West Iceland is usually one of the favourite areas of tourist when visiting the island. However, if you stick to what most popular travel guides say and recommend, you might lose a bit of the essence of this place. West Iceland is also known as Sagaland as most of the Icelandic Sagas were written here. Let me tell you about what locals like most of their area and what they do and eat, so you will make the most of your trip through this incredible area.
The first recommendation (I know, it’s a classic but it’s still a must) is Snaefellsjokull National Park. This area was established as National Park only 17 years ago to protect its fauna, flora and landscapes and also to make it easier for visitants to access and discover this incredible icy area. Snæfellsjökull glacier lies within the park and you will find geological formations dated since ice age.
This Park is the only Icelandic national Park that stretches to the sea, and you can visit the Djupalonssandur pebbled beach where ghosts are supposed to roam the place. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs, local people tested their strengths by lifting huge stones. The one who could not do it were considered as no suitable to be a fisherman.
The Settlement Center is my second recommendation, as you would never fully get to know a country without knowing about its history. There are two exhibitions and you can buy a cheaper ticket if you wish to visit both of them. The first one is about the settlement and the other is about Icelandic Sagas. There are audio guides in various languages and there is also a Restaurant where you can have a meal at standard Icelandic prices. If you are heading Snaefellsnes peninsula, as you can visit the museum, have a meal and continue your trip.
In third place, if you are a fit person and you like trekking, you cannot miss Glymur, in Akranes. This is one of those amazing spots that it’s not yet crowded so it makes it even more charming. After one hour and a half trekking you will reach the beautiful waterfall surrounded by an incredible landscape. However I would not recommend this activity for families with toddlers or small children neither for reduced mobility people. You will have to cross a river by passing over a tree trunk, so make sure you bring appropiate clothing as waterproof shoes and maybe a towel.
My forth recommendation is Akranes Lighthouse. This is just a short visit, so you can just plan a stop by any day while here in West Iceland. This is a wonderful place for photography lovers. The landscape of the lighthouse next to the sea will inspire amazing pictures. If you wish to climb to the top of the lighthouse, get ready for the workout! However, avoid climbing if you suffer from claustrophobia or vertigo. The entrance fee is 100Kr or 300kr if you want to climb. Remember it’s only open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm.
5 West Iceland Magic Places You Will Love
Finally, located in Husafell, Hraunfossar is one of the most incredible waterfalls in West Iceland – I would affirm in the whole island. It’s really easy to get there and is free parking, a cafeteria and restaurant. This waterfall is not famous because of its high or the flow, but because of its formation. The water comes out from a lava field as if it’s coming out of the blue and creates a beautiful water curtain. You can walk around trough a wood path and stare at the landscape from the viewpoint. Again this is a stop to include in one of your day itineraries as it’s not a long visit.