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TOP 10 WEST ICELAND

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TOP 10 WEST ICELAND

In this list we will show you part of what West Iceland has to offer, but of course West Iceland has many other highlights to be explored.

 

Into the glacier
The ice tunnel and the caves are located high on Europe‘s second largest glacier, Langjökull. You will get an amazing opportunity to explore the glacier and see it from the inside. The Ice cave will open June 1. 2015. This is once in a lifetime experience where you will be taken to the hidden beautiful ice.

Glymur, Iceland's highest waterfall 
Glymur is Iceland’s tallest waterfall. The waterfall is located in Botnsdalur valley, Hvalfjörður. Leading up to it is a fabulous hiking path that should only be attempted by those not daunted by heights or challenging hikes. Expect to spend some 3-4 hours of hiking. Note it can be really difficult to hike in the winter.

Hallmundarhraun, includes the longest and the largest caves in Iceland.
Hallmundarhraun, a lava field was formed in a giant eruption close to the Langjökull glacier around the year 930 and is 8-9 cubic kilometres. Hallmundarhraun includes three caves Surtshellir/ Stefánshellir, they are together 3500 meters, longest lava cave in Iceland. Viðgelmir is a lava tube cave and is the largest of all lava caves in Iceland. The tubes volume is well over 150,000 cubic meters.

Akranes' Lighthouses; one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the world!
If you are into photography or just interested in exploring new things in Iceland, you need to visit the lighthouses in Akranes. Down by the harbour you will notice the two lighthouses. The bigger one is currently in use and is open to the public. So you can go up and enjoy the view from there. There is even a photography exhibition to enjoy in there.

Breiðafjörður with its amazing nature and uncountable islands
Breiðarfjörður has around 3,000 islands, islets and skerries. One of them is Flatey, an island which is really worth visiting. Several geothermal sites can be found like the beautiful basalt columns.
Breiðarfjörður contains about half of Iceland's intertidal area and the tides can be up to six meters. There are around 50 breeding bird species including Common Shag, Glaucous Gull, White-tailed Eagle, Common Eider, Black Guillemot and Grey Phalarope. The area is important staging area for the Brent goose and the Red Knot. The Common Seal and the Grey Seal have their main haul-out on the islands and the skerries. 

Deildartunguhver is the highest flow hot spring in Europe!
Deildartunguhver is Europe's most powerful hot spring. It provides 180 l/sec of 100°C hot water.
Most of the water is used for central heating in the towns of Borgarnes and Akranes and it is taken from Deildartunguhver. The hot water pipeline to Akranes is 64 km long, the longest in Iceland and the water is about 78 - 80 degrees when it reaches Akranes. If you take a shower anywhere within a 65 km radius of the spring, you have already bathed in the hot water from this powerful spring!

Reykholt; home of The Prose Edda, the bible of Norse mythology. 
The Prose Edda is the most renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source for Norse mythology. Prose Edda is written by Snorri Sturluson, a 13th-century author and politician who lived on a farm in Reykholt. The Prose Edda is proved to be among the most influential of all myths and legends, inspiring diverse modern works, from Wagner's Ring Cycle to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
In Reykholt you will find the museum Snorrastofa which is founded in the memory of Snorri Sturluson.

Eiríksstaðir; birthplace of Leif the Lucky!
Eiríksstaðir is one of most historic sides of Iceland. Step back to the Viking Era and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of Eiríkur the Red's farm which is also the birthplace of Leif the Lucky who is said to have discovered North America. Modern day Vikings demonstrate the lifestyle of 1000 years ago, sharing their crafts and knowledge.

The Lava Field Waterfall is a must see.
Hraunfossar are a series of waterfalls formed by a rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters out of the Hallmundarhraun. The waterfalls come from an underground fresh water river and goes down the Hraunfossar and into the white river Hvítá.


Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland!
Kirkjufell (463m) is a beautifully shaped and a symmetric, free standing mountain.  Its name, which means 'Church Mountain', it probably got because of its shape, reminding of a church tower. Standing next to the Kirkjufellsfoss, you get a great view off the mountain and a perfect shot for your photo.

Snæfellsjökull, the Center of the Earth!
The Snæfellsjökull glacier is 1446m above sea level. The glacier is an active volcano, having been built up through numerous eruptions during the last 800,000 years. Many believe the glacier to be one of the seven main energy centres of the earth and its mystique is noticed by many. The glacier plays big role as the Center of the Earth in the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne. Snæfellsjökull is a part of the Snæfellsjökull National Park which was established on June 28, 2001. The Park's purpose is to protect and conserve the areas; the unique landscape, indigenous plants and the animal life as well as important historical relics. At the same time, the Park is meant to allow visitors easier access as well as improved opportunities to get to know the area. 

 

 

Akranes lighthouse -West Iceland

Akranes lighthouse -West Iceland

Eirik the Red´s homestead.

One of most historic sides of Iceland. Step back to the Viking Era and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of Eriks the Red's farm which is also the birthplace of Leif the Lucky who is said to have discovered America. Modern day vikings demonstrate the lifestyle of 1000 years ago, sharing their crafts and knowledge.

Breidafjordur

Breiðafjörður is a large shallow bay, about 50 km wide and 125 km long and located in the west of Iceland. It separates the region of the Westfjords (Vestfirðir) from the rest of the country. Breiðafjörður is encircled by mountains, including glacier Snæfellsjökull the Snæfellsnes peninsula on the south side and the West Fjord peninsula to the north. Another interesting feature of the bay is that the northern tip was formed about 15 million years ago, whereas the southern end at Snæfellsnes was formed less than half that time ago.

Lava Waterfalls

Hraunfossar - Lava Falls - are beautiful and unusual natural phenomena. Clear, cold springs of subterranean water seep through the lava and run as tiny waterfalls and rapids into the Hvita River.

Hraunfossar have been protected since 1987.

There is a viewpoint at the car park offering an amazing view over the Lava Falls and Hvita River.

A coffee shop at the waterfalls is open during the summer months.

Kirkjufell mountain

Grundarfjörður's beautiful landmark is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its isolated position jutting out into the sea makes it a focal point for tourists and seamen alike. Surrounded by beaches, Kirkjufell has a lovely walking trail around it as well as a more challenging climb up to the top where bird and fish fossils can be found (guide is recommended).

Glymur

Iceland's tallest waterfall, is located in Botnsdalur valley, Hvalfjörður. Leading up to it is a fabulous hiking path that should only be attempted by those not daunted by heights or challenging hikes. Glymur is in the river Botnsá that runs out of Hvalvatn, which is a lake closed by molten lava, some 160 metres deep. In Hvalfjordur in West Iceland you can stand in awe before Iceland's highest waterfall. Standing by the fall you'll have a good view of the surrounding landcape, which is is particularly attractive, as Hvalfjordur is widely considered one of Iceland's most beautiful fjords.The walk, approximately 4 hours roundtrip, will take you from the trailhead at Botnsa river through spectacular scenery including a rock arch and will have you crossing a crystal clear river on a strategically placed log.

Reykholt

Reykholt is one of Iceland's most notable historical sites. It houses a cultural centre and a church.

Reykhholt is most famous for being the home of Iceland's best-known author Snorri Sturluson during the years 1206-1241. An ancient geothermally-heated pool, Snorralaug, is named after him. It is one of the few things preserved whole from Iceland´s medieval period.

Snorrastofa is a cultural centre and institute for research in medieval studies. Snorrastofa offers historical exhibitions and guided tours and lectures. Music recitals are held in the church of Reykholt.

Visit Reykholts website www.snorrastofa.is

There is one hotel in Reykholt see more here.

Snaefellsjokull glacier

The Snæfellsjökull glacier is 1446m above sea level. The glacier is an active volcano, having been built up through numerous eruptions during the last 800,000 years. Many believe the glacier to be one of the seven main energy centres of the earth and its mystique is noticed by many. The glacier plays big role as the Center of the Earth in the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne. Snæfellsjökull is a part of the Snæfellsjökull National Park which was established on June 28, 2001. The Park's purpose is to protect and conserve the areas unique landscape, indigenous plant and animal life as well as important historical relics. At the same time, the Park is meant to allow visitors easier as well as improved opportunities to get to know the area.

Light house - Akranesviti

If you are into photography or just interested in exploring new things in Iceland you need to look at Akranes lighthouses. Down by the harbour you will notice two lighthouses. The bigger one that is currently in use is open to the public so you can go up and enjoy the view from there and there is even a photography exhibition to enjoy in there.

hallmundarhraun lava field

Hallmundarhraun includes the longest and largest caves in Iceland.
Hallmundarhraun lava field was formed in giant eruption close to the Langjökull glacier around the year 930 and is 8-9 cubic kilometers. Hallmundarhraun includes three caves Surtshellir/ Stefánshellir they are together 3500 meters, longest lava cave in Iceland. Viðgelmir lava tube is the largest of all lava caves in Iceland the tubes volume is well over 150,000 cubic meters.

Deildartunguhver thermal spring

Deildartunguhver highest flow hot spring in Europe !
Deildartunguhver is Europe's most powerful hot spring. It provides 180 l/sec of 100°C hot water.
Most of the water used for central heating in the towns of Borgarnes and Akranes is taken from Deildartunguhver. The hot water pipeline to Akranes is 64 km long, the longest in Iceland and the water is about 78 - 80 degrees when it reaches Akranes. If you take a shower anywhere within a 65 km radius of the spring, you have already bathed in the hot water from this powerful spring!

West Iceland

Towns & Villages

The population centres in West Iceland are as varied as they are many. Ten places have over 50 residents and Akranes is the most densely populated with 6,500 inhabitants. 

All of the larger communities put ever-increasing emphasis on dynamic tourism where a wide selection of recreation and services are offered.   

Explore map by categories

Map Hellissandur, Rif Grundarfjörður Stykkishólmur Búðardalur Dalir Arnarstapi Hellnar Snæfellsnes Bifröst Húsafell Reykholt Borgarfjörður Hvanneyri Borgarnes Hvalfjörður Akranes Ólafsvík