Tourism has exploded in Iceland for the last few years and the most popular sights are becoming increasingly crowded for the better part of the year. If you want to stray off the beaten path and experience a quieter part of the island, you won’t be let down by the magnificent Westfjords. Easily accessible for the most parts, it is not really understandable why the area is not more popular.
It is not really that far away from the capital Reykjavík, the main town of Ísafjörður is about 455 km distance on paved roads and the sights to behold on the way are numerous and varied. There you can visit Látrabjarg, the westernmost part of Europe, the waterfall Dynjandi which some say is the country’s most beautiful waterfall although it is not the biggest or the tallest. Rauðisandur is a beautiful long beach with red sand. You could also visit Hrafnseyri in Arnarfjörður, the birthplace of Icelandic national hero, Jón Sigurðsson or venture to Selardalur, where local artist Samúel Jónsson constructed naïve sculptures and buildings mostly out of concrete. The place has been going through renovation these last few years and is a fascinating place to visit.
And for the really adventurous, a trip to the nature reserve in Hornstrandir is an unforgettable experience. That takes some planning, though, as the area is only accessible by boat and only inhabited by animals such as the Arctic fox, seals and of course flocks of seabirds.
There are many towns in the Westfjords as well. Ísafjörður is the largest one, a lively place with friendly inhabitants who welcome visitors as do the people in the other towns and villages. Among other towns and villages worthy of a visit are Flateyri, Hólmavík, Patreksfjörður and Bolungarvík, to name a few. Bolafjall, the mountain that looms over the town offers fascinating views and is usually accessible by car in the summertime. On a good day, you might even see all the way over to Greenland, if you are lucky.