Westfjords and What to ExpectPublished: 21. August 2017
So you’re planning your trip to the Westfjords and don’t know where to start your research. Luckily for you, I finally got to see why Westfjords is such a popular region to travel to, in my Happy 1 camper van. I was impressed to say the least. There were so many highlights in my trip including bathing in hot pots, enjoying the vast landscapes, and exploring Ísafjörður. It was also a pleasure to meet some of the friendly locals and learn about the culture and life in such a unique area of Iceland.
Camping was a cinch as there are plenty of campgrounds to choose from, just take a look at our campsite map. But what about other crucial details like what to expect in the Westfjords? Here’s my guide on exactly that so you are prepared for your next adventure!
There are gravel roads, and then there are Westfjords gravel roads! It’s one thing to be driving a gravel road on flat land; however, it’s a whole other beast if you’re driving along the edge of a cliff. Please keep your mind sharp and stay aware. Take breaks at designated parking areas if you need a pit stop.
Besides Ísafjörður and campsites, my experience in this region was one with seclusion and isolation. It was a perfect getaway from the “big city” of Reykjavík or the South Coast where I run into a lot more tourists.
Drastic Landscape Changes
As much as the weather changes, landscapes alter with every turn, making the ride unique. On one hand, you’re driving along the coastline with shimmering sand beaches and on the other hand, you’re high up in the mountains surrounded by rocks upon rocks. In any case, you’ll find there are plenty of sheep along the road to keep things more interesting!
My favourite aspect of the road trip was checking out the local hot pots and swimming pools. I enjoyed Hellalaug in Flókalundur, Pollurinn in Talknafjörður, the three tubs in Drangsnes, and Krossneslaug in Árneshreppur! The former three are free and natural hot springs while the latter was a local swimming pool and cost only 500 kronur. It was a long, treacherous journey to this pool, but well worth it if you want to try something not many others venture off to.
Since Westfjords is comprised of many fjords, there is a lot of driving to do. And I mean a lot! Not only will you be physically exhausted from long rides, your mind tires quickly, too. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. It’s best to have a co-pilot to help with navigation, if not a second driver to take shifts.
When in doubt, fuel up when you see a gas station! There are far and few between, but you’ll find at least one in the main towns. Especially when you’re headed to Látrabjarg, there will be a sign stating there are no gas stations beyond this point. Unfortunately, I was only at half a tank in my Happy 1, so I chose to sacrifice seeing Rauðursandur, simply because I didn’t know if I’d have the fuel for everything!
Just like the lack of gas stations, you are also limited to local markets (except in Ísafjörður). They´re much smaller than chain markets Bónus, Krónan, and Hagkaup, but at least there’s access if you’re desperate to pick something up! My recommendation is to stock up with at least a few days worth in your Happy Campers cooler and pantry so you never go hungry.
Europe’s Westernmost Point
It’s one thing to say Látrabjarg is the westernmost point in Iceland. It’s another to say it’s the westernmost point in Europe! Hike along the edge of the cliffs for incredible views of the North Atlantic and say hello to the visiting puffins that nest there in the summertime.
Another road trip, another waterfall. Dynjandi easily jumped to my top two waterfalls in Iceland when I first laid my eyes on this magnificent cascade of water. You probably think it looks cool in this picture, but trust me it’s even better in person! As I was there at midnight, there were only a couple of other visitors, so I felt like I had the trail all to myself.
Now that I’ve shared my list of what to expect in the Westfjords, are you ready to take the leap and book your Happy Camper? Do you have any tips on what to expect? Leave your note in the comments below!
Until next time, happy travels!
To check out Lea's adventures, follow her on Instagram @coolitchcowski
To read more about Lea's Happy Camper Adventures in Iceland check out these articles:
A Rejuvenating Experience at Myvatn Nature Baths
Happy Camper's Official Packing List for a Great Road Trip
Gentle Giants in Húsavík