The Westfjords Way: Icelandic Campervan Itinerary

The Westfjords Way: Icelandic Campervan Itinerary

James Taylor James Taylor
19. Nov 2021 ∼ 7 min. read

Iceland is a country made for road trips and campervan travel. The main temptation when planning your itinerary is of course to do the Ring Road – it’s seemingly perfect for around 7–10 days of travel. But for those after something a bit different, off-the-beaten-track, Iceland’s Westfjords are the place to go.

During 2020, a new tourist route called The Westfjords Way was launched to draw visitors into Iceland’s least visited region. Affectionately dubbed ‘The Ring Road 2’, this loop zig zags through the epic fjords of one of Iceland’s more remote corners, experiencing the sights and villages along the way.

The following campervan itinerary of the Westfjords covers this new route. It takes about 3–5 days to complete, depending on how quickly you like to travel and whether you’re making use of the summer light.

Day 1: From Reykjavik to the Westfjords

After picking up your campervan from Go Campers, it’s time to stock up on some groceries (if you haven’t already) and hit the road. It’s a long drive to get to the Westfjords, but a scenic one as well; make sure to pack some snacks for the road and have your camera handy.

Once you’ve arrived in the Westfjords, the traffic immediately drops off. The first point of interest for many is the Hellulaug hot spring at Flókalundur. This beautiful rock pool overlooks the fjord, a beautiful spot for a steamy dip without the crowds.

We recommend setting up your camper for the night at the Flókalundur campsite. That way, you can also spend some time exploring the Vatnsfjörður Nature Reserve. Far too many people stop at the hot pot Hellulaug, but there’s some fantastic hiking trails in this area that follow a river with several beautiful waterfalls.

There’s also a hike you can do up behind the campsite to the top of a mountain, offering a fantastic view over the entire fjord and surrounding region.

Day 2: Rauðasandur and Látrabjarg

Waking up in the morning, the first stop on this Westfjords self-drive itinerary is another hot spring: Krosslaug. This is a beautiful hand-made hot pot of stones, and there’s also a bigger swimming pool to enjoy as well. There’s no better way to start your day on an Icelandic camping trip.

Further beyond this are a few fantastic beaches, with plenty of places to stop for photos. Barðastrandarsandur is especially beautiful, with sweeping sands backed by tall mountains. Afterwards, make the drive over to Rauðisandur, another beach with golden sand that would be at home along the coast of Spain. If you’re lucky, you might even see some seals and whales in the area.

After the beaches, next up are the Látrabjarg cliffs. This is Iceland’s westernmost point, and one of the best birdwatching cliffs in all of Europe if you’re visiting during the summer. During this time, millions of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, and other bird species are nesting on the cliffs. Walking along the cliff’s edge lets you peer over, watching as they fly between the ocean and their slice of cliff face to feed their young. You’ll find the biggest number of puffins if you’re at the cliffs late, around midnight.

After you’ve had your fill of birds at the cliffs, make the easy drive back to Patreksfjörður to camp for the night and rest up before the next day of this Westfjords campervan itinerary.

Day 3: Bíldudalur and Dynjandi Waterfall

The third day of the Westfjords Way campervan itinerary will wind up at Dynjandi, the most incredible waterfall in the region. But before we get there, there are of course a few hot pots to visit. The first is in the next town over, Tálknafjörður. Drive out the other side of town and you’ll eventually find Pollurinn, a set of hot baths on the hillside. Stunning views over the fjords make this a special spot for a dip.

Afterward, head over to Bíldudalur, where you’ll find the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum. Arnarfjörður is the biggest fjord in Iceland and has also had the most sightings of sea monsters out of any other location in the country. Listen to the first-hand accounts of locals in the museum, and then head to the town’s only restaurant, Vegamót, which is famous for having some seriously good burgers.

After lunch, drive the dirt road that slowly loops around the base of the fjord. You’ll pass another beautiful swimming pool. Reykjafjarðarlaug, if you fancy another soak. Otherwise, continue along the road which will travel up over the mountains, eventually winding up at the waterfall Dynjandi.

Crashing down over a set of cliffs, this is one of the country’s most impressive waterfalls. A trail leads right up to the base of the falls, letting you admire the power up close. After you’ve had your fill of the waterfall, continue the drive to camp at either Thingeyri or Flateyri. Thingeyri has a fantastic campsite with a cozy common area, showers, and a great pool, while Flateyri has the popular Vagninn pub and restaurant, which offers plenty of events like live music and trivia throughout the week.

Day 4: Ísafjörður and the Northern Westfjords

It’s time to head into the capital of the Westfjords, Ísafjörður. If you like, you can make a detour to Suðureyri before you get there, another small town that was historically rocked by landslides.

Ísafjörður will feel like a big city compared to the rest of the Westfjords. There are the supermarkets Bonus and Netto if you need to stock up on some campervan supplies, and cafés in town if you’re in need of some fantastic coffee. The campsite is a wonderful spot to stay, but since you’ve probably arrived early, we recommend making the drive out to Bolungarvik.

This small town is next to a fantastic mountain, which you can drive up. There’s an old radar station here, and fantastic views towards the Hornstrandir Peninsula (on a clear day). It’s another remote location that really makes you feel small in the grand scheme of things. We recommend staying at least one night in the Ísafjörður campsite, as it’s a lovely setting with fantastic facilities towards the base of the valley.

Day 5: Back Towards the Ring Road

On the fifth day, it’s time to make the drive back to the ring road, but there are a few stops to make along the way. The first is the Arctic Fox Centre, which is a museum and café that has a lot of information about the arctic fox. They sometimes even have one or two foxes out the back in a pen for you to look at.

Afterwards, further along you’ll find the historic farmstead called Litlibaer, a turf house that now serves good coffee and even better waffles and cakes. It makes for a good pit stop before continuing.

When you get to Mjóifjörður, a bridge crosses the fjord at the top. But delve down into the fjord itself along the dirt roads to turn up a few more hot pots. At the farm Heydalur, there are a couple of hot springs: one by the river, and one inside a beautiful barn building. Make sure to stop at their restaurant if you’re after a good meal.  

On the other side of the fjord is another hot spring, this one set in a small rectangular pool just below the road (look out for the small green building). This is Hörgshlíðarlaug, a perfect hot spring to cap off your campervan road trip through the Westfjords. However, the hot pot is on private land, so you’ll need to ask permission at the farmstead up the road a bit. It can be intimidating, but don’t be shy!

After your dip, all that’s left is the mountain pass towards Hólmavík. With a large petrol station, restaurants, and the Icelandic Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft, it’s a pretty good stop to make. From here, you can either cut down Route 61 back towards Búðardalur and Reykjavik or continue along the coastal road (Route 68) to link back up with the ring road if you’re heading into the north.  

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