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Explore Like a Local: 15 Must-See and Do Attractions in Western Iceland

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Welcome to the land of fire and ice! Western Iceland is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes, unique experiences, and unforgettable adventures. With so much to see and do, it's no wonder that this region has become a top destination for travelers seeking to explore the best that Iceland has to offer.

In this blog post, we'll take you on a journey through 15 must-sees and do attractions in West Iceland that will leave you speechless. From exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to discovering the dynamic ice caves, this list of attractions will keep you busy and inspired.

So, grab your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and let's dive into the wonders of Western Iceland!

West iceland attractions

1. Explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula in a Campervan

Renting a campervan to explore the awe-inspiring Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of the most unique ways to experience Western Iceland. Drive along the coastline, taking in the stunning views of this volcanic peninsula and enjoying stops at picturesque seascape viewpoints. Here are some of the things to do in western Iceland while you're exploring the peninsula:

  • Visit Hellnar Beach: This beach is known for its dramatic rock formations and stunning ocean views. It's also a great spot for whale watching!

  • Explore Snæfellsjökull National Park: This park is home to Iceland's highest mountain peak, as well as glaciers, lava fields, and waterfalls.

  • Stop at Kirkjufell Mountain: This iconic mountain is one of the most photographed spots in Iceland. It's especially beautiful during sunset!

  • Check out Londrangar Basalt Cliffs: These impressive cliffs comprise two basalt towers that rise from the sea. At 61 and 75 meters (200 and 249 feet) high, they're an absolute must-see!

Tip: Camper Reykjavik offers a wide range of campervans that are perfect for exploring the stunning landscapes of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Check out our vehicles and book your campervan today!

Explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula

2. Discover the Beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park

Snæfellsjökull National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in West Iceland. It covers an area of 170 km2 and is home to a glacier and stratovolcano, making it a unique destination for adventurers. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Visit Snæfellsjökull Glacier: At the center of the park lies the majestic Snæfellsjökull glacier, which is popular for skiing and glacier hikes.

  • Explore Vatnshellir Cave: This 8,000-year-old lava tube is an incredible natural wonder, filled with colorful rock formations and crystal structures.

  • Go Hiking: The park has different hiking trails for all experience levels. Take some time to explore and admire the views of this stunning landscape.

western iceland things to do

3. Marvel at the Mighty Dynjandi Waterfall

Dynjandi is a stunning series of waterfalls that cascade down a 100-meter (328 feet) cliff in Westfjords. It's one of the most beautiful things to see in west Iceland, and visitors can easily hike to the top for an even more spectacular view. Here are some tips for planning your visit:

  • Plan Ahead: Try to visit during the peak water flow, which is usually in August.

  • Watch Out for Birds: The area is a popular nesting spot for seabirds, so be sure to keep your distance from them.

  • Pack Appropriate Clothing: It can get blustery and chilly at the top, so make sure to dress for the weather.

Dynjandi Waterfall

4. Explore the Westman Islands and its Volcanic Beaches

Exploring Westman Islands is one of the most unique things for Western Iceland things to do. This archipelago is home to an active volcano, incredible seafront cliffs, and stunning black sand beaches. Here are a few things you can do while visiting Westman Islands:

  • Eldheimar: This museum is located in the old village of Heimaey and displays artifacts from the 1973 eruption.

  • SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary: This sanctuary allows visitors to observe beluga whales in their natural habitat.

  • The Brothers Brewery: Sample some of the local brews at this brewery located on Heimaey Island.

  • Vestmannaeyjar: Take a boat tour around Vestmannaeyjar Islands and observe the stunning cliffs, birdlife, and caves.

the Westman Islands

5. Soak in The Blue Lagoon's Geothermal Waters

Are you looking for a relaxing Iceland west coast attraction? Then you must visit The Blue Lagoon! This man-made geothermal spa is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland, offering visitors a chance to relax in its warm, mineral-rich waters. Let's take a look at what you can expect:

  • Geothermal Spa: Dive into the milky-blue waters of the lagoon, surrounded by rugged volcanic landscapes, and let the warm, mineral-rich waters work their magic.

  • Silica Mud Masks: Slather on the lagoon's silky silica mud masks, known for their cleansing and rejuvenating properties, and feel your skin glow.

  • Saunas and Steam Rooms: Unwind in the saunas and steam rooms, where the heat and steam envelop your senses, melting away stress and leaving you refreshed.

  • Lagoon Bar: Sip on a cool drink or indulge in a healthy smoothie from the lagoon's bar, all while enjoying the serene beauty of the surroundings.

Things to do in western iceland

6. Take in the Gorgeous Views from Mt Esja

Mt Esja is a west Iceland must-see, offering travelers breathtaking views of the capital city and its surroundings. Hike up this 914-meter (3,000 feet) mountain for stunning views of Reykjavik, the mountains of Snaefellsness Peninsula, and the Snæfellsjökull Glacier. Here are some tips for planning your visit:

  • Pack Appropriate Clothing & Gear: It's important to bring a lightweight rain jacket and hiking boots.

  • Stay on the Trails: Make sure to stay on designated trails for safety reasons.

  • Be Aware of Weather Conditions: The weather can change quickly, so watch the forecast before you start your hike.

Views from Mt Esja

7. Experience Reykjavik's Nightlife Scene

Regarding the best things to do in West Iceland, Reykjavik's vibrant nightlife scene should be at the top of your list. Whether you're looking to enjoy a cocktail in a trendy bar or dance the night away in one of the city's many nightclubs, Reykjavik has something for everyone. Here are some of the city's best spots:

  • Kaffibarinn: This is one of the most well-known bars in Reykjavik. It's open late and has a great atmosphere with live music and tasty food trucks.

  • Pablo Discobar: This spot is perfect for those who want to dance the night away. With its upbeat music and lively atmosphere, it's sure to be a memorable experience.

  • B5: This bar is located on Bankastræti 5 and offers an intimate setting with great drinks and friendly staff. It's the perfect place to hang out with friends or meet new people.

Reykjavik's Nightlife Scene

8. Try Icelandic Cuisine at Local Restaurants

If you're looking for things to do in West Iceland, why not try the local cuisine? Icelandic food is a unique blend of traditional Nordic dishes and modern culinary trends. Some of the must-try dishes include:

  • Skyr: Skyr is a yogurt-like dairy product made from skimmed milk. It's high in protein and low in fat, making it a healthy snack or meal option.

  • Hangikjöt: This smoked lamb dish is one of Iceland's most beloved dishes. The meat is marinated in herbs and spices before being smoked over an open fire.

  • Kleinur: These deep-fried doughnuts are a popular dessert or snack. They're usually served with jam or powdered sugar on top.

Icelandic Cuisine

9. Spot Puffins on Látrabjarg Cliffs

If you're looking for some of the best western Iceland attractions, you must check out the Látrabjarg Cliffs! This 14-kilometer (9-mile) stretch of cliffs is home to millions of birds, including puffins. Here is what you can expect from your visit:

  • Puffins: From mid-May until late August, these adorable birds come to Látrabjarg Cliffs to raise their chicks. You can spot them on the cliffs or flying around in the air.

  • Bird Watching: Besides puffins, there are many other birds that call this place home. You can observe them from a distance or take part in bird-watching tours offered by local guides.

  • Wildlife: Seals and other wildlife can often be spotted on the shoreline.

western iceland attractions

10. Go Whale Watching off Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Whales are one of the top west Iceland attractions, and there's no better place to spot them than Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This peninsula is home to many species of whales, including humpback, orcas, and sperm whales. We highly recommend going on the whale-watching tour from Ólafsvík. Here are some of the things you can expect from the tour:

  • Breathtaking views: The views from the boat are simply amazing.

  • Diverse Wildlife: You'll also be able to spot seals, porpoises, and dolphins.

  • Unique Experience: Whale watching is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won't soon forget!

west iceland must see

11. Embark on an Unforgettable Horseback Journey

When people talk about things to do in western Iceland, horseback riding is usually at the top of the list. Discovering Iceland on horseback is an unforgettable experience, offering visitors the chance to take in spectacular scenery and meet friendly Icelandic horses. One such tour is the Löngufjörur beach ride. Here are some highlights of this tour:

  • Ride on the longest beach in Iceland: Löngufjörur Beach is the longest beach in Iceland. On this tour, you'll get to experience it from the back of an Icelandic horse.

  • Explore the nearby lava fields: You'll also ride through the fascinating lava fields of Búðarhraun.

things to see in west iceland

12. Experience Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark

This west Iceland attraction is not to be missed. The Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark covers an area of nearly 829 km2 (320 mi2), and it's home to many geological wonders. Here are some of the highlights you won't want to miss in the Reykjanes peninsula:

  • Bridge Between Continents: Stand astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, and marvel at the geological significance of this unique bridge.

  • Kleifarvatn Lake: Discover the mystical beauty of this volcanic lake, surrounded by a stark landscape and known for its deep, dark waters and legends of mythical creatures.

  • Gunnuhver Hot Springs: Witness the powerful display of geothermal activity at Gunnuhver, with its bubbling mud pools and steaming vents, creating a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere.

Gunnuhver Hot Springs

13. Watch the Dancing Aurora Borealis

One of the most beautiful things to do in west Iceland is witnessing the Northern Lights – also known as Aurora Borealis. The best time to see this natural phenomenon is between September and April, when the night sky is dark enough for it to be visible. Go to these places in west Iceland to get the best view:

  • Grótta Lighthouse: Located on the Reykjanes peninsula, this lighthouse offers an unobstructed view of the night sky.

  • Látrabjarg cliffs: This is an ideal spot for watching the Northern Lights, as it has no light pollution and offers panoramic views of the coastline.

  • Snæfellsjökull National Park: The park is surrounded by majestic mountains and glaciers, making it the perfect backdrop for viewing the Northern Lights.

Viewing the Northern Lights

14. Camp Under the Stars

Camping in Iceland is an unforgettable experience. You can camp virtually anywhere in the country, and it's a perfect way to admire the stunning landscape and observe the wildlife. However, camping in west Iceland has its own unique charm. Let's take a look at some of the best camping spots in this area:

  • Reykjavík Campsite: This is a great spot for camping in Reykjavík. It's close to the city center and has various facilities, including showers, a kitchenette, and free Wi-Fi.

  • Mosskogar Campsite: The campsite is located in a grove in Mosfellsdalur and offers a peaceful atmosphere. It is also sheltered by trees, providing protection from the wind.

Camp Under the Stars

15. Uncover the Uniqueness of Iceland's Ice Caves

The ice cave in West Iceland is a must-see for any visitor. While West Iceland may not have as many ice caves as other regions, the Langjökull Ice Cave provides an incredible experience for those seeking to venture into Iceland's icy wonders. The best way to visit this cave is on a guided tour, providing you with an unforgettable experience. Here's what you can expect from the tour:

  • A stunning sightseeing drive to the heart of the glacier

  • An exciting ride in an equipped glacier vehicle

  • A guided walk into the heart of the glacier

  • Learn about Langjökull's history and formation

  • Visit Hraunfossar, a waterfall formed from the glacier

places to visit in west iceland

Discover the Magic of West Iceland Attractions

From wandering the lava fields of Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark to admiring the Northern Lights in Grótta Lighthouse, there are countless west Iceland attractions waiting for you to explore. Whether you plan on traveling solo or with friends and family, we are sure that your experience in this part of the country will be nothing but magical!


1 Comment

Explore Western Iceland like a local with our guide to 15 must-see and do attractions. From stunning waterfalls and geothermal hot springs to charming villages and dramatic landscapes, there's something for everyone. And when the day's adventures are over, relax in the cozy local pubs. If you are also a lover of nightlife, then I suggest you go and see the Amsterdam nightlife, which offers its own unique and cozy atmosphere, ideal for relaxing and communicating with the locals.

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