Travel to the Westfjords of Iceland – Episode 497

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Travel to the Westfjords of Iceland - Amateur Traveler Episode 497

Hear about travel to the Westfjords of Iceland as the Amateur Traveler talks to Katie Hammel of about her trip to this remote region of the island.

Katie says, “most people know the Ring Road, they know Reykjavik, they know the Golden Circle, the Blue Lagoon, but fewer people know the Westfjords which is this very remote region up in the northwest of Iceland that only about 3-6% of Iceland’s tourists ever visit. As Iceland has become more popular I find that on every trip I see more tour buses, more people. If you really want to go and have this amazing experience with nobody around it is harder and harder to do that.” The Westfjords are a place where you can do that. You might drive for hours and not see another car. A recurring theme on my trip was that every place my husband and I went, we were the only people there. It was incredible to see such natural beauty and be completely alone.”

There are 3 mains ways to get the to Westfjords. You can fly, take a ferry from the Snæfellsnes peninsula or drive. Katie and her husband chose to drive the entire way so as not to miss the beautiful scenery.

The roads in the Westfjords were winding. Some of the roads are not paved and filled with pot holes but in a land where the waterfalls out number the people, Katie says the journey is worth the effort. The scenery is filled with stark table mountains butting up against the sea. There are few if any trees. As Katie says, the joke is that if “you are lost in an Iceland forest, stand up”.

Along the way they visited an Arctic Fox center, the only native mammal on Iceland, and a museum about sorcery & witchcraft. They would like to have seen a sea monster museum but it had closed, as had so much else, at the end of the Summer tourist season.

Come experience the rugged beauty of this undiscovered corner of Iceland.

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Show Notes

Travel to Iceland – Episode 204
Westfjords Iceland
Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft
Arctic fox
The Arctic Fox Center
Chris’s Iceland Pictures
Icelandic Sea Monster Museum
Katie on the Viator Blog
Where waterfalls outnumber people


about Travel to San Diego – Episode 494 we heard from 3 different listeners:

Mark said:

My wife and I were in the San Diego area during this Christmas. We had two days to spend with two of our grandsons, age 5 and 7. Day two we visited the Birch aquarium. The kids had a great time as did grandma and grandpa. We also were impressed by the views from Cabrillo NM. On the first day we did something your guest did not mention. We took Nate Harrison Grade, one of several gravel roads up the side of Palomar Mountain. Suitable for almost any family vehicle. Great views along the way.

Kristie said:

I am in San Diego right now for a conference! This episode is perfectly timed and I will take some of your guest’s recommendations. One thing I would add is that San Diego is full of craft breweries and great brew pubs, and I have been enjoying many of the different local beers. If people are interested, has all the information you could need to find the many breweries. Thanks for the great episode!

Jim said:

My parents retired to the San Diego area in the 80’s, and we went out there two or three times a year through this year. A couple of comments. San Diego is a car culture, and most of the sites Mike mentioned you will have to get to by car. Examples include Point Loma, Carlsbad, Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park), Julian, etc. And no matter where you go, there will be someone right behind you, and there’s no place to park. Traffic is my biggest complaint about San Diego. Another point is that Seaport Village, a place we really loved, has gone downhill. The last couple of times we were there, one-third to one-half the stores were unoccupied. I don’t have an explanation as to why this is. The Self-Realization Fellowship is just south of Encinitas, and the locals call it “Swami’s”. It is a very famous surfing spot, so famous that I’m a little surprised Apple hasn’t named an operating system after it. San Diego Safari Park is much better than the Zoo, if you have the time to drive out to Escondido. But be sure to check the weather forecast – it gets really hot out there sometimes. Triple digits are common. But the park itself is fantastic. Try to get the left side of the tram for the best view. The ‘behind the scenes’ rides are good, too. Also, be aware that if you go to Tijuana by car, your US auto insurance will not cover you, and traffic accidents in Mexico are treated as criminal offenses. You are better off parking at San Ysidro and walking over the border. Lots of taxis waiting for you. And, of course, you need your passport to get back in to the US. Having said all that, San Diego is a fantastic place to go and the weather is the best in the USA except maybe Hawaii. The marine layer does make the coastal area gloomy in May and June, but the sun usually shines further inland.

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What to do and see in Iceland. Travel to the Westfjords of Iceland - Amateur Traveler Episode 497

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

One Response to “Travel to the Westfjords of Iceland – Episode 497”



I visited the Westfjords 4 years ago and was astounded by the remoteness of the region. I’ve never been anywhere so sparsely populated. At one point, I drove for two hours without seeing any evidence that humans existed (aside from the road). Two hours without seeing another car, a building, a fence, a trail, nothing. (And for this reason, I echo your guest’s warning to always know where you’re getting your next tank of gas).

Some highlights for me include hiking near Haukadalur. The mountain there is the second highest in the Westfjords and provides a stunning view of the region. We spent the entire day hiking there on one of the busier trails in the region and only saw one other person. I also enjoyed the sunset near Ögur with a view of the Hornstrandir glacier.

The Golden Circle is amazing, but in my opinion you’re missing out on the best part of Iceland if you skip the Westfjord.

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