About Vestfjarðaleiðin

ICELAND’S NEW TOURING ROUTE

Look at a map of Iceland and you will see a hand that stretches out from the North West towards Greenland. That’s the Westfjords. Vestfjarðaleiðin is the spectacular driving route that navigates a grand 950 km circle around the edges of this breathtaking peninsula, twisting and turning along fingers of land and occasional mountain passes, revealing grand vistas which take your breath away.

Vestfjarðaleiðin #TheWestfjordsWay is a new project developed by Visit Westfjords and Visit West Iceland inspired by the popularity of touring routes around the world. It brings together the best the area has to offer into a new experience for visitors who want to discover the real Iceland away from the crowds further south, to spend time exploring the landscape, nature and the way of life.

Vestfjarðaleiðin (Icelandic for TheWestfjordsWay and pronounced ‘Vest-fyar-tha-lay-thin’) is a dramatic driving route which makes for a memorable road trip. It is real driving experience, twisting and turning, occasionally along gravel roads and through tunnels, giving visitors the freedom to choose where to stop and explore – at viewpoints, mountain tops, beaches or headlands.

Visitors can wander round the traditional towns and villages that punctuate the route, stay in understated hotels and unpretentious family run guest houses, eat some of the best fish and wild-roaming lamb anyone will ever taste, and share the Icelander’s love of coffee and cake at cafés and bakeries that pop-up just when you least expect them.

Vestfjarðaleiðin is immense and immersive. The visitor is surrounded by the elements – water most of all – sea, rivers, waterfalls, hot pools and of course rain. You can see, feel and taste the weather all around you. Your eye can discern an infinite palette of blues in the sea, sky and mountains. You can get close to the wildlife – whales, seals, puffins and other seabirds abound. And most of all you are drawn into the character and charm of the place through its people - natural storytellers who are willing to share their sagas, myths and very personal stories of their place, their history and their lives.

Vestfjarðaleiðin #TheWestfjordsWay is truly unforgettable. At any time of year.

For people who are keen to discover new places and get off the beaten track, the route can be followed independently through self-drive or in small groups. This is about slow tourism based on sustainable experiences sharing the way of life of people who have lived here for generations. Vestfjarðaleiðin offers eight types of experience to help visitors explore the route:

 

  1. Drive Highlights Stopping points, viewpoints and diversions; locations where the views are impressive and the driving experience is boast-worthy. Examples include: the pass between Hrafnseyri and Þingeyri; the road around Klofningur; Arnarneshamar Tunnel; and the Neshringur loop

  2. Quirky experiences. Unique and unexpected places, museums, eating places, attractions and places to stay. Examples include: Samúel Jónsson Sculptures; Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft; The Old Book Store; The Sea Monster Museum.

  3. Tours to iconic sites, remote hot pools and places to savour the northern lights. Best experienced with qualified guides. Examples include: Hornstrandir Nature Reserve; Látrabjarg Cliff; Rauðasandur with its seals and beach pods; Hvammsfjörður; Hvítanes Seal colony.

  4. Getting wet. Hot pools, beaches, waterfalls, kayaking, whale watching. Examples include: hot pools Guðrúnarlaug and Hellulaug; Dynjandi Waterfall; boat tours to watch the whales and cliff birds; kayaking in Ögur and Ísafjörður.

  5. Taking the air. Head up towards the sky to viewpoints, mountain passes, hiking routes/ tours and winter skiing. Examples include: Bolafjall; Kleifabúi statue at Kleifaheiði Pass; Dynjandi waterfall; the experience of flying into Ísafjörður; winter skiing; having a guide take you into the wild; hiking up to the Trolls seat, Naustahvilft or hike the old road to Bolungarvík.

  6. Stories. The sagas, longhouses, museums and events. Examples include: Hnjótur Museum; Heydalur Guesthouse; Eiríksstaðir Viking Museum; Eldsmiðjan Iron making; Ósvör Maritime Museum; Jón Sigurðsson Museum.

  7. Taste the place. The best eating places, coffee stops, excellent restaurants serving local produce and farm shops. Examples include: Erpsstaðir Dairy; Fisherman, Suðureyri; Tjöruhúsið; Restaurant Galdur; Sætt og Salt; Dokkan Brugghús; cafes such as Kaffi Sól, Litlibær, Simbahöllin; as well as Saltverk and Norðursalt.

  8. Instagrammable icons. Evocative and emotive places, views and experiences that capture the essence of Vestfjarðaleiðin. Examples include: the aircraft at Hnjótur; Garðar BA64 Steel Ship; the red roofed A-frame sheep hut in Arnarfjörður; Puffins, Whales, Seals and Arctic