Iceland might not be the worst place in the world to be stuck in. In the wintertime (admittedly sort of a long time period, stretching from October to late May, there isn’t much real spring anyway) Reykjavík is a pretty decent place, at least if you’re interested in culture, teeming music life of all possible sorts, the arts scene is pretty good, excellent restaurants (way better than you’d expect in a remote place like Iceland) and the night life, starting just before midnight or so is definitely alive.
In the summertime you want the boondocks though. My family’s absolutely favourite boondocks are the West Fjords. With a base in Núpur, Dýrafjörður there’s some awesome nature and other attractions close by.
I quite like the large shadow bird:
Fairly far from the beaten path, there aren’t tons of tourists around. Yet. There’s a prize-winning little botanical garden, Skrúður, over 100 years old right in Núpur. (The XXIV International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens 2013) In place also a beach, a river, a fjord view, a few mountains and hills, variously difficult to climb. Don’t expect to be able to take a bath in river or sea. Cold!
Sunsets are amazing. No filters!
In Þingeyri, Dýrafjörður (opposite side of the fjord) is a really nice little café, Simbahöllin. Worth a visit and a really light Belgian waffle and a cappuccino:
Only a few kilometres out the fjord and over a heath (mind your car, the road is unpaved) is an out-of-this-world place, Ingjaldssandur, with very few inhabitants, as far as I know only one farm currently lived in all year round. Again, very few tourists and easy to imagine you’re all alone in the world.
A bit to the south (an hour’s drive or so – a mountain road and driving around another fjord) is, in my humble opinion, Iceland’s fairest waterfall, Fjallfoss or Dynjandi. A big waterfall up top with 6 smaller ones below. Easy walk up by the waterfalls. A must-walk if there ever was one.
Next fjord to the north from Dýrafjörður, Önundarfjörður has kayaking, on a still day (early morning and late night are best for the sea to be still like a mirror) can easily be the highlight of your whole Iceland trip.
Ísafjörður, the biggest town in the West Fjords has totally nice attractions too. A bit more tourists though not too crowded. The restaurant Tjöruhúsið, in the very end of the narrow town just might be Iceland’s best restaurant. It’s evening menu only consists of an all-you-can-eat fish buffet and despite having lived most of my life in Iceland and to have had some excellent and fresh fish all the time the dishes on the buffet are to die for. I almost cried when I couldn’t get one more bite down. Don’t. Miss. It!
Sailed from Ísafjörður to Grunnavík, this little guy took a ride on the boat with us:
Last but not least, Látrabjarg. A sheer drop of about 100-400 metres straight down, puffins jumping up and down from the edge and you can almost pet them on site. Be careful not to fall down though!
This is of course not all the West Fjords have to offer. I haven’t even mentioned Hornbjarg, the northwesternmost point, Strandir region with the magic touch, Bíldudalur in its amazing location. Next time I hope to visit some of those places. Until then!