The Wonderful Wild Northwest
The wildlife wilderness of Húnaþing vestra beckons those with a love of the outdoors
Húnaþing vestra, on the northwest coast of Iceland, is a region renowned for its amazing wildlife and natural beauty. Consequently, each year, thousands of tourists visit the area to enjoy the outdoors and experience the best of the Icelandic wilderness. Húnaþing vestra also offers both accommodation and recreation. Beauty on the grand scale
The mesmerizing landscape alone is reason enough for spending a good part of your trip in the region, as
some of Iceland’s most stunning natural wonders can be found there. The imposing Hvítserkur is without a doubt the area’s most distinct symbol. A 15 m high monolith and home to numerous bird species, it rises from the sea of Húnafjörður fjörd resembling a giant, prehistoric monster wading out to the shores that brim with life as one of the largest seal habitats in the country.
Húnaþing vestra is the home of three of the most abundant salmon rivers in the country and has a varied birdlife, attracting ever more birdwatchers each year.
The region’s beauty, displayed in its grassy heaths, majestic mountains, pillar rocks and sparkling lakes and rivers, truly sums up the uniqueness of Icelandic nature. Its vast heathlands contain the largest untouched wetlands in Iceland, very popular for angling and birdwatching. From there you can drive into the highlands, though the roads are only traversable by large jeeps.
Kolugljúfur, a magnificent canyon through which the Víðidalsá river runs and named after the giantess Kola, is another unforgettable site. The river pours over two spectacular waterfalls named Kolufossar.
Borgvirki fort is an 10–15 m high columnar basalt formation, believed to be an old scene of battle and a fort for the district. There’s an observation platform at it’s top and a breathtaking view over the Húnaflói Bay.
Leisure and activity
Walking, hiking and riding paths have been laid systematically over the last years, making the area easily accessible. Additionally, information signs have been put up and panoramic viewpoints created to enrich visitors’ experience of the area even further. Seals: Húnaþing vestra’s biggest attraction
Every year, travellers flock to the beautiful Vatnsnes peninsula, cameras in hand, to observe these adorable creatures and their offspring, rolling around on the shores and playing in the sea.
Húnaþing Vestra is without a doubt one of the best spots in Iceland for viewing seals, the main locations being Svalbarð, Illugastaðir and Ósar. There aren’t many places where these beautiful animals can be viewed in such closeness in their natural environment, so this is an experience bound to captivate both young and old alike. You can also go
seal-watching and sea-angling on a boat from Hvammstangi and a midnight sailing in summer is something you won’t forget!
A Rich History and Culture
The region’s cultural history is no less interesting than it’s natural surroundings. This is the birthplace of one of Iceland’s most notorious heroes from the old sagas, Grettir the Strong. The beloved poet Skálda-Rósa, of the 19th century, lived and wrote her most famous poems here. There are also various farmers markets, museums and exhibitions of interest, cultural as well as educational. In spite of it’s small population of around 1200, Húnaþing vestra has a remarkably high service standard and is bursting with life and activity.Service and accommodation
You’ll find accomodation in all price ranges in Húnaþing vestra. There are several excellent camping sites to choose from, situated in Hvammstangi, Sæberg and Laugarbakki. The holiday farm, Dæli in Víðidalur, also has a camp site in addition to it’s lovely guesthouse, hot pot, sauna and mini golf course. Other accommodation possibilities include both guesthouses in Hvammstangi and the highly rated Hotel Edda in Laugarbakki.
Gauksmýri in Línakradalur is another place of note. It’s a beautiful farm that has, in recent years, carried out the ambitious project of reclaiming the area’s wetland and putting up facilities for birdwatching, as well as running a horse rental and a restaurant. Brekkulækur in Miðfjörður has also been offering riding tours and accommodation for years and is an ever popular stop for travellers. Ósar on the Vatnsnes peninsula, situated right by Hvítserkur, is a popular hostel and a great spot for viewing seals.
The Icelandic Seal Centre in Hvammstangi is a highly informative research centre and a museum that has an ongoing exhibition and is well worth a visit. Other museums of note are Reykir Regional Museum in Hrútafjörður and the Commercial Museum in Hvammstangi, which both offer interesting exhibitions about the area. Also be sure not to miss the inspiring Bardúsa craft gallery in Hvammstangi. Unwinding in the town’s swimming pool after an eventful day is a must.
For further information go to the Tourist information centre, located in the Seal Centre in Hvammstangi.