The next time you hear someone say that they “really want to get away from it all”, you can now recommend to them the ideal location: Hótel Breiðavík at Látrabjarg. Located on the westernmost point of Europe (although technically on the North American continental plate, we’re not going to get pedantic about it or anything), getting there involves first getting to the Westfjords town of Patreksfjörður, which is in itself an out-of-the-way location, even by Icelandic standards.
From there, your drive will take you from paved roads by the sea to unpaved roads over the mountains, but don’t fear—our Toyota Yaris was able to make the trip without a problem, and as the hotel is only open in the summer anyway, getting there should be a snap for most rental vehicles.
Descending from the Mars terrain of the mountaintops to Látrabjarg was really something. I think I audibly gasped as I saw the view: an idyllic farm by the sea, with a beach of sand-coloured sand (black sand is far more ubiquitous in Iceland, but we would discover that sands a colour most non-Icelanders are used to is a common sight in the Westfjords), surrounded in a semi-circle by steep mountains. Parking and getting out of the car, the sight was accompanied by sound—the faint hiss of waves, sheep bleating, our own footsteps on the gravel driveway, but otherwise, total silence. In addition, it should be noted that there was absolutely no mobile phone reception out here. This was isolation.
Our room had a homey, grandmother’s guest room feel to it, and right outside the window, sheep were grazing (don’t worry; they take them in at night, so you won’t be kept up listening to bleating). For those worried about a complete and total Shining-esque isolation, you can buy access to WiFi for 1.000 ISK per day. Not that you’ll want it—right nearby are some truly stunning cliffs that offer all kinds of birdlife, especially puffins. Watching puffins fly is pretty comical, too, so if the stunning beauty of the locale isn’t enough, the comedy value of the puffins should more than make up for it.
In all, a fantastic place to finish working on that novel, or to otherwise take a break from everyday contact with the rest of the world in an idyllic setting.
Car provided by Hertz car rental. Book car at www.hertz.is