See Iceland in miniature on a West Iceland tour
Bordered by the capital region of Reykjavík and the remote Westfjords, the region of West Iceland might not draw your eye on a map. Yet this area is one of the most richly beautiful and evocative areas in the country.
That’s why it’s often known as Iceland in miniature. From glaciers to lava fields, dramatic cliffs to elegant waterfalls, you’ll discover in this region everything you expect to find in Iceland.
A West Iceland tour is the best way to explore this diverse and enchanting area. You can start your adventure from your base in Reykjavík, where you’ll meet your local guide and driver. Throughout the rest of the day, they’ll share unique insights into the nature and culture of the region as you explore.
You have many different options to see the area. For example, you can take a tour around the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where you’ll visit Kirkjufell, the magical “Church Mountain” that adorns the cover of so many Icelandic guidebooks. Or you can tour the gloruous "Silver Circle" in the Borgarfjörður area, which offers a blend of waterfalls, geothermal and historical sites. Or visit the serene Hvalfjörður, sea fjords which cut deep into Iceland’s western coast.
There’s plenty more to see here. Prepare for cliff-top walks, black-sand beaches, lava fields, waterfalls, and more.
Don’t miss the Langjökull glacier, either. Translated as “long glacier” in English, it hides one of Iceland’s greatest secrets. That’s the Langjökull ice cave, an ice tunnel carved out of the glacier. You can explore it in any season. Visit on a tour from Reykjavík.
In short, West Iceland offers something for everyone—and, such a short distance from Reykjavík, it’s incredibly convenient. Explore our tours to find your perfect adventure.
It is about 500 kilometres (310 miles) between the eastern and western extremes of Iceland. The westernmost point is Látrabjarg in the Westfjords, while the eastern tip is at Gerpir.
West Iceland, or Western Region, is one of the eight regions of Iceland. It is the area of the west coast between the capital city of Reykjavík and the Westfjords to the north. There’s lots to see and do here. In fact, you might spend quite a lot of your trip in the area.
Most famous of West Iceland’s attractions is the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It’s often known as “Iceland in miniature” thanks to its impressive array of different sights, including the Snæfellsjökull glacier, black-sand beaches, and lava fields. This is also home to Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland.
While you’re here, don’t miss Langjökull, “long glacier”, with its famous ice caves.
Yes, the sun does set in the west of Iceland. However, during the summer months, from late April to early August, Iceland experiences extended daylight due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. For most of the region, there's never complete darkness during this period, but the sun does briefly dip below the horizon. In the northernmost parts of western Iceland, you can experience the true midnight sun, where the sun does not set below the horizon at all.
The coasts of Iceland are famous for their puffins. Probably the best known area to see these birds is Látrabjarg, in the Westfjords. But the region of West Iceland also has its puffin destinations too.
For example, north of Stykkishólmur, the largest town on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, you’ll find Breiðafjörður bay, with its gorgeous archipelago of islands. During the summer, they’re covered in puffins—and can be toured on a boat trip.
While they may be less famous, there are many other places to see puffins on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Head to the cliffs in the summer months to see them.
There are many things to do in west Iceland:
- Visit the Snæfellsjökull National Park, one of Iceland’s three national parks and home to the Snæfellsjökull glacier.
- Photograph Kirkjufell, or climb to its slender summit. The views from the top are immense.
- Venture beneath the Langjökull glacier, in an ice tunnel.
- Marvel at Hraunfossar, the “lava falls”, a waterfall that cascades over the Hallmundarhraun lava field.
- Explore the coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula, with its fishing villages, sea cliffs, and historic beaches.
Western Iceland is a region to visit in any season. In summer, you can enjoy milder weather and longer days, while in winter the landscape will likely be covered in snow. At all times of year, you’ll find it a gorgeous place.
Of course, the best time to visit will depend on what you want to get up to. If you want to see puffins, for example, you’ll need to come in the summer. The same goes for whales.
If there’s just one thing you see in West Iceland, it should be the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It’s a relatively small area, but it’s crammed full of breathtaking sights.
For example, make sure you see Kirkjufell, known as Iceland’s most photographed mountain. It’s popular with photographers for good reason, with its slender ridge, nearby waterfall, and coastal location.
Check out the cliffs around Arnarstapi too. They offer some of the top sea views in Iceland.
The first thing to consider when deciding what to dress for your west Iceland tour is the weather. This will largely depend on the season in which you visit—but the weather can change dramatically even within seasons.
In winter, you’ll want to stay warm and dry. Sturdy shoes, a winter jacket, and lots of warm layers are a good idea. In summer, a waterproof jacket is still wise, but you may just keep it in your bag.
Western Iceland boasts some of the most captivating sights and attractions in the whole country. This is the region where you can see:
- Snæfellsjökull glacier, above the stratovolcano of the same name
- Kirkjufell, Iceland’s most photographed mountain
- Arnarstapi, the cute fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula
- Bjarnarfoss, a thundering waterfall
- Gerðuberg Cliffs, formed of strange geometric shapes
- Langjökull glacier, with its underground tunnel.
West Iceland, also known as Western Region or Vesturland, is one of the westernmost regions in Iceland. It sits in the centre of the west coast, with the Reykjavík area directly to its south and Westfjords to the north.
It comprises the area between the Hvalfjörður and the Gilsfjörður, including the whole of Snæfellsnes peninsula.
There are many guest houses across the Western Iceland region. You’ll find concentrations in villages such as Ólafsvík, Grundarfjörður, Stykkishólmur, and Borgarnes.
That said, Western Iceland is very close to the city of Reykjavík, and you may find it just as convenient to stay there. That’s especially true if you’re taking a tour of West Iceland. Many of the tours leave from the city.