remote destinations // iceland’s west fjords
Sometimes, in order to truly get away from it all and experience the ultimate relaxing getaway, you have to travel to one of the most remote corners of the earth. These isolated yet beautiful places are the ideal locations for enjoying your own company and allowing yourself to fully unwind. They are places where you can truly be alone. For the first in this new series of travel posts, we visit Iceland’s West Fjords; a place where only 14% of visitors to the country find themselves.
The West Fjords comprise of a large peninsula in the north-west of Iceland where a meandering collection of lonely coastal roads, staggering mountains and seemingly uncharted wilderness beckon. It’s an area frequently lauded by guide books as the most beautiful and dramatic in the whole country, yet the majority of travellers do not find themselves there, preferring to stick to the relatively easy-going ring road that slides neatly inland towards the west.
There are plenty of places in Iceland where you will scarcely see another car, but it is the West Fjords that are by far the most remote. There will be days when you feel like you have the entire peninsula to yourself, allowing for the perfect opportunity to fully unwind. Whether you prefer to drive, hike or relax, this is the perfect destination to enjoy your downtime.
As you explore solo, you will come across staggering waterfalls to admire, isolated hot pot’s to soak in, and seemingly endless stretches of red sand beaches (unusual to the rest of the country) where you can slowly stroll next to the water. Nature is abundant here, away from frequent human visitors, and it is the only place on the island where you can spot the elusive arctic fox. It’s also home to up to 40% of the world’s population of several unusual species of bird, making it the ideal place for ornithologists.
Take time to explore at your own pace. Visit Dynhandi, a collection of seven waterfalls that tumble down a cliff face, often considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe. Walk on the unusual Rauoasandur beach, covered with white, yellow and red sand; admiring the changing colours as you walk along the shore. Spot beautiful rare birds such as puffins, guillemots and razorbills as you stand upon the most westerly point of Europe, on the cliffs of Latrabjarg. Seek out the most remote hot springs in the country, where you can sit and soak on your own in the middle of the wilderness.
Allocate plenty of time for your trip, so as not to rush. The roads are unpaved and twist-and-turn as they weave in and out of mountain passes and approach dramatic fjords, demanding a slow pace to your drive. You will find that you’re satisfied with the slowness of the journey, allowing yourself to occasionally stop to admire the scenery or soak in a roadside hot spring. There is no need to hurry here; the scenery isn’t going anywhere, you can take your time.