The Westfjords of Iceland

Nordical Travel, last updated: July 20, 2021

The Westfjords of Iceland is considered to be the most incredibly beautiful region of this already exquisite island.

Ísafjörður is the “Capital of the West” is the main hub here, but the Westfjords are not without their fair share of tiny fishing villages, such as Bolungarvík, Patreksfjörður, and Bílduldalur, where you can find the Sea Monster Museum.

Birds and Foxes

The jewel in the crown of the Westfjords has to go to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This is a nature lover’s paradise, and this is also where you will find the arctic fox, the only mammal native to Iceland, dwelling here in its largest numbers.

As the reserve is protected, this means that the fox is not hunted. In fact, because there is no hunting in the area, this means that these foxes have learned that they have little to fear from humans, and it is not unusual for these curious creatures to say hello and investigate what you are doing. It is possible to take photography expeditions and enjoy seeing them in their natural habitat.

Hornstrandir offers a hiker’s dream, where you can walk for days and hardly see another living soul. The area is completely uninhabited, and accommodation and campsites along the trail are very basic, but if you want a true taste of the wild, then Hornstrandir takes some beating.

The Westfords is also where you will find the Látrabjarg promontory, the largest bird cliff in Europe. It is truly astonishing the number of birds who gather here. Their position on the cliff means that the foxes cannot get to them, so it’s a pretty stress-free life for our feathered friends here.

Not far from Látrabjarg is Rauðisandur “The Red Beach” which is as the name suggests. The beach stretches around 10 km and the color of the beach changes depending on the time of day and the light conditions.

This area is accessible by car, whether it be driving to Ísafjörður, or taking the ferry from Stykkishólmur to Brjánslækur. It is also possible to fly to Ísafjörður and Bíldudalur. Hornstrandir nature reserve is accessible by boat from Ísafjörður or Bolungarvík.

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