Road Trip: Hvalfjörður
A question we often get is: “I’ve a hire car, and a free day—where should I go?” Obvious answers are Snæfellsnes and the south coast. But a less-travelled road is Hvalfjörður. This picturesque fjörd is near Reykjavík, and packed with interesting spots and mysteries. There’s a creepy roped-off whaling station, an abandoned mine, the Glýmur waterfall hike, the remains of a British WWII base, and loads more to discover.
Museum: Petra’s Stone Collection
Located far out in the Eastfjords in the tiny post-industrial town of Stöðvarfjörður, Petra’s Stone Collection is one of Iceland’s hidden gems. Quite literally, in this case—it’s a sprawling collection of huge gemstones, crystals and colourful minerals, collected from the local area by the late and celebrated Ljósbjörg Petra María Sveinsdóttir. You can buy small gems to take away, and see Petra’s living quarters along with glittering quartzes and bright jaspers.
For more intrepid travellers, or those with more than a whistle-stop weekend in Iceland on their hands, the Westman Islands are a dreamy location to visit. You have to take a ferry (or fly) to the only populated island of Heimaey, where you’ll find the Eldfell Volcano Museum, a volcano hike, some beautiful cliffs, and this café. Gott offers hearty and affordable fare, and is a nice place to relax between bouts of exploration.