Travel search
Can't find it? Try searching for it :)

Wild Life

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.

Burial ground of Sæunn

Sæunn the wonder-cow is a special cow which saved her own life from getting slaughtered by swimming over the cold Atlantic ocean fjord of Önundarfjörður in october 1987. The cow lived sex years after the big achievement but when it died this wonder-cow was buried near the ocean where it reached shore. Now this area has the name Sæunnarhaugur or Sæunn burial ground. This swim achievement was in Icelandic news as well as world news because of the rareness of cows willing to swim such a long distance in the cold Atlantic ocean.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Explore map by categories

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