In centuries past, Bíldudalur was a centre of trade and fishing in the Westfjords. It still has a working fishing harbour today, but many of the 200 townsfolk are employed at a factory that processes Hafkalk, a mineral-rich algae that’s pumped from the sea floor of Arnarfjörður and used as a dietary supplement. It’s a pretty place to visit, and its situated within easy reach of the region’s most notable sites.
Stay: Harbour Inn Guesthouse
The main guesthouse of Bíldudalur couldn’t be better situated. It’s on the town’s main strip, right next to the local store and restaurant, and a few minutes’ walk away from all of the local amenities. It’s clean and basic, with a view over the harbour, making it a perfect base for exploring the area.
Visit: Museum of Sea Monsters
The fjord of Arnafjörður is famous for sightings of mysterious sea creatures, with many fanged, tentacled, beasts being reportedly spotted over the centuries. The Bíldudalur sea monster museum is dedicated to bringing these local superstitions to life through various vivid eye-witness descriptions and sculptural imaginings of creatures like the Merhorse and the Shell Monster. Keep your eyes on the seas while you travel the region and see if you can add to their cryptozoology vault.
Eat: Siggi Ben
The storied building that houses Siggi Ben has been many things during its lifetime. Today, it’s a quaint local convenience store that doubles as a bar and diner. You can get some fresh fish ‘n’ chips, burgers or local lamb, and wash them down with a pint of Gúll in the dining room, or if the weather is nice, on the sun terrace that overlooks the town’s harbour.
Drive: Samúel Jónsson Museum & Selárdalur
Where the paved Route 63 ends, an unpaved gravel track of Route 643 to the remote, barely populated area of Selárdalur begins. It’s a spectacular drive, passing huge mountains, ruined farmhouses and white sand beaches along the way. When you finally trundle into Selárdalur, you’ll find a true Icelandic oddity: the Samuel Jónsson Museum. This local man decided to spontaneously start creating colourful sculptures in his retirement, and they stand outside his former home today.
Bathe: Reykjafjörður in Arnafjörður
Located on Route 63, a few kilometres after Bíldudalur’s airstrip, this geothermal pool is right in the nook of Arnafjorður. It feels like the middle of absolutely nowhere, and other than a couple of farmhouses you’ll probably have the entire fjord to yourself. There’s a swimming pool with changing rooms and up a nearby muddy pathway you’ll find a grassy geothermal pond that’s the source of the hot water: sink into the shallow, sandy pool and you’ll find it’s the perfect bathing temperature, with a view that can’t be beat.
Must-See Spot: Dynjandi
Sometimes referred to as “the pearl of the Westfjords,” the most-visited spot in this area is Dynjandi, a huge 330-foot waterfall that comes crashing down over several layers on its way to ground level. You’ll have to cross a rough mountain road to get there, but it’s absolutely worth it. Dynjandi is a majestic sight, and there’s a reason 200,000 visitors a year make their way to this protected natural monument.
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