Iceland: Westfjords

The reason I travelled Iceland counterclockwise was a suggestion by Björn back in Reykjavík, as he praised them in highest possible way and not at least for the abundance of natural hot pools. Starting hitchhiking again in Búrðardalur I finally got a lift in a genuine sturdy “Landi” Defender, driven by a french expedition guide – which was quite useful as in Iceland, they don’t seem to bother closing roads for roadworks! Next two nice elderly gents drove me all the way along the great Breðafjörður, over steep mountain passes and up to my first destination…

Arnarfjörður
Reykjafjarðalaug

Reykjafjarðarlaug

… is one of the many natural hot pools and located just at the end of Arnarfjörður, the Fjord where by legend Iceland was given its name by Viking Flóki. You can swim in the ‘cooler’ (still warm) swimming pool or walk up a couple of meters to enjoy the really hot natural pool, just deep enough to sit and soak. Wild camping didn’t seem to bother anyone here so I did, for 2 days, and got joined by a couple of other campers in the evenings.

Látrabjarg

The northwesternmost point not only of Iceland but all Europe is at the end of the great Látrabjarg cliffs, home for various colonies of hundreds and thousands of seabirds, including the famous puffins. When I was there everything was covered in low hanging clouds or fog so the view was limited, but I could get some more shots of the cute birds.

Dynjandi

Some more hitchhiking and camping in Bildudalur and near Þingeyri, both likewise small, cute and typical Icelandic fisher villages along the spectacular roads 60 and 63 favored by motorcyclists.

Bildudalur

I arrived at the most spectacular, magical waterfall of all those which I have yet seen, not only in Iceland: Dynjandi. You can walk up to the foot of the main waterfall and realize all the smaller waterfalls along the way have also their own name tags, and add to the extraordinaryness of this place. Once you reach get close to the main waterfall there’s no escaping its majestic symmetry which made me give it my own nickname: The Stairway to Heaven.

Ísafjörður

The biggest – and only – city of the Westfjords has lots of sites and restaurants to spend the day, but the most important thing about it, from the perspective of us tourists, is that various ferries allow you to get from here to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve which is not accessible by car or any other vehicle and is home to countless bird colonies and the adorable Arctic Foxes.

Just south of the city is an excellent camping ground with a crystal clear creek running through it from a waterfall just a couple of hundred meters away. Weather was perfect so I stayed 2 nights.

Hólmavík

Another rather small fisher village but a very important stop on my journey, here I could finally pick up the mail package sent by my family I so desperately waited for, containing some supplies and most importantly, a replacement for my broken USB Charger. The extra Cigarettes were a nice surprise, thanks Mum!

Borgarnes

The last night in the wild of Iceland I spent near Borgarnes, just walking out of the city and along the fjord coast for a bit, I found a black sand beach nestled in small cliffs, even with a tiny birch forest (mainland folks would call it group of trees) – just perfect for camp! I even found the courage to finally take a dip in the Icelandic North Sea here – only for a couple of seconds though, temperature was arctic! The sun gave a glorious sunset glow over Hafnarfjall on the other side of the fjord.

Time to head back to Reykjavík, meet up with Björn for ice cream and catch the plane to Norway.

It was one month of outdoor experience, meeting the most fun and interesting people, cold rain and hot pool relief, and magical moments all along.

Takk fyrir allt, Ísland!

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