Everything You Need to Know About the West in Iceland

Akranesviti lighthouse in the town of Akranes.
Akranesviti Lighthouse

There are so many great places in Iceland that it can be hard picking the best one for your vacation. In our opinion it is best to focus on one area and make the most out of it while exploring Iceland.

Luckily every corner of Iceland is full of interesting and amazing sites. So, no matter where you go, you can count on having a great time. Here we will focus on one of the most interesting parts of Iceland, the West in Iceland.

The Town of Akranes

Akranes is the largest town in the West of Iceland with just over 7.000 inhabitants. The town is especially known in Iceland for its football team ÍA, the most successful football club in Iceland.It is also home to the National Sport Museum of Iceland.

Akranes has a beautiful ocean view overlooking Faxaflói bay towards, Reykjavik to the south, Reykjanes to the west and Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Snæfellsnesjökull glacier to the North.

Akranes main attraction is Akranesviti lighthouse. Art galleries and concerts are held frequently in Akranesviti lighthouse and from the top is an amazing view in all direction. The lighthouse in Akranes is open all year round and accessible by car, with a free parking area.

Guðlaug Baths

Guðlaug Baths is a natural public pool in the town of Akranes. Located at “Langisandur” beach, the baths have three different levels consisting of two pools and an observation deck. Guðlaug Baths offers an incredible ocean view in a beautiful surrounding. With a direct connection to the beach below so visitors can easily take a dip into the North Atlantic Ocean.

Akranes is only a about 30 minutes drive from Reykjavik. As it is not situated on the Ring Road there are not many tourists that visit. A true hidden gem in Iceland which is easy and well worth exploring.

Glymur Waterfall in Hvalfjordur.
Glymur Waterfall.

Glymur Waterfall

Glymur Waterfall is Iceland’s highest waterfall. It is also among the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Hidden deep in a great canyon at the bottom of Hvalfjörður Fjord, it’s known for its spectacular scenery.

Glymur Waterfall is also one of the best hiking experiences in Iceland. In order to see Iceland’s highest waterfall visitors need to make a 7,5 km (4,7 mi) round hike from a parking lot below. It is a challenging hike in which the trail is both steep and crosses streams of water. The view is worth the hard work we guarantee!

The Town of Borgarnes

Borgarnes is a town in the center of West Iceland with the Ring Road of Iceland going through the town. It is therefore an important commercial center for goods and service in West Iceland. 

Borgarnes is among the most visited towns in Iceland as most traveling to West Iceland, North Iceland, Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords will pass through the town while driving in Iceland.

Deildartunguhver Hot Spring

Deildartunguhver is a hot spring in the geothermal area of Borgarfjörður in West Iceland. Not only is it Iceland’s largest hot spring, it also is the highest flow hot spring in all of Europe.

Deildartunguhver hot spring is a great place to see the geothermal energy in Iceland. Visitors can walk up to the hot spring where the boiling hot water emerges from the geyser. It is also home to Krauma Geothermal Baths where visitors can enjoy the hot water in luxury.

Deildartunguhver hot spring in West Iceland.
Deildartunguhver hot spring.

Icelandic Sagas at Reykholt

Reykholt is historically important in Iceland. It is the birthplace of Iceland’s most valuable treasure, the Icelandic Sagas.

For centuries it was a center of both power and education in Iceland. The area has a rich history which is still present today. The historic value is perhaps best demonstrated in Snorralaug, the oldest hot spring pool in Iceland. Dating back to the 12th century.

Hraunfossar Waterfalls

Hraunfossar Waterfalls are the most unique waterfalls in Iceland. A natural wonder and an absolute must see in Iceland.

Hraunfossar, means Lava Waterfalls. Water from the river Norðlingafljót flows into a lava field and comes out on the other end. Seeing the water rushing straight out of the lava field and into the white glacier river below, truly is a magical experience.

See: Must See Waterfalls in Iceland

Barnafoss Waterfall is another spectacular waterfall worth mentioning. It is just a stone throw away from Hraunfossar Waterfalls and within the same area. A beautiful waterfall with a dark history of children drowning there, as they attempted to pass the river on a natural stone arch bridge.

The remains of the stone arch can be seen on the site as well as the intense power of the river.

Hraunfossar Waterfalls in West Iceland.
Hraunfossar Waterfalls.

Húsafell Forest

This might be the smallest forest you have seen but by Icelandic standard Húsafell Forest is huge. Húsafell is one of the most popular camping sites in Iceland. There campers can camp in the bush forest with access.

There is a public swimming pool, restaurants, a shop as well as a golf course at Húsafell Forest.

Visitors can also stay at a luxury hotel, fine dining. There is also an information center where visitors can book tours to nearby attractions such as Húsafell Canyon Baths, Langjökull glacier and more.

The Cave Vidgelmir

Víðgelmir Cave is a true natural wonder in West Iceland. It is one of the largest known caves in Iceland and the best preserved cave in Iceland. Located in the lava field called Hallmundahraun, the largest lava field in the region.

There is a visitor center from which the tour to the cave starts. Entering Víðgelmir Cave is a unique experience in the volcanic underworld of Iceland.

Víðgelmur Cave in West Iceland.
Víðgelmur Cave.

Langjökull Glacier

Langjökull Glacier is a large glacier in Iceland and by far the greatest glacier in West Iceland.

Tours up to the glacier are available from Húsafell Forrest as well as other tourist and information centers in West Iceland. Offering tours up to the ice cap, by trucks and snowmobile. It is also possible to visit a massive man made ice cave called Into the Glacier. A one of a kind experience in Iceland.

Rent a Car For a Trip to West Iceland

Now you should be prepared to plan the perfect road trip in Iceland. The only thing left is to book a rental car in Iceland. 

For individuals traveling alone in Iceland we recommend a compact car such as the Kia Niro for traveling to the West in Iceland. For larger groups traveling to the West in Iceland or driving in winter, we recommend an SUV such as a Dacia Duster, Jeep Compass or larger.