North West



Patreksfjörður to Arnarfjörður

Date 09 May 2019

Patreksfjörður to Arnarfjörður

Patreksfjörður to Arnarfjörður

Often overlooked by tourists due to its geographical location, the Westfjords region is often a favourite region for visitors who have had the chance to explore it. The Westfjords are undoubtedly one of the wildest and most characteristic areas in Iceland.

Once past the famous Latrabjarg Cliffs, Route 612 takes us to Patreksfjörður, one of the main fishing villages in the Westfjords.

The Arnarfjördur fjord: one of the most beautiful in Iceland


Continuing along Route 63, which runs along the fjords to the north, we found the village of Talknafjordur, close to which (Route 617) there is a natural hotpot called "Pollurinn" by locals. This hot spring is made up of 3 small 40 °C pools, each 2 by 3 meters, surrounded by nature.

The place is particularly popular with visitors because it offers an exceptional view of the Tálknafjörður Fjord. The area also provides cabins for changing and storing clothes, and swimming is free.

Finding Pollurinn is very simple. All you have to do is cross the small village of Talknafjordur and continue on dirt road 617 for about 3.5 km. A sign on the right suggests turning right, and a small car park awaits you after 200 m.

Continuing Route 63 north, we arrived at the fishing village of Bildudalur, which leads to what is probably the most beautiful fjord in Iceland: Arnarfjörður. The fjord is 30 km long and up to 10 km wide in places.

Heading west, a small road, the 619, runs along the entire fjord and offers an incredible scenery in good weather. The turquoise color of the water over the golden sand, with the majestic mountains in the background, truly breathtaking. The 26 km dirt road is, therefore, a pleasure to drive.

At the end of this superb dirt road is Selárdalur, a strange and unique place. This is the house of Samúel Jónsson, nicknamed "the artist with the heart of a child", and dates back to the very beginning of the 20th century.

There is also a small church and some very peculiar sculptures of men and animals. In addition to the mysterious and deserted aspect of the place, hiking enthusiasts will particularly enjoy the walk to Selárdalur and Krossadalur. The route is about 10 km long and offers an unforgettable view of the fjords.

Returning to Road 63, shortly after Bildudalur, we came across a new hotpot at the bottom of the small fjord of Reykjarfjörður: the Reykafjarðarlaug pool. The basin dates from 1975, and the water temperature is around 35 °C.

Waterfalls and museums


Dynjandi photo credit: Fyle @fotolia

Route 60 then descends into Dynjandisfjorður which brings us to the most beautiful and most beautiful waterfall in the Westfjorðs: Dynjandi. The fall flows into Arnarfjörður cascading over 7 levels of which Dynjandi is the biggest fall. At 100 m high, the Dynjandi waterfall, also called Fjallfoss, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Iceland.

Unlike most other waterfalls in Iceland, Dynjandi is wider at the bottom than at the top: 30 m wide at the top, nearly twice as wide (60m) at the bottom.

About fifteen kilometers further on, on Route 60, we arrive at the tiny village of Hrafnseyri, famous for its museum and its peat roof farm where the famous Jón Sigurðsson was born. A true hero in Iceland, he was instrumental in the country's independence and devoted his life to making Iceland an autonomous country. Admission to the museum costs 800 kr.

Overall, the landscape here is very different from the rest of Iceland: the Westfjords are wild, the fishing villages authentic, and the valleys of Ketildalir, and the Kaldbakur mountain in particular, are resplendent in good weather.

It is also not unusual to come across seals basking in the fjord, or even whales if you're lucky. The roads cut along the flank of the Fjord, which makes the driving an attraction in itself, forcing tourists to take more photo breaks to capture the mountains overlooking the fishing villages with their awe-inspiring presence.