Located at the western tip of the Westfjords, Látrabjarg is a must for any visitor to Iceland's western fjords.
Látrabjarg is a cape with cliffs extending over 14 km of coastline, the highest point reaching 444 m. In addition to being the westernmost point of Europe, Látrabjarg is especially famous for the millions of birds that populate its cliffs in summer.
This ecosystem is home to the largest puffin colony in the world, with no less than 6 million individuals. Learn more about puffins in Iceland.
Puffins in Látrabjarg: Galyna Andrushko @fotolia
If you could choose only one bird photography spot to visit in Iceland, it would definitely be Latrabjarg.
Lovers of animal photography, or animals in general, are in for a treat in Látrabjarg. In addition to the exceptional view from the top of these cliffs and the panoramas of the fjords, these birds are not shy at all and will pose curiously a few meters from the photographer (see photo above).
Torda penguins, gulls, fulmars, kittiwakes, Arctic terns, murres and of course the 6 million Atlantic puffins are the actual inhabitants of these cliffs. So be sure to show resect so as not to disturb them. In summer, the birds are simply all over the place in Látrabjarg, especially puffins, so you're guaranteed to see them.
Walking along the edge, visitors may even see seals basking on the rocks at the foot of the cliffs.
The sheer cliff faces are impressive in themselves, so be extremely careful not to get too close to the edge, especially as the cliffs are often wet and slippery. There is very little signage or safety features along the edge, this is a wild place, so be smart about it.
Peace and quiet reign supreme here, and the location at the very tip of the Northwest Fjords creates this sense of total isolation. Only the sounds of birds and the wind break the silence, a rather unique sensation that can also be found at the tip of the Melrakasletta peninsula.
The Latrabjarg cliffs are undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Westfjords.
Látrabjarg Cliffs: Michael Blum @Unsplash
From the Bjartangar car park, you can take a magnificent 1-2H walk along the cliff, but be sure to pack a good windbreaker as the area is very exposed.
In the car park, the dire warning signs are displayed alongside info boards about the history and local fauna of these tall cliffs. The edges of the cliffs are basically always wet and often slippery, so don't get too close.
A trail provides access to the cliff's edge in a few minutes from the car park. The contrast between the blue of the Arctic Ocean and the green meadows that border the cliffs is superb. The cliff rock is black and grey but so full of birds it is simply awash in white.
As this is a very popular nesting ground, it is common to see a few polar foxes hunting nearby, but don't worry, they are more afraid of you than you of them.
There really isn't much on site so you don't go there expecting to find a restaurant with a view. Látrabjarg is a wind-swept cliff where only wild birds live, so just connect with nature!
Road 62, a dirt road but in good condition, branches off to the southern tip via the 612 to travel about forty kilometers before reaching the famous cliffs in the south-western part of these fjords
Road 612 is a windy scenic drive along the fjords that is truly breathtaking, right in the middle of Skápadalur Bay. The 612 unlike the 62 is not in very good condition, and though it's not a trail reserved for 4x4 vehicles, you will be much more comfortable if you have one, especially on the last stretch of the road to the car park.
Very close to exit onto the 612, don't miss on the shipwreck that can ve visited, a fishing boat that ran aground 1981 named Gardar BA 64. This attraction is a hit with photographers.
And Road 612 will also take you to the magnificent Raudisandur beach with its golden colors that contrast with the rest of the fjords. With a bit of luck, you may even encounter seals lounging on the beach.
The cliffs of Látrabjarg: TTstudio @fotolia