're there, a walk along the cliffs awaits. The whirling sensation will not fade, and neither will the memories.

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.

Vatnsfjörður lake

Vatnsdalsvatn (e. Vatnsdalur lake) is situated in Vatnsfjörður, Barðaströnd. The lake is 2,2 square kilometers and 8 meters above seaa level. You can fis in the lake unless where the little river that connects the lake to the ocean. The places that you can't fish in have been specially marked. The lake is mostly inhabited by Trout but Salmon checks it out quite often and the size of the fish is mostly 1-3 pounds but you can get up to 10 pund fishes.The allowed fishing time starts at 7 and the lake closes at 22. The lake opens the first of june and closes when september ends. If you plan to fish, you are advised to get yourself a Veiðikortið (e. fishing card) and let Hótel Flókalundur know that you plan to go fishing. Vatnsfjörður is a nature reserve so fishermen are asked to leave no tracks of themselves, for example trash. Kids that are under 14 years old fish for free if you have Veiðikortið.

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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