Tucked away in the southernmost region of the Westfjords lies Patreksfjörður, a peaceful fishing town of around 700 inhabitants. It’s a great hub for exploring the lower reaches of the Westfjords, sitting conveniently close to the towering Látrabjarg bird cliffs that mark the wind-whipped westernmost point of the European continent.
Stay: Fosshótel Westfjords
The Fosshotel chain has reliably comfortable hotels dotted all around Iceland, and the Westfjords branch is no exception. The rooms are crisply decorated, with soft beds and windows looking out over the water. The bar has a happy hour from 5-7pm every day, and the restaurant serves tasty meals at night and a sumptuous buffet breakfast.
Visit: Húsið Creative Space
The recently-opened Húsið creative space is a boon for Patreksfjorður, hosting a monthly exhibition programme with accompanying artist talks. They also sell local handicrafts, Reykjavík Roasters coffee, and an assortment of interesting posters and design objects. If you fall in love with the town and decide to move to Patreksfjörður, you could also hire a desk in the coworking space on the second floor.
Swim: Patreksfjörður Pool
Patreksfjörður’s municipal pool is one of the most picturesque in Iceland. It has transparent wind barriers that afford views out over the fjord to the towering mountains opposite. The hot pots are temperate at 40° and 42°, and there’s a shallow kids pool if you want to luxuriate in some rare summer sun. If you want something a bit wilder, keep a lookout on the drive into town: there are some signposted geothermal hot pots along Route 60.
Eat: Heimsendi & Stúkuhúsið
Other than Fosshotel, there are two restaurants in town: the cosy harbourside Heimsendir, which serves local delights like goose, duck, meat, cod cheeks and even a vegan quinoa option, and the diner-ish Stúkúhúsið, which serves sandwiches and cakes by day, and a choice of fish or lamb with vegetables by night.
Visit: Minjasafn Egils Ólafssonar
As you trundle out towards Látrabjarg to spot some puffins, you’ll pass this curious-looking museum. Inside there’s a treasure trove of local history curated by the late Egill Ólafsson, a local man and avid collector of everything from seal hunting blades to boats, antique prosthetics and fishing equipment, and even two spindles from the Viking era. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the hardships of Westfjordian life over the centuries.
On the south side of the peninsula lies Rauðisandur, a long beach of deep, reddish sand. Over a rough mountain trail, the widescreen view is something to see. In the summer, there’s a café and campsite, and accessible hiking trails around the surrounding mountains; in winter, however, the treacherous road is best avoided.
The final stop is Látrabjarg. At the westernmost point of Iceland, the landmass ends dramatically, with high, tilted spikes of turf leaning away from the sea, creating an 11km stretch of dizzyingly high cliffs. Looking down to the churning ocean, you’ll see that the rocks are alive with seabirds, from common gulls to razorbills, oystercatchers, and puffins, who visit en masse to nest during the summer months each year.