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Akranes - Hvalfjörður Circle

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Akranes - Hvalfjörður Circle

 Hvalfjörður tunnel was built 1998 and now it is really short drive to Akranes. With the tunnel you can drive circle and go Hvalfjörð on good road and enjoy the beautiful landscape. The fishing town of Akranes offers a beach, a beautiful Park and a nice  museum, as well as being home to the nation´s famous football team ÍA. Settled by the Celtic in the year 880, it is now a blossoming industrial town with a focus on fishing and fish production. In Hvalfjörður the visitor will have the opportunity to enjoy Iceland’s highest waterfall, Glymur. The  mountains in Hvalfjörður for example Þyrill, Botnssúlur, Vatnaleið,  Síldarmannagötur and more are trails particularly challenging to hikers.

Akranes

Akranes is the largest town in the west of Iceland. Grate outdoor area is the small forest at Garðalundur and facilities improved for outdoor activities. There is a playground for kids, a beach volleyball court and a grill area. Thermal Pool, Golf Course and the two kinds of beaches, black sand beach and white. Langisandur is white sand beaches which is rare in Iceland. Langisandur is a nice place to take a walk and if you are brave you can go for a swim. Akranes Lighthouse is open for people in summer and you can go up to the top and enjoy the view. Akranes museum area exhibits from former times, bearing witness to farming, housekeeping and social conditions in and around Akranes. Akranes offers good restaurants and accommodation.

Hvalfjörður

In Hvaljörður or "Whale Fjord” you will find spectacular nature and historic sites. The main attraction is in the end of the fjord the highest waterfall in Iceland Glymur. It takes about 4 hours to get to Glymur and back down. Hallgrímskirkja church at Saurbær іs dedicated to Hallgrímur Pétursson most famous poet of Iceland which lived in Hvalfjörður. During World War II, a naval base of the British and American navies could be found in this fjord. One of the piers built by the United States Navy is used today by Hvalur whaling company.

 

Iceland Winter Break, Winter in West Iceland, is a cooperative project in West Iceland, spearheaded by the West Iceland Marketing Office, that aims to show travelers everything the area has to offer during winter.

Akrafjall Mountain

Akrafjall is a picturesque mountain close to Akranes. The mountain offers one of the best views in West Iceland across Faxafloi Bay and a panoramic view from Reykjanes to Snaefellsjokull Glacier.

The mountain was smoothed on the top by a glacier and surrounded by water during the Ice Age.

It is easy to ascend the mountain from the Akranes Water Works car park, where a sign points the way to Haihnukur (555m), the shoulder on the right side of the mountain seen from Akranes. A visitor's book is at the top. A somewhat longer hike takes you to the highest peak in the range, Geirmundartindur (643m).

Garðalundur park

Garðarlundur country park, protected for recreational use and the preservation of the typical landscape of the area. The areas' main characteristics are its rocky islands or bluffs that rise from the areas' vast flat wetlands.

Whale Fjord

Whale Fjord (Hvalfjord) is 30km long and 84m deep.

Whale Fjord was the site of much British and US military activity during World War II. Some ruins from this period can still be seen in the fjord.

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.

Breid

Breið is the west part of Akranes and the location of the fishing history of the town. There are two lighthouses open to the public as well as a view point. . For more information contact Akranes Information Office, tel: +354 433 1065, e-mail info@akranes.is.

Longufjorur Beach

Longufjorur is a light sandy beach on the south shore of Snaefellsnes peninsula. This beach is perfect for horseriding with a guide.

Hallgrim's Church

Church built in 1957 as a tribute to the 17th-century hymn writer Hallgrimur Petursson, one of Iceland's best-loved poets.

Hallgrimur Petursson served at Saurbaer 1651-1669, a poor leprous pastor who composed Iceland's most widely known religious work, 50 Passion Hymns. Reykjavik's Hallgrimskirkja church is also named after him.

Hallgrimur was married to a woman who had been abducted from the Westman Islands by Algerian pirates and bought free again.

The church contains beautiful stained glass work by one of the first widely known Icelandic woman artist Gerdur Helgadóttir.

Staupasteinn

A goblet-shaped rock and popular resting place for tourists. Close to Hvammsvik on the old national road around Whale Fjord.

An elf by the name of Staupa-Steinn has his home in this rock. Not everyone can see him. He is described as having long hair, a beard and being a kind, gentle man who loves to play ball with children who are picnicking in the area.

Beautiful view. Protected since 1974.

Driving in Iceland during the Winter

When driving between regions you will often have to drive through mountain passages or heaths. These are usually the most dangerous part of your way since the weather in the mountains can be much worse than down by the seaside. When you do get into a heavy snow or a snowstorm, try to follow the sticks on the sides of the roads, they will keep you on the road until you get to better driving conditions. If you are caught in an Icelandic storm, the rule number one is never to leave your vehicle.

But what to do when driving on ice/snow and you lose control of the car? As soon as you feel you do not have control of the car, take your foot of the gas pedal. Be sure, whatever you do, not to hit the brakes because it would increase your sliding.

Always check the road conditions

The weather is not always the same and can vary in different regions of Iceland. The west Iceland is usually milder while the north and western fjords get more snow. Here below are good websites to use when travelling in Iceland in the winter. Vedur.is is the official website for weather in Iceland. But it doesn’t always give the right picture. Road.is, is the website for the Icelandic Road Administration,  it is the best website to use if you use it correctly.

How to use Road.is

 

The web page road.is presents overview maps showing road conditions and the current situation for all main roads at a given point. The pages also provide information about the weather and the local traffic and show real-time Webcam images of road conditions. If you are unsure then you can call 1777 and ask for the conditions (open 06:30-22:00) or 1778 an automatic telephone service open all day.

Weather signs 

 

If coming across a weather sign, please read the information given carefully.
Óveður means storm. On the road ahead the weather is very bad and you should avoid driving further if possible. Find a place to rest until the weather clears unless there is an emergency
On the signs you can see the temperature, average wind and the strongest wind.
Lokað means closed. The road ahead is closed and you should not continue. Find a place to rest until the weather clears.
 

If the average wind goes over 20 you should take special precautions.

 

Equipment for winter trips in Iceland

Cars must be fitted with good winter tires. Take along appropriate protective clothing in case your have to wait in the car due to weather or road condition. And of course your phone can be your best friend if you get in to trouble. The emergency number is 112. You should also check out the 112 Emergency App.

F-roads / Mountain roads in Iceland

F-roads are mountain roads in the highland of Iceland. The roads can be closed any time of year, depending on road conditions. We do not recommend driving on F-roads over the wintertime and most of them are closed. Some superjeep companies offer tours over F-Roads in winter but those tours are operated in specialized vehicles by expert guides.

Gas stations in Iceland

Gas stations are all over the country, so no worries. Many of the gas stations around the country are self-service so bring your debit or credit card and make sure you remember the pin number to be able to use it. The website GSM bensín tells you the price of fuel in gas stations around the country.

Speed limits in Iceland.

The general speed limit is 30-50 km/hour in populated areas, 80 km/hour on gravel roads in rural areas and 90 km/hour on paved roads. Drivers and all passengers are required by law to wear seatbelts. Older children must wear seatbelts and younger children and infants must be seated in car-safety seats. If you are caught speeding in Iceland you can expect hefty fines so our advice is to follow the law.

Off road driving is illegal in Iceland!

For more information about traveling safely in Iceland, visit safetravel.is

The Classic Circle - Ice and Lava

The Classical Circle has all of the best Icelandic nature has to offer; lava fields, glaciers, hot springs, volcanoes, waterfalls, rivers and much more. In a single trip you can enjoy the beauty of Þingvellir National Park, have a taste of the barren expanses of the Icelandic interior on Kaldidalur road, get up close and personal with a glacier on Langjökull Glacier and see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country like Glymur in Hvalfjörður an Hraunfossar in Borgarfjörður. Two of the biggest lava caves in Iceland, Surtshellir and Víðgelmir are in the area and so is the most powerful hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver. The area is also the setting of many of the best known Icelandic Sagas, like Egils Saga, and the great poet and scholar Snorri Sturluson wrote his most famous work in Reykholt.

The Classical Circle can be travelled all year round except for Kaldidalur road which is closed during winter. An alternative to Kaldidalur is the Uxarhryggir road.

Nature Highlights

Borgarfjörður

Borgarnes

Akranes

Hvalfjörður

The itinerary

Þingvellir national park

Drive from Reykjavík on road nr.36 to Þingvellir national park. The ,,Althing“ at Þingvellir was Iceland's supreme legislative and judicial authority from its establishment in 930 until 1262. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. At Þingvellir you will find the waterfall Öxarárfoss. After you stop at Þingvellir you take rode 52 to road Uxahryggir if open.

Borgarfjörður

Some of Iceland´s most beautiful nature wonders can be found in Borgarfjörður, Hraunfossar waterfalls “lava falls”, are unique and picturesque waterfalls that come from underneath the edge of a lava field and spill into the glacial river Hvítá. Deildartunguhver is Europe's most powerful hot spring. It provides at the moment 200 l/sec of 100°C hot water. There are two famous caves in Borgarfjörður Víðgelmir and Surtshellir. Much has been written about Surtshellir and it is told that in earlier centuries a group of outlaws lived in the lava tube. Viðgelmir lava tube is the largest of all lava tubes in Iceland. If you are looking for hikes It is nice to take a short hike to the Glanni waterfall and explore the Grábrók Volcanic Crater. Hafnarfjall Mountain is 804 meters and it takes 4 hours to hike up and down. From Hafnarfjall Mountain you have great view over Borgarnes and Borgarfjörð.

Borgarnes

Borgarnes is the centre for trade and services in the Borgarfjörður area and has been so since the late 19th century when the town began to be built. In Borgarnes are tree museums EdduveröldSettlement center and Borgarfjörður museumBorgarnes thermal pool is nice place to visit all year. In Borgarnes is an old style playground “Bjössaróló” bult by man that lived in Borgarnes. Bjössaróló is great place to visit for kids. Borgarnes has good accommodation and great places to grab a bite.

Hvalfjörður

In Hvaljörður or ,,whale fjord” you will find spectacular nature and history sites. The main attraction is in the end of the fjord the highest waterfall in Iceland Glymur. It takes about 4 hours to get to Glymur and back down.  Hallgrímskirkja church at Saurbær іs dedicated to Hallgrímur Pétursson most famous poet of Iceland which lived in Hvalfjörður. He is even on the 10.000 krona bill. During World War II, a naval base of the British and American navies could be found in this fjord. One of the piers built by the United States Navy was later used by the Hvalur whaling company.

Akranes

Akranes is the largest town in the west of Iceland. Grate outdoor area is the small forest at Garðalundur and facilities improved for outdoor activities. There is a playground for kids, a beach volleyball court and a grill area. Thermal Pool, Golf Course and the two kinds of beaches, black sand beach and white. Langisandur is white sand beaches which is rear in Iceland. Langisandur is a nice place to take a walk and if you are brave you can go for a swim. Akranes Lighthouse is open for people in summer and you can go up to the top and enjoy the view. Akranes Museum area exhibits from former times, bearing witness to farming, housekeeping and social conditions in and around Akranes. Akranes offers good resturants and accommodation.

Iceland Winter Break, Winter in West Iceland, is a cooperative project in West Iceland, spearheaded by the West Iceland Marketing Office, that aims to show travelers everything the area has to offer during winter.

The Waterfall Circle

One of Iceland’s most popular attractions are waterfalls.

The Waterfall Circle leads you to waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, and some of them are among the best known in the country. Here you can see Iceland’s tallest waterfall Glymur, the unique Hraunfossar (Lava Waterfalls), the legendary Barnafoss (Children´s Waterfall) and many more. The Waterfall Circle also leads you to many of the most beautiful sites of West Iceland, like The Hvalfjörður (Whale Bay), Skorradalur Valley and The Borgarfjörður district.

Hvalfjörður-Borgarfjörður-Borgarnes-Akranes

Waterfalls on this route

The Itinerary

You can follow the itinerary below to visit the most significant waterfalls in the area.

Þingvellir national park

Drive from Reykjavík on road nr.36 to Þingvellir national park. The ,,Althing“ at Þingvellir was Iceland’s supreme legislative and judicial authority from its establishment in 930 until 1262. Major events in the history of Iceland have taken place at Þingvellir and therefore the place is held in high esteem by all Icelanders. At Þingvellir you will find the waterfall Öxarárfoss.

Hvalfjörður

If you have nice weather then you can take road nr. 48 to Hvalfjörður. If you have snow and ice it is better to go back to road.nr 1 and then take road nr. 47 in to Hvalfjörður. During World War II, a naval base of the British and American navies could be found in this fjord. One of the piers built by the United States Navy was later used by the Hvalur, a whaling company. In the end of the fjord you have the highest waterfall in Iceland Glymur. It takes about 4 hours to get to Glymur and back to the car.

Borgarfjörður

When going to Borgarfjörður take road nr. 50 it is gravel road in the beginning so be careful. Some of Iceland´s most beautiful nature wonders can be found in Borgarfjörður. Hraunfossar waterfalls “lava falls”, are unique and picturesque waterfalls that come from underneath the edge of a lava field and spill into the glacial river Hvítá. Deildartunguhver is Europe’s most powerful hot spring. It provides at the moment 200 l/sec of 100°C hot water. There are two famous caves in Borgarfjörður, Víðgelmir and Surtshellir. Much has been written about Surtshellir and it is told that in earlier centuries a group of outlaws lived in the lava tube. Viðgelmir lava tube is the largest of all lava tubes in Iceland. If you are looking for hikes, it is nice to take a short hike to the Glanni waterfall and explore the Grábrók Volcanic Crater. Hafnarfjall Mountain is 804 meters and it takes 4 hours to hike up and down. From Hafnarfjall Mountain you have great view over Borgarnes and Borgarfjörð.

Borgarnes

Borgarnes is the centre for trade and services in the Borgarfjörður area and has been so since the late 19th century when the town began to be built. In Borgarnes, there are three museums; Edduveröld, Settlement Center and Borgarfjörður museum.
Borgarnes thermal pool is nice place to visit all year. In Borgarnes is an old style playground, “Bjössaróló”, built by man that lived in Borgarnes. Bjössaróló is a great place to visit for kids. Borgarnes has good accommodations and great places to grab a bite.

Akranes

Akranes is the largest town in the west of Iceland. Grate outdoor area is the small forest at Garðalundur and facilities improved for outdoor activities. There is a playground for kids, a beach volleyball court and a grill area. Thermal Pool, Golf Course and the two kinds of beaches, black sand beach and white. Langisandur is white sand beaches which is rear in Iceland. Langisandur is a nice place to take a walk and if you are brave, you can go for a swim. The Lighthouse in Akranes is open for people in summer and you can go up to the top and enjoy the view. Akranes Museum area exhibits from former times, bearing witness to farming, housekeeping and social conditions in and around Akranes. Akranes offers good resturants and accommodation.

Iceland Winter Break, Winter in West Iceland, is a cooperative project in West Iceland, spearheaded by the West Iceland Marketing Office, that aims to show travellers everything the area has to offer during winter. 

Activities
Restaurants and cafés Accommodation
Bjarteyjarsandur Bjarteyjarsandur Akranes Hostel
Brilliant tours Ensku Húsin Borgarnes Bed & Breakfast
Culture and craft Galito Ensku Húsin 
Grenigerði Gamla kaupfélagið Fosshótel Reykholt 
Háafell goat farm Hótel Húsafell Hótel Bifröst 
Hespa Hraunsnef  Hotel Glymur 
Into the glacier Iceland guesthouse Hvítá Hotel Hafnarfjall
Ljómalind The settlement centre Hotel Húsafell
Snorrastofa Hotel Glymur  Hraunsnef country hotel
The Settlement centre Icelandair hotel Hamar  Iceland guesthouse Hvítá
Wild West Tours Hótel Bifröst  Icelandair hotel Hamar 
Wool centre Hvanneyri Fosshótel Reykholt   
KNITTING CIRCLE IN WEST ICELAND

West Iceland is the perfect destination for knitting, because of the long-established knitting tradition in the area. This and along with sightseeing in the beautiful nature of West Iceland, is a perfect combination and shows what West Iceland has to offer which will make this trip an unforgettable experience. On a clear winter evening you might also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the magnificent northern lights.

 

Itinerary

Day one: Arrival to Iceland – Transfer to Borgarnes

Pick up at Keflavík Airport in the afternoon and transfer to your guesthouse, Borgarnes B&B. Dinner at the guesthouse upon arrival followed by an introduction meeting with our knitting instructor, Ragga.

Day two: Dyeing Workshop

After breakfast we have our first knitting workshop with Ragga. We have lunch at the guesthouse, before we take off to Hvanneyri village, where we visit botanist and dyer Guðrún Bjarnadóttir at her shop Hespuhúsið. We learn about the coloring of yarn with dye made of Icelandic plants and lichens during a workshop that takes the whole afternoon. Dinner at the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, where we learn about the Icelandic Sagas and settlement of Iceland. 

Day three:  Wool CentreGoats – Farmer’s Market

We continue knitting with Ragga. After lunch we’ll take a sightseeing tour in the Borgarfjörður fjord area, visiting Ullarselið Wool Centre and the Icelandic Goat Centre at the farm Háafell, where we will enjoy coffee and Icelandic pancakes, made of goat milk. Before returning to our guesthouse we visit the Ljómalind farmers market, where local handicrafts are offered and we have the opportunity to taste some products from local farmers. Dinner at the Borgarnes B&B. 

Day four: Spinning Workshop

Today we have a whole day of knitting at the guesthouse. A good guest, Rita from the farm Grenigerði, will be with us today for a spinning workshop, for those who are interested. On our last evening together we have dinner at Edda´s World, where we have the possibility to visit to the exhibition of Norse mythology (optional). At Edda´s World we can also visit some crafters and see them at work in their studios.

Day five: Departure

Transfer to Keflavík airport for departure OR prolong your stay in Reykjavík - Information upon request.

Book now !

Iceland Winter Break, Winter in West Iceland, is a cooperative project in West Iceland, spearheaded by the West Iceland Marketing Office, that aims to show travelers everything the area has to offer during winter. 

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