David Noton

West Iceland

Geographically close to Reykjavík, yet far, far away in sentiment, West Iceland (known as Vesturland) is a splendid microcosm of what Iceland has to offer. Yet many tourists have missed the memo, and you’re likely to have remote parts of this wonderful region to yourself.

The long arm of Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a favourite for its glacier, Snæfellsjökull, and the area around its national park is tops for birding, whale watching, lava-field hikes and horse riding. Inland beyond Reykholt you'll encounter lava tubes and remote highland glaciers, including enormous Langjökull with its unusual ice cave. Icelanders honour West Iceland for its local sagas: two of the best known, Laxdæla Saga and Egil’s Saga, took place along the region’s brooding waters, marked today by haunting cairns and an exceptional museum in lively Borgarnes. West Iceland offers everything from windswept beaches to historic villages and awe-inspiring terrain in one neat little package.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout West Iceland.