Visiting West Iceland is a great idea. Spectacular landscapes, natural wonders, rich culture, important historical sites, and so much more to satisfy your thirst for adventure. Here you will find some of Iceland’s most popular attractions like Snæfellsjökull glacier, Kirkjufell mountain, and Hraunfossar lava falls. But you want more. You want to step off the beaten path, away from the crowds, and discover the real Iceland. Do not worry, we’ve got you covered.
Below you will find some of our secret spots in West Iceland that will leave your friends green with envy.
Ölkelda Mineral Spring
Ölkelda Mineral Spring. Photo byVisit West Iceland.
Did you know that you can get carbonated water from a natural mineral spring? You sure can at the farm Ölkelda, on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula. Water from the spring is said to have some healing properties, so feel free to take a sip. The spring is open to everyone and drinking cups are available on-site. You can even bring your own bottle.
Artist Páll in Húsafell and his studio
Páll Guðmundsson playing a wooden harp. Photo by Visit West Iceland.
Primitivist artist Páll Guðmundsson has lived in West Iceland since birth. He mostly sculptures faces and wild beings out of the rock he finds around Húsafell, his home, and natural canvas. Páll is also famous for his large stone harp, a xylophone he built using local rocks that were featured in collaboration with the Icelandic band Sigur-Rós. A visit to Páll’s studio, exploring his work is an interesting and unique experience.
Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum
Bjarnarhöfn shark museum. Photo by Bjarnarhöfn.
Bjarnarhöfn farmstead welcomes visitors to a unique little shark museum. Here you can learn about the habits and biology of the Greenland shark and the seafarers who risked their lives hunting it. Each visit to the museum comes with a little taste of hákarl (fermented shark), an Icelandic delicacy. Your bite will be accompanied by a refreshing sip of Brennivín (aka ‘black death’) schnapps, Iceland’s signature distilled beverage. Close by you will also find the old Bjarnarhöfn church (1856), a beautiful little wooden structure that is also interesting and worth a visit.
The Erpsstaðir family welcomes you to their farm. Photo by Visit West Iceland.
The family at Erpsstaðir farm are gaining a reputation as great artisan ice cream makers. They have a working creamery at the farm where they make ice cream, cheese, and skyr. During summer visitors are offered the chance to take a closer look at their production by seeing the live conditions of the cows and calves and by getting up-close-and-personal with the animals. The Erpsstaðir dairy products are all for sale on the farm, and we highly recommend the delicious ice cream and creamy skyr.
Lóndrangar Basalt Cliffs
Lóndrangar is a unique rock formation towering over their surroundings south of Snæfellsjökull glacier. These unique cliffs are ancient volcanic plugs that look like towers who have withstood the forces of nature for tens of thousands of years. The cliffs are nesting grounds for puffins and fulmars, and the area around Lóndrangar is said to belong to the elves and hidden people living in the area. The bigger tower stands 75 m tall, and the smaller one measures 61 m.
This beautiful black sand beach on the west side of Snæfellsnes peninsula is covered with black pearly pebbles, constantly being brought in by the ocean waves. The beach is also characterized by peculiar rock formations along the shore. Djúpalónssandur used to be a fishing hamlet, and ruins of a shipwreck can be found on the beach, a true testimony of the weather conditions in the area and how fishermen have risked their lives through the ages. Here you will also find four lifting stones where seafaring crews would test the strength of aspiring fishermen. They are called Fully-Strong (154 kg), Half-Strong (100 kg), Weakling (54 kg) and Bungler (23 kg). Half-Strong was the benchmark as it was the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify for work on a fishing boat. Those who could not lift it were deemed weaklings and not fit for the hard life at sea. You can try your strength on these stones, but be careful not to overstrain yourself.
The entrance to Rauðfeldsgjá gorge. Photo by Nick M Clayton.
Rauðfeldsgjá is a deep rift that that hides a secret path to a secluded mossy grotto within a mountain. Inside the fissure, you will find a hidden stream source and as you make your way into the 40 meters deep rift, you will reach a small waterfall. There you will find a rope hanging down the cliff, and you can use the rope for assistance if you wish to venture further. You can get into the first part of the canyon quite easily, for those who wish to go further it may take a bit more physical ability. Rainwear and good shoes are a must and please take good care as everything is quite slippery in there. According to Icelandic legend Bárður Snæfellsás, a half troll and half human, pushed his nephew Rauðfeldur (Red-Cloak) into the gorge after Rauðfeldur had pushed Bárður‘s daughter to sea on an iceberg.
With over 170 carefully selected accommodations around the country each with a unique experience to offer guests, we at Hey Iceland want to help you find the perfect place to stay during your time in Iceland. In West Iceland, we offer cosy bed and breakfasts and charming farm cottages, where you can get a first-hand experience of how an Icelandic farm is run, guesthouses, and hostels that will have you feeling right at home!
To help give you a better idea of the various places within our network here is a quick guide to our accommodations around Iceland and a map of all our network of accommodations.
You can read more about the most popular things to do in West Iceland in our article West Iceland: Top 10 Experiences and book our Gems of the West tour here.