The Strandir coast is among the wildest parts of the Westfjörds along with Hornstrandir. From Hólmavík to Krossnes, the population seems to have completely deserted the region, and few tourists come to venture on the dirt road along this coast.
Driftwood from Siberia washes up on the beaches along Route 643, only adding to the mystical charm of this desert region.
This particular coast is also one of Iceland's most well-known regions for a peculiar aspect of history: witchcraft. Local lore includes a number of stories set in this region, some of the more fantastical tales of magic and sorcerers.
Even today, along the road, you may find symbols of witchcraft. In Hólmavík, for example, there is the Museum of Witchcraft, where two big crows greet tourists at the entrance to the exhibit, like a warning of the danger lurking within
The museum is small but fascinating, including scrolls and stories from the past, magical objects used by sorcerers, and more than a few surprises…
Hólmavík and Drangsnes are the two major coastal villages of this area, with the Steingrimsfjördur Fjord between them. Drangsnes is known for its 40° hotpot overlooking the sea and the island of Grimsey.
You can reach the island in just 10 minutes by boat from Drangsnes and admire the incredible avifauna living there: puffins, black murres, fulmars, and Arctic terns make up the community of approximately 75,000 birds on the island. Keep your cameras at the ready!
To the North be sure to stop at Djúpavík, a haunting former fishing town abandoned since the 1950s. Route 643 crosses this huge factory wasteland, famous in particular for hosting the Icelandic band Sigur Ros, who came to play here in 2006. Since then, several film have been shot at this unique location.
And last but not least, a few kilometers north of Norðurfjörður, you will find a stunning outdoor swimming pool. Improbable as it may seem, almost at the tip of the Strandir coast is the Krossneslaug swimming pool, boasting 38 °C water and an astounding view of Húnaflói Bay. Don't forget your bathing trunks!
photo credit Strandir : © icerock - Fotolia.com