Location: Iceland, Europe
Length: approx. 1000 km
Wide: minimum 5 m standard, 2 lanes
Surface: asphalt, gravel
Surface quality (out of 10): 10 for the asphalt sections, 7 for the gravel parts
Highest point: 440 m
Operating times: throughout the year, recommended from the beginning of June until late September
Route 60, Route 61
Route: Reykjavík – Búðardalur – Reykhólar – Breiðavík – Bíldudalur – Haukadalur – Flateyri – Ísafjörður – Litlibær
Description of the Westfjords drive
Remote, wild and largely uninhabited, Iceland’s Westfjords peninsula is a pristine land of incredible beauty. A road trip in this region will provide a marvelous combination of dangerous coastal and mountain roads that look out of this world.
Located in the north-western part of Iceland, the Westfjords are also the westernmost point of Europe. It can be reached after only a six hour drive from Reykjavik. Approximately a third of Iceland’s coast line is in the Westfjords. As a result, Westfjords drive is one of the longer routes along with the Ring Road, but far less crowded.
Driving through this area of unspoiled wilderness is not easy. You will find yourself almost always driving in, over or out of a fjord. In addition, the roads here are by definition long and winding.
Westfjords drive – enjoy Iceland on the road
A large part of the road network in the Westfjords drive is paved and in excellent condition, but renting a 4×4 vehicle is recommended because some parts feature gravel sections. These sections are quite rough and difficult to drive on, although in recent years extensive road works have significantly improved the access in the area.
The Westfjords drive is an amazing experience in every season. If you decide to visit the area during winter, you can get real time updates on road and weather conditions by visiting http://www.road.is and plan the journey according to the forecast.
With a length of up to 1000 km, the Westfjords drive and island offers a long route. Nevertheless, take your time and try to spend at least four days visiting this wonderful peninsula. You can stop along the carved shore line as much as you can.
Choose to explore the Westfjords by simply driving from town to town or by setting up camp for a couple of days in Ísafjörður, the regional capital. Consulting the attached map will help you make an idea about what route to follow.
Starting from the south, follow the Route 60 towards Hólmavík and Ísafjörður, along the southern shore of the Westfjords. This part of the road is mostly hard surfaced, with only a short gravel section around the region of Djúpidalur.
The road will take you to the large and shallow Breiðafjörður bay, a natural reserve encircled by high volcanic peaks with an exceptional combination of natural features, a diverse flora and fauna, many farms, hot pots and marshlands.
Another important natural attraction on the Westfjords drive is the promontory of Látrabjarg. With a height of 440 m, these jugged cliffs are some of the highest in Europe. Also, they provide nesting places to millions of birds including puffins, northern gannets and guillemots. You won’t regret making a detour to the golden sand beach of Rauðasandur and further north, to Bolungarvík and Skálavík.
Finally, you can continue on to Route 62 all the way to Þingeyri, where you will come across the jewel of Westfjords: the breathtakingly beautiful Dynjandi, a set of waterfalls with an impressive height of 100 m.
Photos: karlmagnusson.com, icelandunlimited.is, ichef.bbci.co.uk, arcticphoto.is, guidetoiceland.is, pbs.twimg.com, wordpress.com, drscdn.500px.org, icelandmag.visir.is, 1.bp.blogspot.com, breathewithus.com