The Westfjords, the gnarled fingers of land that reach from northwest Iceland into the Atlantic, are not the easiest place to travel. Covered in snow several months of the year, they are a remote and rugged region. However those who do make the trip will find one of the most beautiful and untouched areas of Iceland, where mountains slope to icy blue fjords and where the roads loops into inlets and around cliffs as they pass waterfalls, one-house towns, and snowy peaks.
Because this area is so remote and doesn’t see much tourism aside from late June to August, there are very few accommodation options, and even fewer that are open year round. Most places are very basic, offering sleeping bag accommodation and shared bathrooms only. You’ll find most options, especially for hotels, in the main city of Isafjordur. Outside the city there are scattered huts, hostels, and farmstays. If you want to be able to walk to a small grocery shop and choose from a handful of dining options, it’s best to base yourself in Isafjordur.
Here are a few suggestions for places to stay in the Westfjords.
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Hostels and huts
There are three Hosteling International Hostels in Iceland’s Westfjords: one in Bildudalur (open all year), one in Korpudalur and one in Reykholar. There is also an ITA hut in Norðurfjörðu, which costs 4500 ISK, sleeps up to 12 people and has a full kitchen (must be booked in advance). There are several other smaller hostels and guesthouses which offer sleeping bag accommodation in the summer. You can find some here.
Guesthouses and farmstays
A step above hostels, guesthouses in the region often offer free breakfast and have private rooms for those who don’t want the dorm experience. You’ll definitely pay for the added comforts though. At Gamla Guesthouse in Isafjordur, double rooms go for 18700 ISK. Farmstays also offer a higher level of comfort; Icelandic Farm Holidays works with farmers and guesthouse owners around Iceland to offer comfortable bed and breakfast accommodations, often on working farms. The number of beds, facilities and price can very greatly (compare the cost of contacting the property directly as well) but for a longer term stay, these can be a great value.
If you’d prefer a full-service hotel, you only have a few options in the Westfjords, and don’t come expecting the Four Seasons as you’ll be disappointed by the often basic (some might say character-less) decor found in most Icelandic hotels, especially for the high price. Summer rooms at the Hotel Isafjordur, for example, go for 26000 ISK (double with bath). The Hotel Latrabjarg, near the cliffs, offers slightly more charm for 175 euros per night for a double room. The Hotel Djupavik is slightly more affordable; double rooms start at 9400 ISK and sleeping bag accommodation is also available.
Photo by fionamclaren