Flateyri - Westfjords
Flateyri has been a trading post since 1792 and saw its heyday in the 19th century when it was home to a fleet of decked vessels and the base for shark-hunting and whaling operations. The fishing industry has always been vital for the villages in the Westfjords, and in Flateyri the tradition of fishing has successfully been linked to tourism as the village has become a very popular destination for foreign sea anglers. The fjord also offers great opportunities for kayaking.
The old village bookshop has been turned into a museum where visitors can learn about the history of Flateyri while buying second-hand books and visiting the old merchant's home. An international doll museum and the popular Nonsense Museum can also be found in Flateyri. Accommodation is available at the hostel or in self-catering flats. A small shop, a restaurant/pub and a nice swimming pool with brand new outdoor hot-pots provide visitors with all the basic services.
Across the fjord, you will find a white, sandy beach. Although the sea might be colder for bathing than most people prefer, the sand is great for building sandcastles. This beach is actually the venue for an annual sandcastle competition which attracts hundreds of participants every year, children and adults alike.
Skrúður Botanical garden - Westfjords
The garden was officially opened on August 7th 1909. In 1992, a group of people decided on their own to restore the garden, and on August 18th 1996 they formally returned the garden to its owner - the Ministry of Education. In November of the same year the Ministry handed over the garden to the town of Ísafjörður to own and care for. The formal aim of the garden is to be a memorial to itself and to the concept of school gardens where the sustaining of nature's bounty and environmental education are linked to the operations of public schools. The garden is also an example of successful horticulture in such northern climes, and as such, a notable part of the country's horticultural history.
Hrafnseyri - Westfjords
Hrafnseyri is an old town in the Westfjords that dates back to the Settlement Era and has links to Iceland’s independence movement.
The settlement is named after one of its earliest residents, Hrafn Sveinbjarnason, who lived here in the 12th Century. He is not the area’s most famous child, however; it was also the birthplace of Jón Sigurðsson, the father of Iceland’s push for independence from Denmark.
Although Jón never lived to see his dream of a free nation pan out, he is still revered nationwide. At Hrafnseyri, there is a museum dedicated to him and his efforts, aptly called the Museum of Jón Sigurðsson.
Easily the most spectacular site in Iceland’s remote Westfjords is Dynjandi Waterfall (The Thunderer) which is a collection of seven cascades resembling a tiered wedding cake. The thunderous power of the main cascade drops 100 meters (329 ft) off the edge of a mountain.
Dynjandi waterfall is the largest waterfall in the Westfjords and many locals say that it is the most majestic and most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. Though not all agree on that point, it's fair to say that the waterfall is a sight and is preserved as a natural monument since 1981, so please stay on the paths.
Make sure you don't miss out on the few ruins there. Not far from the parking lot you can find an old home stead, ruins of an old turf house, which was inhabited until 1951. As the story goes, the wife of the farmer who used to live there couldn't stand listen to the constant roar of the thunderous waterfall.
As a part of the museum is the old turf house that Jón grew up in and the chapel that was built in his memory. The church that stands outside is always open for guests as well. In Hrafnseyri there is a really good access for disabled people and the place is recently renovated with access for everyone as a first priority.
In the old turf house is a small coffee house where you can get soup, bread, coffee and homemade treats.
To add to the historic ambiance that imbues this village, there is a cafe within an old turf-roofed building.
Patreksfjörður - Westfjords
Patreksfjörður is the biggest town in the southern part of the Westfjords, with a population of around 660. Early in the 20th century, Patreksfjörður was a pioneering force in Iceland's fishing industry, initiating trawler fishing. Still today the chief occupation is commercial fishing and fish processing. Other industries, like fish farming and services are also increasingly important.
Tourism has been on the rise in Patreksfjörður, not surprisingly, as the village has gems like Látrabjarg cliffs, Rauðasandur beach and Dynjandi waterfall within its reach. Patreksfjörður has a new, absolutely gorgeous outdoor swimming pool, and if you prefer natural hot pots you will find them within an easy driving distance from the town. In Patreksfjörður you can enjoy hotels or guesthouses, restaurants and various tours. You can reach Patreksfjörður by flight six days per week via Bíldudalur (fly-bus takes you to Patreksfjörður), or by a bus from Reykjavík to Stykkisholmur, then the ferry Baldur to Brjánslækur and a bus from there to Patreksfjörður. If you drive on your own during winter, please remember to get updates on weather and road conditions.