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.
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is often referred to as “Iceland In Miniature.” Why? Well, a one-day road trip grants you access to essentially every notorious Icelandic topography in one spot, including a sub-glacial volcano, ancient lava fields, geothermal hot springs, black sand beaches, waterfalls, canyons, and, of course, the Snæfellsjökull glacier. Follow Route 54 to circle around the area, but make sure to check out Stykkishólmur—it’s a gem of a coastal fishing village. You can easily make it there and back again from Reykjavík in twelve hours.
If you turn right just before Borgarnes, you’ll come upon a less-traveled fjord that’s rich with sights. This is Borgarfjörður, a lava land filled with rivers, streams, and some of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls in the country. Don’t miss the powerful Deildartunguhver hot spring, the historical town of the Reykhólt, the impressive Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, the top-notch restaurant at Hotel Húsafell, and, of course, the Langjökull glacier.
If you’re pushed for time, Hvalfjörður will give you the biggest bang for your buck as far as road trips go. There’s the creepy fenced-off whaling station, an abandoned mine, the Glymur waterfall hike, the remains of a British WWII base, and loads more. Plus, it’s only thirty minutes away from Reykjavík.
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.