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.
This was an easy one for the panel. Hotel Djúpavík may be as isolated as possible in the smallest town in Iceland, but its charm is inversely proportional to its population, with the famous herring factory and the remains of a wrecked ship. The hotel has a wrap-around balcony, haunting landscape views and, as one panellist pointed out, its very own waterfall coming down nearby. The interiors, food, and staff are all equally inviting. Utterly silent save for the birds and the rippling water, it’s the ultimate retreat—like a place frozen perfectly in time.
In a beautiful valley near Ísafjörður, Heydalur is much more than just accommodation. A guesthouse, campsite, restaurant, swimming pool, greenhouse, farm, and recreation centre all run by a lovable matriarch with seemingly infinite energy. In addition to being a base for hiking, kayaking, hot-potting and other outdoor activities, they also offer horses for riding, their own dogs for petting, and even a fox who hangs around with guests on occasion.
For thrifty readers, we’re gonna shout out to the many beautiful campsites around the Westfjords. You have to pay, but they’ll be cheaper and probably much nicer than many campsites abroad. Most have showers, and some have a kitchenette so you can cook all the pasta you can eat in order to save up to gorge yourself at Tjöruhúsið. We recommend Reykjanes for its beautiful pool, Þingeyraroddi for its cute little gazebo, and Melanes for its private waterfall.
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.