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.
Between Dýrafjörður and Arnarfjörður there is a range of mountains known as the “Alps of the Westfjords,” because they are pointy, unlike most of the other glacier-scraped, flat-topped mountains of the region. Don’t worry, it’s not because they come anywhere close in elevation. Kaldbakur is their highest point (and the highest in the Westfjords) at 1167 metres. Described as “half-hike, half-scramble” by one panellist, this hike is no joke, so plan accordingly. You feel like the Westfjords are yours.
If you want something much easier with an equivalently triumphant feel, try Djúpavíkurhringur. This two-hour loop begins and ends in Djúpavík. It’s a fairly easy for travellers of all abilities. With views out to the Arctic Ocean, and you’ll even see bits of Hornstrandir in the distance.
This accessible hike is possibly the most popular in the Westfjords. Just across the fjord from the town of Ísafjörður there is a giant crater-like bowl sunk into the top of the mountain. It is officially called Naustahvilft but is better known by its colloquial name “The Troll Seat,” because it looks as if a gigantic butt sat on the mountaintop.
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