The Westfjords of North West Iceland have a lot to offer adventure seekers looking for great experiences in higher latitudes. The area is sparsely populated with vast areas of untouched nature and beauty. It’s fair to say that the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is truly the icing on the cake when it comes to unspoiled nature, all the way from the coast to the highest mountaintops.
In the northern most part are the huge bird cliffs of Horn and Hælavík with their large colonies of Kittiwakes, Common Guillemots (Murr), Razorbills, Puffins and other seabirds. There is also number of protected Arctic Foxes, some of them fairly tame around people.
Many of these bays and coves were inhabited throughout the last centuries but the entire area was abandoned in the 50’s and 60’s due to increased job opportunities and better quality of life in the surrounding towns. There are no roads, power lines or other man made structures except a few summer houses in some parts of the area and ruins of times gone by.
The nature has been in command for fifty years and that makes the area very special. Part of the Nature Reserve, is the Jökulfirðir area (Glacier Fjords) – five fjords within one large bay, each one with its special character.
The south side of Ísafjarðardjúp Bay is occupied by about 4.000 people in the towns of Bolungarvík, Ísafjörður and Súðavík and in a few isolated farms. There are seven fjords in this area and even if most of them have a road along its coast, they still provide many interesting opportunities for sports and wildlife watching. The two main islands in the bay are Vigur and Æðey. They are havens for seabirds and have large populations of Eider ducks, Puffins and Black Guillemot. The ice cap of Drangajökull is the only glacier in the West Fjords and the fifth largest in Iceland and is easily accessible all year around.
There is geothermal activity in a few places in Ísafjarðardjúp. Most prominently in the Reykjanes peninsula where there are hot springs and an outdoor swimming pool. There are also interesting underwater springs in the sea, close to the beach.
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