Best Adventure trip to Westfjord Iceland.

Vestfjords

To get to Iceland from where ever you are in the world click here the website has several search engines for your flight and hotel to select from so you should not have any problems finding the cheapest and the best flight that falls within your spending limits.

Now you have got to Iceland, you are at Keflavik International Airport, about 45min from the capital Reykjavik, Keflavik airport is like any other airport busy but not very noisy, but you want to get to Reykjavik and here you have two options, you can take the “Flight Bus” that will take you to your hotel or you can hire a car click here and pick it up at the airport.

Ok, so far so good, You are in your hotel, but you are not here to spend a lot of time in Reykjavik I want to take you to see the wilderness of Iceland, that is why you spent all this money to get there to experience something very different, and there is plenty to choose from, in this article I am going to take you to the West-fjords of Iceland. The West-fjords or West Fjords is a large peninsula in north-western Iceland and an administrative district. The West-Fjords lies on the Denmark Strait, facing the east coast of Greenland.

One thing to bear in mind when driving in Iceland is that not all the roads are Asphalt Roads, some roads are Dirt Roads and they can be a bit hazardous. Anyway, I am assuming that you have got your hire car and you want to get started.

Take your time when driving there is a lot to see on the way, out of Reykjavik you take Route 1 and your first stop should be at the Whaling Station In Hvalfjordur. The Whaling Station in Hvalfjordur was raised in 1942 and is the only Whaling Station in operation in the Northern Hemisphere.

In 1986 the Station was badly sabotaged by Sea Shepard and later that same night they sank two of the whaling boats in Reykjavik Harbour. During World War II, a naval base of the British and American navies could be found in this fjord. The British base, HMS Baldur, was at Hvitanes, on a small point of land jutting into the fjord. The base was the headquarters of the Flag Officer Commanding, Iceland One of the piers built by the United States Navy is today used by the Hvalur whaling company for the processing of fin whales, partially for the domestic market, and mostly for export to Japan. It is well worth it to skip the tunnel that lies under Hvalfjord to see this Whaling Station.

Ok, you have seen the whaling station and you carry on past Borgarnes until you see the turn off for Vestfjardavegur Route 60 and you carry on on this Route until you see a turn off for Djúpvegur Route 61 and you carry on on this route all the way to Isafjordur Town. Depending on the time of year you are travelling this route can be very beautiful and a lot to see. You will see a lot of Sea Birds, Seals, and even Whales if you are lucky.

    Isafjordur Town

You have come to Isafjordur Town, you should have booked your hotel before you left but if not these guys will help you just click here, you can also get any local information you want from there, but a little pre-knowledge does help hence I will give you a few tips on what you can  do in and around Ísafjordur.

Ísafjordur is the settlement in the Westfjords of Iceland, the main industry is based on fishing, it is the cultural and heritage centre of Westfjords, with a very comprehensive cultural and heritage museums. The Cultural Museum is a former hospital for the town and the neighbouring towns heritage museum is one of a cluster of houses believed to be the oldest timber houses in Iceland from around 1757.

Icelanders are obsessed with Swimming and Golf, there is a heated swimming in every town and most villages in Iceland and almost every town has a Golf Course and if you are that way inclined you can try out the Golf Course in Isafjordur, the swimming pool in Isafjordur is an indoor pool but you will find outdoor pools in neighbouring towns. Well worth a visit and that is one thing that is in-expensive in Iceland.

Oseyri Heritage Museum

Close to Ísafjordur is the town of Bolungarvik only a short drive since they opened a tunnel through the mountain but before you get to the town there is a small maritime museum you simply must see. Ósvor is a replica of an old Icelandic fishing station, from the19th century. On display are a rowing boat, a crew hut with tools and equipment, a salt house and a drying shed, the curator welcomes his guests dressed in a traditional fisherman’s outfit. It is the only museum I know of where you are invited to taste the exhibits. Now that you have scoured the museums it is maybe time to plan your next adventure and my preferred place would be to go to Hornstrandir, click here for a video, but for any adventure you want to make I suggest you pay a visit to Borea Adventure this is a very reputable company that will help you with most things.

Hornstrandir is a nature reserve in the Westfjord, given the isolated location, even for the Westfjords, it makes sense that Hornstrandir has a rich history quite distinct from that of mainland Iceland. Farming was difficult given the region’s terrain and tall cliffs, so early settlers chose fishing and the hunting of birds as their primary lively hood at one time there was

     Hornbjarg

Because Hornstrandir has been devoid of grazing animals for several decades, there are approximately 260 different species of flowering plant and fern that grow in Hornstrandir; many of these are native across the entirety of the Westfjords, others are unique only to the reserve. Not that there are many wild animals in Hornstrandir apart from the Arctic Fox which is a protected species. In 1894 Norwegian raised a Whaling Station in Hesteyri the station was later used for processing Herring.

Another way to enjoy Hornstrandir is with Aurora Arktika this tour operator is slightly different to Borea Adventure in so much that it operates Aurora a former race yacht that has been around the world four times in the Clipper yacht race. With Clipper, she was called Antiope and sailed to Greenland and the North Atlantic a few times under the command of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the founder and main owner of Clipper Ventures. This tour operator does trips to Greenland as well as to Hornstrandir and Jan Mayen but you can see for your self by visiting their Website.

Ammassalik Greenland

Now that you have been to Hornstrandir and hopefully Greenland as well it may be time to return back home but this time we drive the westerly route back to Reykjavik.

Years ago you would have had to cross over the mountains but now that the tunnel is open it is much easier, the tunnel can take you to Sugandafjordur or to Flateyri in Onundafjordur. The village has become a very popular destination for foreign sea anglers. The fjord also offers great opportunities for kayaking. The town has been a trading post since 1792, although its importance as such has decreased over the years. First and foremost, the village was a base for whale and shark operations.

After a short stop you carry on to the next town Thingeyri in Dyrafjordur, Thingeyri provides services to both the local region and visitors alike, There are a number of cafes and restaurants, the most notable of which is Simbahöllin, who specialise in Belgian waffles and run their operation from a renovated 1915 Norwegian home. The old Blacksmith’s Workshop is a must for any visitor to Thingeyri it was founded by Gudmundur J Sigurdsson in 1913, after learning the trade in Denmark. The machine shop was one of the first of its kind in Iceland and leading in the development in the trade. Thingeyri has an indoor heated swimming pool and a very interesting Golf Course. Time to go you have had some waffles and a swim so you are all set to carry on. The next stop is Hrafneyri in Arnafjordur.

The village of Hrafnseyri in Arnafjordur is the birthplace of Jon Sigurdsson who is regarded as Iceland’s champion to the nationalist cause. The small turf farmhouse museum and chapel there are a remake of his childhood home and are dedicated to his memory.

    Jon Sigurdsson Museum

Iceland declared independence from Danish rule in 1944 and National Independence Day is celebrated on June 17th because it is the birthday of Jon Sigurdsson, who was instrumental in Iceland campaign for independence.

In 2011, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Jon’s birth, a new exhibition, “For the Good of the Nation – Jón Sigurðsson 1811-1879”, opened up at Hrafnseyri.

The old turf house on site, which is a copy of the house in which Jón grew up, has been restored and there, visitors can enjoy coffee, cakes and waffles. A special program is always held at Hrafnseyri on June 17, Jón’s birthday and Iceland’s independence day. The museum is very interesting and it gives you a little insight of the battle Icelanders fought with Denmark to gain their independence.

Dynjandi Waterfall

But on we go and the next stop is at Dynjandi one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland it simply is magnificent. You can click here for the Video. Close by is a Hydro Electric Power station. All electricity in Iceland is created from renewable resources. with about 73% coming from hydropower and 27% from geothermal power. From here you carry on over Dynjandis-Heidi to Route 63. You can take a right turn onto route 63 and that will take you to Bíldudalur then on to Patreksfjordur to finish at Latrabjarg. Látrabjarg bird-cliff is the largest sea-bird cliff in Europe The Bjargtangar part of Látrabjarg is the westernmost point of Europe if you skip the mid-Atlantic archipelago of Azores. Látrabjarg is up to 441 meters high and 14 km long.

        Latrabjarg

Látrabjarg is considered to be one of the most spectacular sea-bird cliffs in the world and the bird life here is amazing. Here are literally millions of sea-birds, with the most sought after (photography wise) being the puffin. But you might also see the razor-bill, fulmar, guillemot and many, many other species of sea-birds -10 all in all – nesting and raising their chicks in the cliffs. The views from the top of the cliff are absolutely amazing but beware it could be very cold up there. From here you drive along the coast road until you come to Brjánslaekur from where you can take the car-ferry boat across Breidafjordur to Stykkisholmur.

            Flatey

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 an almost uncountable number of islands but if we would have to guess a number, they would be around 2800. 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. There are a small hotel and cafe on the Island.

The history tells us that the people that lived in Breiðafjörður never had to deal with a shortage of food because of the plentiful 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. 

Flatey is the biggest of the islands in Breiðafjörður. Flatey click here for the Video 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.

Snaefellsjokull Glacier

Next stop Stykkisholmur the largest town on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, on the west of Iceland, where according to Jules Verne’s you find the entrance to the centre of Earth “A Journey to the Centre of Earth (1864).if you have the time it is worth a visit, if not you carry on to Reykjavik to prepare for your flight back home. There are a few things you can try in Reykjavik and it does not cost you an arm and a leg one is to go Swimming in any of the many heated outdoor Swimming-pools, there is also a heated beach you can try, the very last thing you should do is to visit the Blue Lagoon, a short drive from Reykjavik. Click here for the Video.

                          Blue Lagoon

The warm waters in the lagoon are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur, bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every two days. It is the largest in the world. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water pass through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in. I hope you enjoyed this little adventure with me now all you have to do is click here to book your trip to Iceland.

Have a nice time, next time we will go fishing.

SJ

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