The Westfjords lie entirely outside of the Ring Road’s island-encompassing loop, making them one of the more remote corners of Iceland. The roads are carved into an endless sequence of vast flat-topped mountains punctuated by tiny towns in narrow fjords, often with great pools and hot pots. At the northern edge lies the wild nature reserve of Hornstrandir, only accessible by boat or on foot. To get away from the bustle of the tourist trail, the Westfjords are always a good bet.
Hafnarstræti 19, Flateyri
Like everything else in the Westfjords, bars have to double up as something else, namely restaurants. That doesn’t stop one, however, from having its clear-cut reputation as the best and liveliest bar in the Westfjords. Vagninn in Flateyri is known second for its excellent and interesting food, live music and rowdy crowd. Combined with a good beer selection, and you can find that sweaty, smiley bar ambience, even in the middle of nowhere.
Hrannargata 2, Ísafjörður
Húsið in Ísafjörður is almost certainly the most-frequented bar in the Westfjords. A café by day, the vibe changes after the kitchen closes, the taps floweth over, and everybody is already drunk. With a lovely big patio and a dark, cavey backroom with TVs showing sports, it is another of the few properly pubby gems of the Westfjords.
“Edinborg” is a large, ornate building that houses a restaurant and bar, and acts as a cultural centre of sorts, with events, exhibitions, and performances. Notable parties in Edinborg’s history include many gigs during Aldrei Fór Ég Suður, and Pallaball with Iceland’s queer pop emperor Páll Óskar—it’s the only disco-party-glimmer of hope in the Westfjords.
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