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A Weekend in the Breathtaking Westfjords + Video

Incredible sunset in the Westfjords, Iceland - click for video! | Life With a View

First of all, disclaimer: I haven’t (yet) been everywhere in Iceland, but of the places I have been so far, the Westfjords are hands down my favorite.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and even considering adding the Westfjords to your itinerary, do not think twice, do not pass go or collect $200, just drive your rental car to the Westfjords. You will NOT be disappointed.

A few weekends ago, our amazing friends were here visiting us from the States. We decided we wanted to bring them somewhere we hadn’t been to yet, and since the Westfjords were on my 2016 travel list, it was the perfect weekend destination.

Second note: one weekend is NOT enough time in the Westfjords. We left at 2pm on Friday and with the 6 hour drive to Ísafjörður, we really only had Saturday and half of Sunday to explore before we had to drive 6 hours back. If you really want to make the most of a trip, don’t be a crazy person like us and make it a long weekend at the very least.

Lastly: I loved our Westfjord trip with my whole heart, but we went at a tough time of year. One of the roads we wanted to take was still closed due to snow, and many of the restaurants we heard about are only open seasonally. Check below for the best times to visit.

Here are the highlights from our epic weekend in the Westfjords, and make sure to stick around until the end for the best part!

Westfjords Weekend Guide including best time of year to visit and must see sights! + VIDEO! | Life With a View

The adorable town of Ísafjörður
OMG this place. An old fishing village located on a peninsula in the ocean wedged between two huge mountains in a fjord with bright multi-colored houses, I mean seriously.

The picturesque town of Isafjordur in the Westfjords of Iceland - click for video! | Life With a View

Dynjandi
This is literally the waterfall of all waterfalls. This waterfall is so massive that you can see it from miles away on the drive in. If it seems big in the picture, it’s way bigger in real life. The closer you get to the falls, the more amazing it becomes. It was everything I wanted it to be and more!

Dynjandi - The waterfall of all waterfalls // A weekend in the Westfjords | Life With a View

Hellulaug
This was the best hot spring experience I’ve ever had in Iceland. This naturally heated pool is hidden from the road, tucked away in a secluded little spot by the sea. We were the only ones there, the water temperature was perfect, and the scenery was unbelievable. I know there are a lot of hot pots in the Westfjords, but I can highly recommend this one.
GPS points: N65° 34′ 36.661″ W23° 9′ 48.289″

A photo posted by @lifewithaview15 on

Picnic
If you have ever driven around Iceland you will notice there are SO many place to stop for a picnic! The Westfjords are no exception, and in my opinion, obviously have the best scenery for said picnic. Food + friends + laughter + scenery = the perfect day.

Best picnic spot award! What to do and see in the Westfjords, Iceland + Video! | Life With a View

Driving
Even though there was a LOT of driving involved in this trip I didn’t mind it one bit because the scenery was out of this world. Know that if you are planning to travel around in the Westfjords, be prepared for a lot of windshield time. Also, always keep your camera handy because you WILL want to stop for a lot of photo ops!

Driving through the Westfjords of Iceland is the most picturesque views imaginable! (Weekend itinerary + video!) | Life With a View

Spending time with this girl
Let me tell you, a) having visitors in your new country is the BEST and b) my friends are the best. Kelley and I were insta-friends when we met in Chiropractic school. We have so many memories together and as a fellow midwesterner who also loves the outdoors, we have a lot in common. It was amazing to travel around Iceland together – I don’t think I ever stopped laughing.

Love spending time with friends - visitors are the BEST! // Trip to the Westfjords | Life With a View

Sunset
I’ve seen some amazing sunsets in Iceland but this one has a special place in my heart. As we were driving back to Ísafjörður after a long day of exploring, the sunset was lighting up the sky and the mountains were big and beautiful. When we saw this small beach on the fjord we couldn’t pass it up. I think we all just stood there in awe of the amazing sight.

Incredible sunset in the Westfjords, Iceland - click for video! | Life With a View

Watching my husband swim in the Arctic ocean

The whole weekend Bobby kept talking about how he wanted to swim in the ocean and we all kept saying, “uh-huh, you’re crazy.” But on the drive back to Reykjavik, there was a small sandy beach that was the perfect swimming spot, so he and Derek jumped in! It was so funny to watch, I was cold sitting there wearing my down jacket!When your husband decides to swim in the arctic ocean, you take a video of it! | Life With a View

Dinner at Edinborg Bistro
Since the one restaurant that everyone told us to try was closed for the season, we were happy to have this place as an alternative. I ordered the catch of the day which was presented in a cast iron skillet and was the most delicious tender flaky fish I’ve ever tasted.

Bungalow accommodations
We found the most adorable place to stay that was perfect for the four of us. Located in the picturesque old town, this was a perfect base for the weekend. Comfortable sleeping, full kitchen where we cooked breakfast in the morning, and a great views of the mountains! I highly recommend this place!

 

Here is the map of our journey. If I would have been smart we could have stayed in Ísafjörður for just the first night, and then further south the second night. But I wasn’t smart, and we drove all the way back to Ísafjörður for the second night. Be smarter than me. It takes foreverrr to drive short distances in the Westfjords because you have to cross mountain roads that are crazy steep and winding.

Westfjord road trip itinerary

Best time of year to go:

  • July and August
    • This could be quite debatable – I would be willing to go there any time of the year because it is so incredibly beautiful! But if you want to take full advantage of everything being open and roads not being closed due to snowfall, I recommend mid summer.

Type of vehicle required

  • I wouldn’t say that a 4wd is necessary, but it was so nice to have. There are some mountain passes that are craaaazy narrow and steep – and a lot of them are closed until April, depending on the amount of snowfall. I was never worried about our safety on the roads or getting stuck with our vehicle, and we drove through ALL kinds of conditions – wind, rain, sleet and snow.
  • We saw camper vans driving the same roads and I’ve heard of small cars making the trip, so I know it’s possible, but pleeease be smart and drive very carefully!

Restaurants to try:

  • Tjöruhúsið -Ísafjörður // well known as the best fish restaurant in Iceland – only open on Easter and 12-2pm & 6.30-10pm June-September (really disappointed we were there on the off season.)
  • Gamla Bakaríið -Ísafjörður // supposed to be an amazing bakery, closed on Sundays – the one day we tried to go
  • Simbahollin cafe – Þingeyri // famous for their Belgian waffles with rhubarb jam, we were REALLY sad this was closed for the season (Open May 20 – Jun. 10: 12pm to 6pm, Jun. 11 – Aug. 31: 10am to 10pm, Sept. 1 – Sept. 10: 12pm to 6pm)

More places to add to your itinerary

  • Bolafjall lookout – Bolungarvík // on a clear day you can see Greenland from the top! the road was closed because of snow. We talked to a local that told us the road is only open in July and August – you caaaan hike up to the top in the off season, but plan on multiple hours trudging through snow and make sure you have the proper cold weather gear.
  • Ósvör museum – Bolungarvík // really awesome replica of an old fishing outpost. We went to the town, but were too distraught that the lookout was closed, so we forgot all about it and left.
  • Rauðisandur – red sand beach on the most southern part of the fjords.
  • Patreksfjordur – Oldest steel ship in Iceland
  • Látrabjarg – big rocky cliffs and a common place to see puffins.

One thing is for sure: we WILL be making a return trip. There is much more to see and do, and a short weekend trip just wasn’t enough!

NOW for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…my latest project and the newest addition to Life With a View – VIDEO! I had SO much fun making this and it has been an amazing way to look back at our trip to the Westfjords. I can’t wait to keep this tradition going and share more amazing videos of Iceland with you!

I would encourage all of you who are traveling to Iceland to film your trip, it’s easier than you think! I’d love to see your Iceland videos, share them with me so I can see all of the awesome places you go!

 


 

Question: What do you think of the new video?!

 

 

 

 

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  • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki
    April 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    What a beautiful place! I need to visit! That picture with the waterfall, just gorgeous!

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Thanks! You, miss waterfall lover, will probably die when you see this one!

  • Rosie
    April 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Beautiful photos, it looks like such an amazing place. We’re visiting Iceland in December, so daren’t drive a rental car for the first time in the unpredictable Icelandic winter – but we really want to visit during the summer and explore everywhere.

    Not sure if you know, but I tried to watch the video and got the message “This video contains content from UMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds” so I couldn’t see it 🙁

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 7:54 am

      Thanks, Rosie! December is an awesome time to visit for it’s own reasons 🙂 I think it’s great to see Iceland in both extreme seasons.

      And I added the video to Vimeo which helped those outside of the U.S. play it. Oh, copyright laws!

  • Katie
    April 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    OH. MY. GAWD. 1) you should just call the Lumineers and let them know they’re music video is done for them. 2) wanderlust engaged.

    Such a cool post and the video was amazing. Keep up the amazing work j-dawg.

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Lol, aww thank you dear, you are too sweet! It’s been fun to learn editing, and I LOVE it was a way to remember our trip. I will be on the phone with the Lumineers ASAP 😉

  • Hugo Cura
    April 25, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Love the Westfjords. Spent a couple of days there in the Summer in 2014 and going again for 4 days in June! Praying for the weather to be as nice as it was for you.

    Unfortunately, I won’t make it to Hornstrandir this time (I blame the boat schedule!), so I have a another reason to go back 🙂

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 7:56 am

      We did get really lucky with the weather! The day we arrived was really overcast, which gives it a whole different feel. How awesome that you get to go back for a second time! Looking forward to your posts about it 🙂

  • Van (@snowintromso)
    April 25, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    I LOOOOOOOOOVE your pictures and the video!! These shots are just amazing and make me want to stay in Iceland for a year to explore everything 😀 Keep up the good work!!

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 7:57 am

      Right?! I am so glad to live here so I can explore all of these beautiful areas, there is so much to see! Thank you dear 🙂

  • Bryan
    April 25, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Well, now I’m even more impatient for my trip.

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Haha, mission accomplished 🙂 So excited for you and your ambitious itinerary…You are going to LOVE Iceland!

  • Sarah
    April 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Love the video!!! Such a great idea, can’t wait to see the next one 🙂

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Thanks so much, Sarah!

  • Amberley
    April 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I loved the video- I think the Lumineers would love it too!
    You have given me so many great ideas for our trip in October. Keep on traveling, so I can live vicariously through you.

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Amberly! So happy to help with your Iceland planning…I’ll keep the adventures coming for ya 🙂

  • Rachel
    April 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    This looks amazing! I’d definitely want to build in a stop if/when I visit Iceland!

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Yes, the Westfjords will now be my number one recommendation!

  • Kristy
    April 25, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    The pictures and video are absolutely amazing! And the info is also very helpful 🙂
    Great work!

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Thank you, my video sensei 😀

  • Jessa
    December 6, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    This is awesome! We are so excited to go in May. Question-what camera did you use to video this? Thanks!

    • Jeannie
      December 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks Jessa! I have a Sony alpha 6000 and sometimes use an iPhone for video footage 🙂

  • Danielle
    February 16, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I really must go here. After 6 visits, it would def be the perfect choice for next time, unfortunately I don’t know when that will be though 🙁 boo. but ive def been hearing a lot about it lately!

    Vimeo is telling me your video has been removed!

    • Jeannie
      February 23, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Oh wow Danielle, 6 visits?! You are a lucky lady. You DEFINITELY need to get to the westfjords on your next trip, so beautiful and hardly anyone goes there!

      • Danielle
        February 23, 2017 at 10:58 am

        Apart from a week round the ring road back in 2007, it’s only been trips of a few days so I’ve been limited in how far I can venture (length of car hire is a barrier as solo traveller 🙁 ) I am moving over the next year so no trips for a while 🙁 but I think maybe this will be something different to try.

        Hopefully it won’t be busy by the time I get there!

        • Jeannie
          March 7, 2017 at 7:50 am

          The Westfjords are one of the true gems left in Iceland because hardly anyone takes the time to go there! I promise if you make it up there, you will be one of the only travelers 🙂

  • Jana
    March 28, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Love the video and the detailed post. We will be in Iceland in a week for 7 nights and planning driving around the country. Would we have time to go there and would the road be ok the first week of April?
    Thank you

    • Jeannie
      March 29, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Probably not, the Westfjords have very difficult roads and it takes a long time to drive around. I’d suggest sticking to the main road!