Are you looking for the best things to do in westfjords Iceland? Look no further. We have you covered on what to see and do including all the best westfjords attractions.
A vacation to Iceland is a dream trip, but there are a few things to know before visiting the westfjords. Iceland is a land of fire and ice jam packed with beautiful landscapes. Travelers come from all over to experience Iceland’s geothermal hot springs, walk beside incredible basalt cliffs, witness the power of the giant roaring waterfalls, and chase the magical aurora lights.
A visit to the Westfjords is no different. Incredible scenery will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale world altogether. Small fishing villages are sparse and far in-between the rural westfjords. Home to more cute Icelandic sheep than people, the westfjords of Iceland are known for gorgeous sheer cliffs and their winding roads along the sea.
The westfjords contain some of Iceland’s best attractions. Even though the attractions take some driving to get to, the westfjords are totally worth the visit. You’ll be able to see the famous Dynjandi waterfall, soak in the Krosslaug hot springs, visit moss covered viking settlements, and have close encounters with animals like arctic foxes and puffins.
While we don’t suggest visiting the Westfjord attractions as days trip from Reykjavik, planning a few days to explore the winding roads and small fishing villages is something we highly recommend. With so much to choose from, you will need a good guide full of information of just what to see in the Westfjords. Here you will find all the best things to do in the Westfjords and more!
15 Best Things To Do In The Westfjords Iceland You Shouldn’t Miss
One of the best things to do in the Westfjords is visit Látrabjarg, Europe’s western most point. Látrabjarg offers endless views of the ocean at the heights of tall sea cliffs. The edge europe has no human residents, only wildlife. Go to see Iceland’s western most lighthouse, Bjargtangar. For years Bjargtangar has stood safekeeping the rocky Atlantic shores and freezing waters.
One of the best parts about Látrabjarg is that it is home to a lot of puffins. Like, a lot. Puffins are small penguin-colored birds with brilliantly colored beaks. The color of their beaks come to life in the spring and summer, but fade to gray in winter. Puffins love to burrow their nests in rocky cliffs which is why Látrabjarg is the best place to catch them.
When visiting Látrabjarg, make sure to be respectful of the wildlife. Remember that it is their home first and foremost. Approaching the puffins up close might disturb them; However it also brings you closer to the cliff edge which may not be stable due to their burrowed nests. Be careful! That being said, a visit to see the puffins at Látrabjarg is a clear winner for a must-do westfjord attraction. We recommend a visit anywhere from early May until late August.
If you are traveling toward Látrabjarg from Patreksfjörður, make a stop to see Garðar Ba64. Its a known Icelandic Ghost ship and is the oldest steel ship in Iceland. Currently rusted, the Garðar is another cool westfjords attractions that Iceland has to offer.
The Red Beach of Rauðasandur
The red beaches of Rauðasandur are one of the best things to see in the westfjords Iceland road trip. Don’t let the name fool you though because at Rauðasandur beach, the sands are always changing hue. Here, the volcanic black sands of Iceland’s iconic beaches turn to red, gold, and sometimes even gray.
The fine sands on Rauðasandur come from pulverized scallop shells. Due to this, the sands are able to produce a beautiful phenomena of changing colors. Reflective properties of the scallop shells allow the light to boast many different colors depending on weather conditions. Colors such as red, white, yellow, and even gray sometimes can be photographed on picturesque Rauðasandur beach.
For the best experience at this unique beach, go on a dry day so that the red sands are brought to life. Another great tip for visiting Rauðasandur is to time the visit during a low tide. During the summertime you may even be able to catch some seals sunbathing on the beaches.
Be aware, the road to get here is very steep and is unpaved. Use cation as you drive. The gravel road is steep and very winding, so be careful. No worries though; if the drive makes you uncomfortable, you can always take a tour from Westfjord Adventures or other local guided tours.
The Rauðasandur Church is a westfjord attraction worth the visit. Most churches in Iceland are colorful and adorned with extravagant trim, though a few are different. As one of the few black churches in Iceland, Rauðasandur church stands out among the rest.
Unlike the Budir Church, Rauðasandur Church is not 100% black. Instead, Rauðasandur Church has a red roof and white trim around the edges. Hints of color makes this black Icelandic church entirely unique!
Enjoy the church as a piece of a larger trip to the westfjords of Iceland. Rauðasandur church lies right next to the picturesque changing sands of Rauðasandur beach. Google Maps simply calls this spot “old church with the adjacent graveyard”. To visit the church, just put the name of the town ‘Rauðasandur’, into the gps and follow the route. You can’t miss it. Enjoy!
When we say that Dynjandi is worth the visit, we mean it. Possibly the most magnificent waterfall in all of Iceland, Dynjandi is one of the most famous westfjords attractions. The best part of Dynjandi isn’t just the waterfall, its the full 360 degree view here.
Standing next to Dynjandi will make you feel small. This gorgeous waterfall is absolutely gigantic and grows in size and branches into ”smaller” waterfalls as it stretches toward the sea. This massive waterfall cascades 300 feet (100 meters) below and is nearly 100 feet (30 meters)across at the top which then spreads to 200 feet (60 meters) at the bottom.
Once you visit Dynjandi, you too will see why it is one of the best Iceland waterfalls of all time. Dynjandi stands as a natural and protected monument, so just be sure to stay on marked paths when you visit. It takes a short trek to get up close to Dynjandi’s main waterfall. This small hike will lead to the perfect place for pictures. Because drones are strictly prohibited here, make sure to bring a good handheld camera.
Another great part about a visit to Dynjandi is the breath taking views of Arnarfjörður and Dynjandisvogur bay. Arnarfjörður is the second largest fjord of the westfjords and the area is notorious for the lore of sea monsters lurking in the nearby waters. Check out Skrímslasetur, the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum in nearby Bíldudalur village for stories, lore, and visual displays.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
For some of the best hiking in the westfjords Iceland, take a tour to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. As remote of an attraction as you can get, Hornstrandir cannot be accessed by vehicle. Although you can’t drive to Hornstrandir, anyone seeking to visit the reserve must board a 3 hour boat ride from Isafjordur to get there. Hornstrandir is the ultimate westfjords attraction for those looking to hike, explore, or camp.
Hornstrandir has no roads, permanent dwellings, or shops. This is because no one actually permanently inhabits the reserve. That is no humans at least. Instead, Honstrandir has bountiful arctic foxes. The nature reserve also has many types of flowering plants, some unique only to the area which is why this is a must-see westfjord attraction.
Though a day tour can be arranged with a proper tour company, we suggest experienced hikers to stay for the full over-night experience. Camp among the most remote and wild parts of Iceland. Spend a few days exploring tundra landscapes, cliffs, curious foxes, flowering fields, and ice. For the best experience, plan a trip to Hornstrandir sometime between May and August. Will it be cold? Check out our Iceland weather break down by the month.
Þingeyri Viking Village
One of the fun things to do in the westfjords with kids is to go on an excursion to the Þingeyri Viking Village. Established in 1734 as a trading post, the now village ranks among some of the oldest buildings in Iceland.
Although Þingeyri is a relatively small village, there is much to do and see there. A great local museum documents viking history in Þingeyri. During the visit make a stop to check out the local church designed by Iceland’s first state architect. After checking out some of the oldest buildings in the country, ride horseback to the lonely lighthouse of Svalvogar. For more good fun with friends and family, take a ride on the viking longboat replica for possible whale watching.
Experience the Icelandic waters from a seat in the Vésteinn, a viking longboat. Replicated in 2008, the boat was contructed in the home of one of the early Icelandic settlers, Gísli Súrsson. This tour is truly an experience. While learning how to navigate the sea like a true viking, listen to the legends and lore of early viking settlers from great tour guides.
Drangsnes Hot Pots
The peaceful drive through the westfjords should include a visit to the Drangsnes Hot Pots. Notably one of the unique hot springs of Iceland, the Drangsnes Hot Pots sit on the shoreline of Drangsnes’ colorful fishing village.
A trip to the hot pots is one of the best things to do in the westfjords with the whole family. Drangsnes Hot Pots, or the Goldilocks Pools, are a total of three hot pots each of which a different temperature. Select from a range of comfy, hot, and very hot waters. There is something for everyone at these westfjord hot springs.
The best part about the Drangsnes Hot Pots hands down has to be meeting the locals and sharing drinks and stories. Go to this awesome hot spring for beautiful scenery and a relaxing soak, but also enjoy the local company.
The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft
While on a road trip to the westfjords Iceland, make a stop to visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft. This is the place to check out Iceland’s history with witchcraft including exclusive displays such as the famous Necropants. With a focus on depicting the esoteric and elaborate spells and rituals of the land, the museum will give you a vivid look into the lives of past Icelandic sorcerers.
Exhibits at the Museum of Witchcraft are displayed in haunting detail. Life size exhibits have zombies crawling from the floor. Other exhibits include conjured magical creatures such as the ‘tilberi’, or milk sucking demons that were once used to steal goat’s milk. The most unique and haunting exhibit is the Necropants display. These flesh pants fashioned from real human skin for a spell that was to generate wealth to the wearer.
Tucked away in Hólmavík, you can find the Museum of Witchcraft near Drangsnes hot pots. The museum won’t take too long to visit and is a great stop for Icelandic magic and treats from their cafe. You can even take home magical stave merch from their gift store! This museum is truly one of Iceland’s unique attractions.
For more awesome hot springs in Iceland, check out Hellulaug Pool of the westfjords. Sitting on the edge of a seaside cliff, the Hellulaug Pools give one of the most stunning views. To visit, make your way to the western town of Flókalundur. Just walk 500 meters from the hotel in Flokalundur and take a dip in the wild hot spring.
The Hellulaug Pool is a small and shallow pool with stunning views of the westfjords. We think the Hellulaug Pool is totally worth the visit and is definitely one of the best things to do in the westfjords.
When going to a wild Icelandic hot spring, the key is to be respectful to the locals who maintain it. Be sure to pack up whatever you bring and leave no trash behind. With everyone’s help we can keep this spot beautiful for anyone to enjoy for years to come.
A pro tip when visiting Hellulaug Pool is to change in the car before walking down to the spring. Because this is a wild hot spring, there are no facilities for changing.
Hörgshlíðarlaug in the Westfjords
If you are searching for the best hot springs in Iceland, make the visit to Hörgshlíðarlaug in the westfjords. This is one of the most special hot springs that we have visited. It is located on private property, so just be sure to politely ask for permission to enter. Icelanders are super friendly so don’t be shy!
This unique spring is fed by two hot water sources as well as one cold water source. Hörgshlíðarlaug hot spring is a concrete pool about 7 x 20 feet in perimeter and 2.5 feet deep. Sometimes the water can be very hot here, so use caution as you enter the relaxing hot spring. Also note that there is a small shed beside the pool that serves as a changing room. However, you could change in your car before walking out.
Found just off the shore of the fjord, this cozy gem is surrounded by dramatic landscapes of the westfjords. Hörgshlíðarlaug is one of the best places to visit in the westfjords.
Krosslaug Hot Springs
The Krosslaug Hot Springs are worth the visit. While out driving toward things to do in the westfjords, make a stop to soak in the waters. The Krosslaug Hot Springs are not to be confused with the Krosslaug Hot Pot which is actually much closer to Reykjavik.
Krosslaug Hot Springs are a true hidden gem. Not many people know about this place in the westfjords of Iceland. There are two pools to choose from. One concrete pool 13 x 43 feet was built for locals’ swimming lessons in 1948. The other pool is a smaller natural pool by the seashore.
Taking a dip in the hot springs at Krosslaug is one of the best things to do in the westfjords because the views are unbeatable. Surrounded by brilliantly contrasting vistas as you soak is truly incredible. On a clear day you can even catch a glimpse Snæfellsjökull National Parks in Iceland which sits at the other end of Breiðarfjörður bay. On a good day 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano Snæfellsjökull might be even be showing.
Arctic Fox Center
Another one of the awesome things to do in the westfjords is to visit the Arctic Fox Center. You can have close encounters with fox pups near Sudavik in the westfjords. The Arctic Fox Center is the best place to see the cute, curious foxes of Iceland.
Foxes are the only native terrestrial mammal in Iceland. At the center researchers study native foxes, take care of orphan rescue pups and give visitors a close encounter with the resident foxes.
Not only is this a great nonprofit research facility, but there is a great cafe here for weary travelers too! After a great day with foxes, head to the cafe for freshly baked Icelandic goods including cookies, cakes, and coffee. Fill up on their hearty veggie meals and plokkfiskur fish stew too!
The best time to plan a visit is sometime between May and October. For information about the weather during these months, check out a break down of Iceland weather by month. Then, you’ll be prepared for whatever the trip may bring.
Litlibaer in Skotufjordur
Take the family to one of the best westfjord attractions, Litlibaer in Skotufjordur. Litlibaer, or ’small farm’, is a cool historical turf house farm stead built in 1895.
The small farm house once used to hold two families, with a total of 22 people sharing the house in 1910. These cute turf houses used to be much more popular in Iceland, though many have now vanished. To preserve Iceland’s history the National Museum of Iceland rebuilt the farmstead of 1895. Today it stands as a cute turf house cafe and museum located right beside.
After a long winding stretch of road driving through the sea cliffs of the Westfjords, its likely that coffee and refreshments will be in order. Luckily this sweet little cafe is known for its fluffy and delicious waffles.
Valagil Waterfall Hike
For other awesome hikes in the westfjords Iceland, try out the Valagil Waterfall hike that is just south of Súðavík. This short trek is packed with beauty. You’ll walk past a valley with dozens of waterfalls, some of which are very large. Valagil waterfall is hidden all the way up until you get right up in front of it, so just keep walking until you can see it. Just a 2-3 hour round trip, hiking in the westfjords is easy enough and well worth the effort.
Taking a 4WD tour to Svalvogar Circle, is one of the fun things to do in the westfjords of Iceland. Driving yourself should not be attempted as this road is known to have some of the most dangerous road construction in Iceland; However, an Icelandic guide can traverse the road for you and the family.
Driving on Svalvogar Circle is quite the adventure. The road was once carved by a local named Kjaran who spent his spare time carving the road with a small bulldozer called Teskeiðin, or the Teaspoon. His tight gravel track gave a single lane passage around the beautiful mountains lovingly referred to as the Westfjord Alps. Svalvogar Circle skirts along the foot of Kaldabkur, the highest mountain in the westfjords.
The tour has great sightseeing along the way and is one of the most adventurous things to do in the westfjords. The tour guide will cross into Arnarfjörður before low tide comes then navigate you safely through the sheer cliffside of Kjaran’s Avenue. Svalvogar Circle includes cool sights like an abandoned farm, the Svalvogaviti lighthouse, multicolored seacliffs, and Kögurvík cove.
Great Icelandic tours can be found locally in Patreksfjörður. Westfjord Adventures offers safe and knowledgable tours into one of the best places to visit in the westfjords, the Westfjord Alps.
There is so much to plan before taking a trip to Iceland, but we have a ton of great Iceland travel tips to help you prepare. Is Iceland cold? We have the answer for you down to the month. We also have suggestions for how to plan which vehicle you should to take to visit the westfjords of Iceland.
Use this guide filled with things to do in the westfjords of Iceland to help you to plan the best trip ever. With awesome westfjord attractions like unique black churches, red sands of Rauðasandur beach, and the museum of witchcraft, you won’t want to miss a single spot. Take the long peaceful drive into the westfjords of Iceland and discover puffins and arctic foxes along the way. When you get ready for a stop, take a dip in the relaxing Iceland hot springs or grab yummy treats from a local cafe. Whatever you do, enjoy your trip to the fullest!