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Western Region: Everything You Need to Know

Western Region: Everything You Need to Know

Subject: Planning to visit the Western Region in the upcoming trip for Iceland. Check our special blog for the places to visit and the best restaurant in the Western region.


The Western Region or Vesturland is another major regional division in Iceland, situated to the south of the Westfjords. It contains several villages and towns, including those in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The main locations of the Western Region include Borgarnes, Akranes, Grundarfjörður, Hellissandur and Rif, Búðardalur, Grundarfjörður, Stykkishólmur, and Ólafsvík. This region has developed quite a bit to accommodate tourists in recent years. A trip to the Western Region of Iceland will bring you across many natural wonders and places of historical importance.

Most parts of the Western Region enjoy optimal connectivity throughout the year and bring in a great number of tourists. You can drive along the western coast to take in the amazing views of the cliffs, seas, and mountains. Along the way, you will come across various breathtakingly beautiful places. There are fishing villages, rivers, hot springs, lava fields and even a glacier you can explore. The Snæfellsnes peninsula is considered to be the most popular tourism epicenter of the Western Region, as it is home to the Snæfellsjökull Volcano. Whether you are traveling for adventure or want to rejuvenate your senses, the Western Region of Iceland can satiate your soul.

The top locations to explore in the Western Region of Iceland are -

Snæfellsnes - The Snæfellsnes peninsula is a special place with a bounty of attractions. It is often regarded as Iceland in Miniature has such a varied landscape. This region has almost all the natural features you can see across Iceland, including rock formations, rivers, beaches, waterfalls, cliffs, and forest areas. Exploring Snæfellsnes can take you a few days at least if you intend to visit every tourist hotspot of the peninsula. It is a great place to see many active and dormant volcanoes. Some of the key places to visit in Snæfellsnes include the Saxholl volcanic crater, Gamla Rif, Snæfellsjökull, Vatnshellir Cave, the Olkelda mineral spring and Ytri-Tunga seal beach. 

Snæfellsjökull Volcano - The Snæfellsjökull volcano in Snæfellsnes is one of the most iconic natural attractions in the Western Region of Iceland. This stratovolcano, situated at the westernmost point of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, is 700 thousand years old and has a glacier rounding off its top. The Snæfellsjökull volcano has a significant claim to fame as a location of author Jules Verne’s 1864 novel, ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’. If you have read and loved the novel, a visit to Snæfellsjökull is your perfect opportunity to explore the attraction. The Icelandic saga of Snæfellsáss is also associated with the volcano, with Bárður the creature considered as its guardian. The best time to explore the volcano is during the summer months, with the help of a trained guide.

Kirkjufell - Kirkjufell is an iconic mountain in the Snæfellsnes peninsula of Iceland’s Western Region. This 463-meter mountain has a unique appearance and is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. Also known as the ‘Church Mountain’, Kirkjufell is one of the must-see natural wonders of Iceland, situated a short distance from Grundarfjörður town. It is a favorite place for tourists who are interested in nature photography. Seeing Kirkjufell in its lush green glory is possible only during the summer months. This is one of the best places to go for a day trip if you are in Snæfellsnes or surrounding areas. Be sure to see the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall at a short distance from the mountain, and the lake at the base of it. Camping is a popular activity near Kirkjufell if you are up for it. One of the motivations for camping here is getting an amazing view of the Northern Lights over the mountain peak.

Barnafoss - Barnafoss or Bjarnarfoss is a waterfall in the Western Region of Iceland, situated close to another waterfall named Hraunfossar. The waterfall originates from the Hvítá River and flows down vigorously in several cascades. This rapid waterfall, also known as ‘the Children’s Falls’, has a deep association with Icelandic folklore. There is a story related to this waterfall which involves a bit of witchcraft. The ferocious beauty of Barnafoss makes it worth a visit whether or not the tales associated with it are true. It is one of the highlights of the Western Region and quite popular with tourists.

Hraunfossar - Hraunfossar refers to a range of waterfalls crashing down from the Hallmundarhraun lava field in West Iceland. They flow into the Hvítá River and are considered by many as the most beautiful Icelandic waterfalls. The Hraunfossar falls originate from Langjökull, the second-largest glacier in Iceland. Paying a visit to this waterfall should be a priority if you are passing through Borgarfjörður. The span of all the waterfalls collectively known as Hraunfossar is an impressive 900 meters. Try to locate the viewing platform near the waterfall to get stunning visuals from up top. Bjarnarfoss is another waterfall near Hraunfossar that you can explore during your Iceland trip. It is one of the many awe-inspiring Icelandic locations.

Djúpalónssandur - Djúpalónssandur is a bay area in West Iceland that offers a great combination of a black-sand beach and several dark cliffs. It was the location of a busy fishing village in the  past but is mostly abandoned now. Djúpalónssandur is a scenic locale frequented by many tourists throughout the year and has a few artifacts to explore. During your visit, you can find a set of old lifting stones that were once used for evaluating the strength of fishermen. Another interesting remnant of the recent past is the remnants of the Epine GY 7 trawler that was shipwrecked here. The black sand beach itself is a picturesque location for enjoying a day out.

Víðgelmir - Víðgelmir is a lava tube cave situated at a short distance from the Húsafell in the Western Region of Iceland. It is one of the most fascinating and surreal attractions that take you into the insides of a volcanic tunnel. You can avail a guided tour of the cave that stretches for a distance of 1585 meters. Experienced guides will take you into the cave and you will be provided with all required safety gear. Getting a glimpse into the layers of the earth and looking at the lava formations will leave you awestruck. It is a once in a lifetime experience and an adventure you will never forget. 


Deildartunguhver - Deildartunguhver is a hot spring situated in the Reykholtsdalur district of Iceland's Western Region. It is renowned as the highest European hot spring and with a speedy flow of 180 liters per second. Deildartunguhver is home to the Struthiopteris fallax, a fern species found nowhere else in the world. Its scenic locales and rising hot vapor appeal to the sensibilities of many tourists and locals. Deildartunguhver is in the scenic Borgarfjörður region, which also has many other famous attractions.

Author: (Abhi Chauhan)
Date: 02/12/2019