The Westfjords are Iceland's more remote—and least visited—region, aside from the tough-to-navigate Central Highlands. In this region, you can see a wide variety of wildlife and fauna while also taking in all of the natural sights the country is known for like waterfalls and glaciers.
Ahead, you'll find can't-miss experiences and sights to take in during your next trip to the Westfjords, from kayaking around fjords to visiting a pink sand beach.
Bird Watch at Látrabjarg
Known as one of Europe's largest birding cliffs, Látrabjarg seems too scenic to be real. The area is actually a series of cliffsides measuring 5 miles (8 kilometers) in length. It's also the westernmost point of Europe. During peak nesting season, there are 10 species of birds that call the area home, including the ever-adorable puffins.
The edge of the cliffs can be loose and haphazard, so take care exploring this region.
Photograph Dynjandi Waterfall
Compared to the more powerful waterfalls like Dettifoss or Gullfoss, Dynjandi is peaceful and relatively tranquil—the rowdiest part of this waterfall are the crowds that gather before it. Located a 15-minute walk from the parking lot, this scene is actually a series of waterfalls. There are many smaller falls in the area, but the main attraction is the widest set of falls, which looks similar to a bridal veil.
On the walk to the top of Dynjandi, you will pass a number of other waterfalls. It's worth the small trek!
This requires a bit of planning, but Hornstrandir Nature Preserve is a journey worth making. To get here, you'll have to first get to Ísafjörður and then catch a boat to the reserve. There are two companies offering this ferry service during the summertime: Borea or Sjóferðir. There is no hotel or guesthouse to stay in overnight, but travelers are invited to camp—just make sure to steer clear from the homes in the area, or ask permission to pitch a tent nearby. Here, you'll find more than 250 specific of plants, as well as up to 30 species of birds, and the elusive arctic fox.
During the winter, the nature reserve doesn't see many—if any—visitors, given the unpredictable weather. If you visit in early summer before the ranger pays a visit in May, be on the lookout for polar bears, as they can sometimes float over on pieces of ice from Greenland.
Whale Watch in Hólmavík
Husavik in the northern part of Iceland may be the whale capital of the world, but there are plenty of these majestic mammals to be seen passing by Hólmavik. There are a number of tour operators that will take you out into Steingrímsfjörður Bay during the summer for a chance at spotting a whale (or an entire pod, if you're lucky). Guide to Iceland and LákiTours are two great options for booking whale sightseeing tours.
Walk Along the Pink Sand of Rauðasandur
Iceland's black sand beaches may catch all of the headlines, but Rauðasandur in the Westfjords is far less crowded while still maintaining its otherworldly charm. The beach gets its color from smashed shells, so it can change hues depending on the colors of the scallop shells washing ashore (sometimes it even looks red).
The roads leading to this beach, which stretches 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) from Látrabjarg toward the Skorarhlíðar mountain range, are unpaved and can be tough to navigate. After you drive down the mountain, you'll find a camping site with views of the beach on both sides. To get to the beach, you will have to wade a shallow river. We never said you wouldn't have to work for those views.
Soak in a Natural Hot Spring
You can't visit Iceland and not visit one of the hot springs—lucky for you, there are plenty to choose from in the Westfjords. Make a hot spring bucket list with these sites: Hellulaug, Pollurinn, Krossneslaug, and the Reykjafjardarlaug Hot Pool.
Explore Iceland's Oldest Architecture in Ísafjörður
Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords, is home to some of the oldest buildings in Iceland, dating back to the 17th century. Built by Danish merchants, you can find most of these homes in the lower section of town. Spend an afternoon walking the streets when you need a civilization break from all of the hiking.
Drangajökull is Iceland's northernmost glacier and the country's fifth largest. The glacier is perfect for hiking—if you're inexperienced, take the trail along the eastern side of the mountain. There are a ton of other trails looping around the glacier that were left by the locals who used to live in the area. These trails are a part of the Hornstrandir hiking routes.
You can also hire a guide or join a tour group that will bring you hiking on the glacier. This is an especially smart option during the winter when weather is unpredictable.
Go Sea Angling
Arnarfjörður is a fantastic fishing area in the Westfjords. Here, you can meet up with locals and tour guides who will take you out into the sea for an afternoon of deep-sea fishing. Some tour operators, like Guide to Iceland, even let you dine on your catch from the day's work.
Kayak Among Seals and Puffins
Head to Ísafjörður if you want to spend some quality time taking in the views from the bay. Borea Adventures offers kayaking tours, which can also be combined with biking tours. Their offerings also range from a few hours on the water to a full day adventure.