A Brief History of the Region
The Westfjords have been inhabited since the 9th century AD by Celtic settlers. This remote area was largely cut off from the rest of Iceland until the 20th century, fostering a rugged seafaring culture. Fishing villages have endured here for centuries, shaping local life.
What the Region is Known For
Sheer sea cliffs, deep fjords carved by ancient glaciers, and rolling treeless hills define the Westfjords' landscapes. It provides some of Iceland's best whale watching, birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking opportunities against dramatic backdrops. Diverse wildlife like puffins, seals, reindeer, and whales thrive in this pristine environment.
Culture and Language
Ancient folklore and traditions rooted in fishing and survival in the harsh climate still influence local culture today. Icelandic is widely spoken, though English is common in tourism-related businesses. Museums like the Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum in Hólmavík shed light on fascinating local lore.
Gastronomy of the Westfjords
This unspoiled peninsula is a seafood lover's paradise. The cold, clear waters nurture delicious langoustines, scallops, arctic char, and salmon. Seaweed harvested from the fjords adds flavor to local cuisine, along with dairy from mountain sheep farms.
Top Foods to Try
Be sure to sample the exquisite local seafood, including fish soups and chowders, langoustine bisque, pan-fried salmon, and breaded haddock. For dessert, skyr mousse made from Iceland's creamy yogurt is delightful.