The west of Iceland begins just outside Greater Reykjavík’s northern city limits. From undulating fjords and stretches of idyllic farmland to the rolling fields of Borgarfjörður, to the geothermally active Snæfellsnes peninsula, the Langjökull glacier, and the sprawling Kalmanstunga lava field, it’s an area that contains all the diversity of Iceland. Each region is rich with small towns, tucked-away pools, remote glaciers and historic sites. It’s a wonderful part of Iceland, and we’ve distilled some of the must-see places for you here.
Arnarstapi to Hellnar
This leisurely coastal walk takes you past lava fields and ocean outlooks on the southern shore of the peninsula. Surrounded by basalt columns, and ravines, the old path meanders around fishermen relics and through nests with enough seabird eggs to make a large omelette. The hike is great for birdwatching—you’ll glimpse kittiwakes, Arctic terns and fulmars. It could take an hour, or you could lounge to the sound of the waves on the pier. Take your time, and make sure to grab a coffee and cake at Fjöruhusið before or after your journey.
The Holy Mountain of Helgafell was long-thought to be a gateway to the afterlife—a place so sacred that visiting it respectfully could grant you three wishes. While we can’t promise you’ll receive your heart’s desire, we can assure you that the summit will supply a breathtaking vista of Stykkishólmur and Breiðafjörður bay. The jaunt takes a max of fifteen minutes. “It’s a beautiful place,” one panel member says before pausing. “And I did get my wishes.”
According to folk tales, Ok was one of the breasts of a giantess that turned into stone, the other being Skjaldbreiður. The former-glacier-now-mountain sits at 1200m—the hike is about 10-15km and relatively easy. “It’s a nice but comfortable hike up the glacier that was,” said one panel member.
More Best Of Iceland Awards
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Iceland 2018 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Iceland—here, posted worldwide. We also have a Special Offer double-pack that also includes our Best Of Reykjavík magazine, about places to eat, see, swim, visit, and shop in the country’s capital city, here.