Iceland- To the Westfjords & beyond
Since visiting Reykjavik for a long weekend in 2015 and falling in love with Iceland we vowed to return as soon as possible this time for a whole week so we could venture further afield as a weekend in the capital felt like we had barely scratched the surface. Our aim was to visit the Westfjords known for its rugged beauty and then continuing our travels to Akureyri a really chilled out town in the North, squashing in as many waterfalls and landmarks as we could in-between.
Read more: The Westfjords Travel Guide
Being a keen fly fisherman I was excited to experience some of the fishing Iceland is so famous for. I purchased the Icelandic fishing card which enables you to fish at over 30 lakes and rivers around Iceland. A lot of the lakes also have designated camping areas, so was perfect for campers like us!
As a stop off on our way to the Westfjords we visited lake Hítarvatn, a stunning lake near Borgarnes on the west coast. The drive to the lake runs parallell to the Hítará river which leads to the lake. After 40 minutes we arrived at the lake which was simply breath taking.
We had stocked up with provisions from a Bónus store in Reykjavik and the plan was to ‘hopefully’ catch a fish which we could cook for tea. Driven by my stomach I wandered off with my fly rod and it wasn’t long before I had caught several Arctic Char and Brown trout, all absolutely stunning examples of wild Icelandic fish.
It was the first time I have caught and tasted Arctic Char. We can both confirm it’s a beautiful fish to eat, especially when eaten no more than 20 mins after it was swimming in the pure waters of lake Hítarvatn! Fresh fish doesn’t get much better than that!
Waking up on the edge of lake Hitarvatn on a calm, crisp morning with a hot coffee in hand. Is there a better way to start your day?
As beautiful as Hitarvatn was the rest of Iceland was waiting. After breakfast by the lake it was time to move on. Our next destination was Lake Sauðlauksdalsvatn near Patreksfjöður in the Westfjords.
What an amazing drive. If you have an adventurous side then this is the place for you. The roads test your driving skills so take it easy but WOW we could have spent a whole week here. Everywhere you look is breathtakingly beautiful. You don’t get scenery like this anywhere else in the world. On route we stopped off at the Hellulaug hot spring near Flókalundur. It was a perfect stop to revive on the way to our next destination.
Arriving at Lake Sauðlauksdalsvatn we were blown away by the unique beauty of the place, crystal clear water with sandy margins was more like a landscape you would expect in the Caribbean or Seychelles (Without the warm water!)
I had heard from a friend in Iceland that the fly fishing in the Lake was “very special” and it didn’t disappoint. fishing with small nymphs and a floating line the sport was electric until around 10pm when the Char seemed to stop biting and we retired to the van to enjoy a gin and tonic in the midnight sun. I was told by an Icelandic fisherman that if this lake doesn’t ignite your interest in fly fishing you should buy a golf set!
We awoke early as we had big plans to visit Dynjandi Waterfalls before heading out of the Westfjords. We ate breakfast and had coffee whilst taking in the scenery of Lake Sauðlauksdalsvatn one last time (I have to return here one day!).
The drive to Dynjandi along road 60 was spectacular and had us on the edge of our seats, crossing the snowcaped peaks felt really special. Dynjandi waterfall known as the jewel of the Westfjords was highly recommended and we certainly can see why, the walk to Dynjandi left us breathless and in awe of the numerous waterfalls and the fjord in the background.
We ate lunch at the waterfall and watched the arctic terns nesting in the meadow behind us. After lunch we drove out of the Westfjords along more stunning roads stopping to make a coffee every hour or so.
We overnighted at a campsite in Búðardalur which had great facilities to and a well stocked shop to stock up with some essentials.
Leaving Búðardalur early our plan was to drive to Akureyri stopping off at the Kolugljúfur Waterfall and a couple of hot springs on the way. The clear blue sky made the drive a pleasure and we soaked up the views from road 1.
We were able to drive the van right to Kolugljúfur Waterfall where we were greeted by knee knocking views of the waterfall from the bridge and various other vantage points, I’ve never been good with heights and this certainly tested my vertigo.
Next stop was bit of a gamble for us but boy did it pay off! We had read about a hot spring which was “off the beaten track”. To get to the Fosslaug hot spring we parked over the bridge on road 753.
Reportedly the Spring was at the top of the Reykjafoss waterfall and was about a 4-5km walk up the Svartá river. The hike was spectacular and challenging in places but we started to hear the rumble of the waterfall and knew we were getting close.
Once at the waterfall the hunt began to find the Spring as the prospect of a dip after the walk was driving us on! The spring is on the banks of the river in the most idyllic location, We tested the water climbed in and it was pure heaven!
Feeling very satisfied we drove on to Akureyri where we stayed the night and planned to explore the town in the morning.
Read more: North Iceland Travel Guide
We started the day with a wander around the town of Akureyri, the capital of the North. The town has a friendly feel and has some lovely coffee shops and eateries, we visited the botanical gardens and ate lunch in the Backpackers! Highly recommended!
By now the weather had taken a turn for the worse and we planned to spend our last night in the van at Lake Langavatn.
Another stunning drive and we arrived at the lake, by now the wind was really blowing! I was determined to at least cast a line, as difficult as it would be in the wind. I was rewarded with a number of beautiful wild Arctic Char which made as the wind buffeted the van and waves crashed on to the shore nearby. We cooked tea and had a drink and a laugh in the safety of the van!
Our journey was truly magical and couldn’t believe it had to come to an end. We made memories that would last a lifetime in Iceland where adventure always seems to be waiting around every corner!
Read more: HushAdventures does Iceland
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