An 8 day self-driving tour to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords offers some of the most dramatic and stunning landscapes that Iceland has to offer.
First, let me ease your mind and say Iceland is an incredibly easy place to drive. While the ring road scenery is beautiful, this tour strays from the main road as you enter one of the country’s most spectacular and awe-inspiring regions. The roads are easy to drive and traffic will never be an issue.
Upon arrival at Keflavik airport, pick up a 4-wheel drive vehicle and drive north to Reykjavik (40 minutes ). The first class Reykjavik hotel is two minutes walking distance from dining & shopping. The hotel has a spacious lounge and bar open daily from 2p-10pm.
Day 1: Begin your first full day in Iceland with a complimentary breakfast before exploring the charming streets of Reykjavik.
Today, drive to the magical Snæfellsnes peninsula. Believed by many to be one of Earth’s seven major energy centers, the Snæfellsjökull glacier can be seen in the distance while driving the peninsula.
The drive along the coast offers sights such as the Dritvík Cove, the Lóndrangar Cliffs, the Arnarstapi Cliffs, the hamlet of Hellnar and various quaint fishing villages.
Evidence of Iceland’s volcanic history abounds. See basalt columns and lava tubes up close. You’ll also have the opportunity to see pink beaches, waterfalls, and Icelandic ponies and sheep….. lots of sheep.
The bright, simply decorated rooms for the next two evenings provide surrounding views of Iceland’s rugged landscape. Dinner is prepared with fresh local ingredients.
A geothermal pool ($8 entrance fee) with naturally carbonated water (excellent for skin) is across the street. The large swimming pool and two smaller hot tubs have fantastic views of the mountains behind the guesthouse.
Day 2: After breakfast, fill your day with a variety of optional activities such as horseback riding, lava cave exploring, trekking, relaxing on the beach and visiting the idyllic fishing villages.
Day 3: After breakfast, make the 40 minute drive to begin boarding the ferry headed to the Westfjords. Departure time is 9am for a 2.5 hour trip to Brjanslaekur.
The trip is longer if making the optional stop at Flatey Island, known for it’s birdlife and resident sheep. Sit back, relax and enjoy scenery from an all new perspective. Lunch is available for purchase on the ferry.
Exit the ferry at Brjánslækur. The 3-hour drive to Latrabjarg Cliffs is awe-inspiring.
However, about 20 minutes north of the ferry terminal is a delightful oceanside hot spring. Perhaps a soak would be refreshing before continuing to the next destination.
The next few days are filled with the most spectacular scenic drives in the country. While driving through the Westfjords, notice the many fjords, impressive cliffs, spectacular colorful beaches, high mountains with steep slopes, rivers, mountain passes with rolling mountains, waterfalls, birdlife and geothermal pools.
The landscape of the Westfjords is so stunning that people sometimes describe it as driving through a painting.
The lodging for the next two nights is at a family-operated hotel with free Wi-Fi and an on-site restaurant and bar. A 3-course dinner menu of local produce is available along with an outstanding view. (The hotel is the tiny speck at the base of the fjord in the photo below.)
Day 4: After breakfast, the bird cliffs of Latrabjarg await you. Experience countless puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes and the majestic white tailed eagle soaring amongst the majestic Latrabjarg bird cliffs.
Daily optional activities include walking to the sandy beach and fishing lake, which are both within a 10-minute walk where fishing poles are available to rent. Raudisandur, a scenic red sand beach is a 30 minute drive away.
Day 5: After a leisure breakfast, say good bye to the Latrabjarg Cliffs. Phenomenal vistas will inspire you at Dynjandi Waterfall.
From here you are only a short distance drive from Pingeryi. The next two evenings will be in the quaint fishing village with 250 inhabitants.
Day 6: The area includes a craft store, swimming pool, hiking trails and a few restaurant options. Optional activities include horseback riding and bike rentals. Isafjordur, a charming village is the largest in the Westfjords with 2600 residents and only 30 minute drive away.
Day 7: After breakfast head back to the ferry, which departs at noon. Look forward to more scenery headed back to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, arriving around 3:30.
The drive back to the hotel in Reykjavik (the same hotel as the first night) is two hours from the ferry terminal. Return the rental car at the airport when departing the next morning.
It’s time to start planning your return trip to Iceland:)