Luxury holidays in Westfjords

Talk about roads less travelled, Robert Frost would have a field day in Westfjords, a crowd-free Icelandic corner of untamed natural beauty where dramatic black cliffs slice through miles of mist-filtered light and blankets of snow. This ancient and sparsely populated terrain is inhabited by just over 7,000 people, so it’s easy to go days without seeing another person. What you may see, however, more than compensates; along the otherwordly red sand beaches of Rauðasandur, humpback whales and white-beaked dolphins can be seen taking a splash from the shore, while over in the fishing village of Breiðavík puffins, gannets and razorbills count themselves among the locals. Take a hike through Dynjandi, where the headlining waterfall is a foaming white cascade of fairy-tale proportions that produces a thunderous sound as it comes crashing down from a 100-metre clifftop; get toasty in the geothermal pools of Krossneslaug; visit the unique museum offerings of Ísafjörður; or ramble through the flowering meadows of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve – where the odd Arctic fox may just pass to say hello.

When to go

The weather, much like the land, can be wild here; visit between June and August for more settled climes, when the region experiences almost 24-hour daylight. In winter, there’s a fair-ish chance of glimpsing aurora borealis, though colder months are a touch gloomier.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Most international flights will arrive into Keflavik airport, just south of Reykjavik. From here, it’s a three-hour car ride away from Westfjords. Icelandair also runs a domestic service from Keflavik to Westfjords’ Ísafjörður Airport, taking just under 40 minutes.
  • Automobiles

    Like everything else in the land of fire of ice, driving is a terrain of extremes and Westfjords is no exception. For every perfectly smooth and newly tarmacked road (of which there are many, especially if you’re travelling north of the region) you’ll find a dirt road riddled with potholes – so make sure to rent something on the sturdier side. Come winter, forget driving all together as roads can be treacherous.