Tonight we are staying in Patreksfjörður, the biggest town in the southern part of the Westfjords, with a population of around 660 people. The Westfjords region is a large peninsula that is located in the far NW corner of Iceland. It lies on the Denmark Strait, facing the east coast of Greenland and is connected to the rest of Iceland by only a 7 kilometre wide isthmus. This area is much less travelled than most other corners of the country, due to its vastness and distance from the ‘must-see’ destinations on the Ring Road. The guide books tell me that this is one of the country’s most spectacular and awe-inspiring regions.
We left our hotel this morning in fine weather, which persisted for most of the day. We asked for advice about which way we should drive around the peninsula on which we were staying last night at Fellsströnd and decided to go around the northern coast on about 50 km of gravel road. It was a little slow but it turned out to be a good decision as it presented us with some stunning views of Breidafjördur Bay.
It was clearly good farming country. Farmers were very busy raking and baling hay.
We stopped for coffee at a little hotel where we also picked up some sandwiches for lunch. Our drive was very interesting with rolling hills along the fjords. Little houses appeared here and there along with the occasional church. Some of the road was gravel, but it changed back to a bitumen road after about 80 kilometres. The settlements here are small and sparse, and there is not much between them except untouched landscapes and dramatic geological features.
The Westfjords are very mountainous. The coastline is heavily indented by dozens of fjords surrounded by steep hills. These indentations make roads very circuitous. We could look across the fjord and see the road on which we would eventually travel, but it took many kilometres of driving to get to it. Many of these roads are closed by ice and snow for several months of the year.
At Flókalundu, we debated as to whether we would follow a dirt road to see the waterfall at Dynjand. This meant travelling another 20 kms (each way) on a gravel road. We decided to give it a go as long as the road wasn’t too rough. As it turned out, this was the highlight of our day.
The road took us across an alpine area about 200 metres above sea level. The environment was stark with rocky outcrops, small alpine lakes, beautiful waterfalls and some magnificent scenery. It took us over an hour to get to the waterfall, mostly because a stunning view came along after every corner that we turned. (it took a lot less to get back again as by then we had photographed everything in sight).
Eventually, we came across the waterfall which is at the head of a fjord. Dynjandi (also known as Fjallfoss) is a series of waterfalls located in the middle of the Westfjords. The waterfalls cascades some 90-100 metres – looking exactly like a beautiful bridal veil . On top it is 30 metres wide and it widens to about 60 metres at the bottom.
We saw a few drops of rain when we started to head back to Flókalundu and by the time we reached the main road it was raining lightly and continuously. This really didn’t matter as we only had about 50 kms to go until we reached our night’s destination at Patreksfjörður and we had already had a very good day.
2 thoughts on “Iceland’s West Fjords”
well ,you are being very philosophical about rain and other hold-ups and certainly getting some great shots.
Just get home safely. JnD
What a day! Beautiful photos. Hope your knees stood up to all the ‘getting out of the car’ to take photos Bruce. Which brings me to the question of how is your back coping Jill?
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