Want to explore wild west? Western Iceland remains off the beaten track and well worth exploring.
Iceland has become a popular tourist destination in the recent years. It has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world and fantastic views of the Northern Lights; the capital city Reykjavik is also well known for its vibrant, bustling atmosphere and welcoming locals. However, just an hour from the city is the relatively unexplored ‘Wild West’. There are an abundance of ice caves, lava tubes and small villages which offer an amazing glimpse if traditional Icelandic life. Places to visit in this part of Iceland include:
Snaefellsjokull National Park
The Snaefellsjokull National Park is at the farthest end of the Western flank. The huge icecap situated in this national park can be explored and marveled at; it is thought to be the inspiration behind Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. There is also an abundance of flora and fauna native to the area; much of which survives in the craggy lava fields. It is even possible to see whales off the coast whilst walking the idyllic paths between villages and witnessing some impressive waterfalls.
Stykkisholmur is a small village which has been in an existence for over two hundred years and still retains several examples of its early architecture. It is also home to several fantastic restaurants and museums. The Library of water is potentially one of the best for originality as it features water from the ice caps. The atmosphere is laid back and it is an excellent base for wildlife tours as well as visiting the Westfjords.
This Snaefellsnes area is a region of contrasts; the massive mountain range forms an impressive backdrop to the lush green fields and the abundance of sandy beaches. One of the best ways to explore this area is on horseback; there are several farms in the area which offer accommodation and horseback riding trips. In the North of this peninsula you can also see colonies of Puffins at home in the cliffs which surround the area. It is also common, although not guaranteed, that you will see pods of Orca whales!
Lava tubes of Hallmundarhraun
The lava tubes of Hallmundarhraun are Iceland’s natural creations; they’re an impressive result of nature’s power. As hot lava drains away it leaves behind it a range of massive caverns. The caverns can be explored providing you go with a proper guide and the right equipment. The lava field is the result of a massive eruption near Langjokull, a 900-year old glacier that spans on 9 cubic kilometers. Hallmundarhraun comprises 3 major caves that travellers will surely enjoy exploring. The largest is Viogelmir; it packs an astounding 150,000 cubic meters.
Langjokull Ice Cave
Langjokull is a new ice cave which has been drilled into the Langjokull glacier. It is possible to go into the cave as part of a guided tour; they leave regularly from Reykjavik and Husafell. It is definitely a once in a lifetime experience! It is possible to get to the cave under your own steam, but this is not for the faint hearted. The journey is incredibly beautiful; you will pass through the ice caps, lava fields and a selection of hidden valleys. You can also travel to the top of the glacier, but you should never go there alone. There are dedicated, super truck tours which will take you to the top.
Erpsstadir is the dairy farm which provides most of Iceland with some fantastic ice cream and cheeses. You will see them as you travel around the country but it is a wonderful experience seeing the farm in action. On your travel itinerary you’ll be able to purchase homemade dairy, as well as check out the farm animals and farmers. For those traveling with the family, this place packs a wealth of farmhouses and comfortable cottages to lodge in.
Borgarnes is the best place to visit to appreciate the history of Iceland. There is an excellent settlement centre which documents the arrival of the very first settlers to this harsh landscape. There is also an abundance of history regarding the Vikings, including the detailed story of Egil’s Saga. After you have learnt all you can you can enjoy local cuisine in the local town, Edduverold.
Get ready for a memorable Icelandic adventure, and explore Iceland’s west side for a glimpse at its stunning scenery, breathtaking landscapes and welcoming people!
About The Author: By Peter Smith and BalticTravelCompany.com!
Photo Source: #1 https://www.flickr.com/photos/eugenephoen/25132766555, #2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/dianasch/16767121451, #3 https://www.flickr.com/photos/sbramwell/3791129005,