West Iceland is one of Iceland's most geologically diverse regions. Its natural wonders are a nearly exhaustive sampling of all that Iceland has to offer, ranging from slumbering volcanos and majestic waterfalls to a variety of flora and wildlife.
West Iceland is a world where culture, nature and history complement each other, creating a unique experience. This vast area consists of fjords, valleys, craters, glaciers and volcanoes. Great hikes are found around Akranes and Hvalfjörður, with the mountain Akrafjall and the highest waterfall in Iceland Glymur less than an hour from Reykjavík. Visit the homestead of medieval writer Snorri Sturluson at Reykholt, and see the man-made geothermal bath in which he must have often allowed his mind to wander. Or learn about the awe-inspiring Viking poet Egill Skalla-Grímsson.
These are only a few examples of the interesting sites that can be found all over West Iceland, where nature is inextricably linked to the story of the people. Just look around, history is everywhere to be discovered. The magnificent landscape and wildlife at Snæfellsjökull National Park, Iceland's only national park that reaches into the sea. The mystical volcano Snæfellsjökull Glacier has inspired artists and poets through the centuries, being one of seven greatest energy centres on Earth. Snæfellsjökull is the setting of Jules Verne's Journey to the center of the Earth.
Snæfellsnes offers beautiful nature and was given the Earth Check award for being a sustainable community in 2008. From Snæfellsnes you can cross over to Dalir, cradle of the great explorers Eirík the Red and his son, Leif the Lucky, the first European to set foot in America. The short distances between popular destinations make it possible to enjoy the area at a comfortable pace all year round, so remember to slow down in West Iceland.
Snæfellsjökull in the setting of Jules Verne’s Journey to the center of the Earth.
Akranes, Borgarnes and Stykkishólmur
Barnafoss Waterfall, Borg, Djúpalónssandur, Eldborg crater, Flatey Island, Glymur Waterfall, Hellnar, Laxness museum, Reykholt, Snæfellsjökull National Park, Akrafjall Mountain, Akranes lighthouse, Hraunfossar, Deildartunguhver, Grábrók Crater, Arnarsstapi, Krikjufell, Guðrúnarlaug, Eiríksstaðir and Djúpalónssandur
Other Regions of Iceland
One of Iceland's best kept secrets is undoubtedly the country's North-West corner, usually known as the Westfjords. Isolation has preserved the region in relatively unspoiled wilderness. Largely uninhabited, the Westfjords are frequently distinguished by travel guides as a destination of excellence, and are a must-see for any serious explorer.
The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar as they are called in Icelandic, have a beautiful and varied landscape, unique flora and are an excellent site for sailing, hunting and birdwatching. Off the south coast of Iceland, Vestmannaeyjar is an archipelago that consists of four small islands and eleven large ones, of which Heimaey is the only one inhabited.