West Fjords & Snaefellsnes
Experience the dramatic West Fjords and the wonderfully beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula. This is a journey that takes you to places far from the highways, to a dramatic and clear fjord landscape, to black lava beaches, volcanic craters and the mythical glacier Snaefellsjokull. You drive along roads leading between fishing villages, geothermal areas and sites of historical interest.
Departures: 15th of May - 9th of September; daily.
Direct flights from Belfast (BHD), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR), London Luton (LTN), Glasgow (GLA) and Manchester (MAN). Connecting flights from other airports in the UK also available.
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Arrive in Iceland
Today the adventure begins! You land at Keflavík International Airport after a short flight from Scandinavia. At the airport you pick up your rental car and start your journey through Iceland’s rugged and powerful landscapes.
Start by following Route 41 directly to Reykjavík, or turn off a few miles from the airport to visit the world-famous Blue Lagoon with its turquoise geothermal outdoor pools. The water gets its heat from underground sources as far as 2,000 meters below ground. Swim around in the steaming water at a temperature of 36-39 degrees, try a beneficial face mask, or have a drink in the Lagoon bar and enjoy this oasis in the middle of the lowlands. Note that entry to Blue Lagoon must be pre-booked in good time.
Stop in Reykjavík for something to eat and drink at one of the city's many cafes, or continue straight to road 1 towards Borgarnes. Drive through the Hvalfjörður tunnel, which runs under the fjord Hvalfjörður and continue all the way to the small village of Borgarnes.
If you have time over today, there are plenty of interesting destinations in Borgarnes. One suggestion is to visit The Settlement Center, a museum that excitingly tells about Iceland's first settler and the vikings Egill Skallagrimsson.
Discover natural phenomena and fishing villages in Snaefellsnes
Today you will drive from Borgarnes to Snæfellsnes. Take road 54 which runs north-west towards the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Halfway to Snæfellsnes you can make a detour from the main road to the crater Eldborg, and a few kilometers further ahead lies the basalt formations of Gerðuberg. They form an impressive wall of geometric shapes in the midst of the rugged landscape, and are well worth a visit.
Snæfellsnes is perhaps best known for its glacier Snaefellsjökull, which dominates the landscape. When you drive out on the peninsula itself, there are many exciting stops to choose from. Make a stop in the village of Búðir, which used to be an important trading venue, but today is best known for its old wooden church, surrounded by lava fields. A bit further out on the peninsula you will find the picturesque fishing village of Arnarstapi, where nature created a perfect harbor for the fishing boats. Then go to the tip of the peninsula, park the car, and take a walk along the Djúpalónssandur and its black lava beaches.
As you then drive on to the northern part of the peninsula, you pass a number of fishing villages which have become iconic for this part of Iceland. If you want to experience more of the history of the site, we recommend a stop in the village of Hellissandur, where you can visit a shipping museum which, among other things, exhibits Iceland's oldest preserved rowing boat from 1826. The area between Hellissandur and nearby Rif is a perfect place for those who want to search for birds - terns especially like to build their nests here. You spend the night in the northern part of Snæfellsnes.
Incredible views from Latrabjarg
Today you take a ferry from the town of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the majestic cliffs Látrabjarg. The ferry Baldur travels across the fjord Breiðafjörður, about a three-hour trip that passes a number of small islands along the way. When the ferry makes land, you have arrived in the area of the West Fjords (Vestfirðir), which is famous for its rugged landscape with many deep fjords. The goal for today is to take you to Látrabjarg, northern Europe's longest bird mountain. You get there by driving across the sandy heath of Kleifaheidi and continuing towards Patreksfjörður. A winding dirt road leads the last part of the journey down to the sea.
When you step out of the car at Látrabjarg, the view is magnificent. The high cliffs drop away dramatically into the Atlantic, which reaches out across the horizon. Take plenty of time to walk around the area, and climb higher up the mountain for an even more magnificent view. Do not be surprised if you encounter the puffins - they feel at home in the area and make great additions to pictures of the view from the rocks (just do not go too close to the edge, it can be unstable).
Along the road between Látrabjarg and Patreksfjörður you can stop at the museum Hnjótur in Orlygshofn. The museum houses artefacts and stories about seafood, fishing and everyday life in the West Fjords for centuries. In the evening you stay near Patreksfjörður or Látrabjarg.
Extraordinary landscape and the magnificent Dynjandi waterfall
Continue through the rugged, beautiful environment of the West Fjords to take you from Látrabjarg to Ísafjörður. The landscape here is something extraordinary - high mountains, flat heaths and deep mountain walls down towards the waters of the fjords. Admire the 100 meter high waterfall Dynjandi which lies along the road at Arnarfjörður. On the other side of the fjord you will find Hrafnseyri, the farm where Jón Sigurdsson was born. Sigurdsson led the struggle for Iceland's independence in the 19th century, and on the farm there is a museum dedicated to him, which is worth a visit, as well as a traditional Icelandic rural church.
The road takes you onwards to one of the oldest settlements in the area of the West Fjords: Þingeyri. From there you continue to Isafjordur and the accommodation where you will spend the night.
Drive alogside fjords and visit a museum of witchcraft
Today you continue the journey along the West Fjords from Ísafjörður to the village of Búðardalur. Ísafjörður is an area consisting of a number of smaller fjords along which the coastal road runs. Here you will experience the Icelandic nature up close, as you travel along the coastline up and down the fjords. Then you turn off to cross Steingrímsfjardarheidi and reach Hólmavík, the largest resort in the coastal area.
In Hólmavík you can visit the Witchcraft Museum, which brings its visitors into the dark world of black magic. Here you can read exciting stories about Icelandic witches and the witch hunting that took place on the island in the 17th century.
You continue from Hólmavík, across Tröllatunguheidi and finally towards Búðardalur where you spend the night.
Visit the grave of Erik the Red and experience Thingvellir National Park
You will experience several classic sights during today's drive, which takes you from Búðardalur to Selfoss. Start by driving into Haukadalur, where you then turn off and drive along the lake Haukavatn to the unique Viking island Eiríksstaðir. Here the Icelanders have built up a typical Viking environment in the place where Erik the Red had his farmhouse. Learn more about the Viking ways of living and discover their craft skills with the help of guides dressed as vikings.
When you continue the journey along route 60 you will then have the opportunity to see one of Iceland's many craters: Grábrók crater. Another few stops on the way are the hot spring Deildartunguhver, the waterfall Hraunfossar, and the village Reykholt.
From Reykholt you drive about one and a half hours to finally reach the national park Þingvellir. Here you can wander around and admire lava formations, vegetation and not least the ravine Almannagjá – “parliament ravine”. The name comes from the belief that the world's first parliament, Alþingi, held their meetings there. The ravine has arisen as a result of the fact that the Eurasian and American continental plates, which meet under Iceland, have slipped apart and created a gap. Perhaps the more adventurous travelers will take the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Silfra quarry, which is located between the continental plates.
You continue to Laugarvatn / Selfoss for the night’s accommodation.
Witness geysers and waterfalls
Today again you will experience some of Iceland's most famous sights, as you travel from Laugarvatn / Selfoss and further back to Reykjavík. The first stop you make today will be at the Geysir geothermal area, where there are plenty of underground hot springs. The most active geyser, Strokkur, has an eruption up to every five minutes, so there are plenty of opportunities to see the water cascades thrown up twenty-something meters into the sky. The muddy ground underneath your feet gives the feeling of walking directly above the forces of nature - in some places you can actually see and feel the mud bubble beneath the soles of your shoes.
A few miles from Geysir you will find Gullfoss, the “golden waterfall”. It is the river Hvitá that extends off a cliff and falls in stages down to the ground, and it is an impressive sight (not to mention the overwhelming din of the waterfall).
As you approach Reykjavík, you can explore the historically and religiously important town of Skálholt, which was Iceland's first bishop's seat until the year 1106. Today there is a modern church built in the 1950s. From Skálholt you drive via Hveragerði to Reykjavík and your accommodation for the night. If you have any free time, we recommend a visit to one of the traditional Icelandic restaurants in town. Please inquire about tips and help booking a table.
After spending the last night of the trip in Reykjavík, it is now time for the journey home. A week's adventure on western Iceland has given you new memories to take home: exciting natural phenomena, historical sites and fascinating scenery that have hopefully given you a better picture of Iceland.
When it's time to fly home, drive the car back to Keflavik Airport, drop it off and check in to return home.
Toyota Yaris Sedan
Skoda Octavia Sedan
Skoda Octavia Station Wagon
Dacia Duster 4WD
Toyota Land Cruiser GX 4WD
You can choose between two different types of accommodation on this trip. If you book two or more rooms then they will all need to be of the same type.