The Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular shows and can frequently be seen in Akureyri and surroundings from September to mid-April on clear nights.
Why chase the crowds when the wonders of Iceland can be marvelled in a quieter setting? Step away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the top sights and attractions in the south-western part of Iceland, without all the traffic, in a smaller bus and with a smaller group (max 16). This peaceful excursion takes place in the afternoon and lasts into the evening and allows plenty of time to explore all the wonders encountered.
Make this a romantic tour for two, or bring family and friends. Either way, you are sure to have an experience that will be forever cherished. This is truly the best time of day to enjoy the magic of Iceland!
Akranes is the largest town in West Iceland and is only a 40 minute drive from the capital. It has a variety of shops and restaurants along with sports and leisure things to do and a vibrant cultural scene. The town is peaceful and family-friendly and within a short driving distance from some of the most popular and famous tourist attractions in West Iceland such as the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Mount Akrafjall towers over the town and is popular for hiking with easy trails and excellent views over Reykjavik city. Langisandur Beach is also worth visiting, especially during a hot summer day, and there are changing rooms and showers if you want to dip into the sea, and the Akranes Lighthouse has recently opened to the public and on a clear day, you can see over Reykjavik. The lighthouse’s caretaker is a local photography enthusiast who has set up a small art and photography exhibition inside.
The Akranes Folk Museum, the Icelandic Sports Museum, and the Mineral Kingdom are all within the Akranes Museum Center. It is the cultural centre of Akranes and is a popular thing to do for tourists in the area. The museums preserve a comprehensive collection of exhibits from past times, bearing witness to farming, housekeeping and social condition in and around Akranes. Houses, boats and ships are also on display, along with a selection of artefacts connected to seafaring and fishing.
Borgarfjörður is an area in western Iceland that is located by Faxaflói bay. There are several farms and villages within the fjord, the largest rural area being the town of Borgarnes which serves as a commerce centre for a large part of south-western Iceland. Borgarfjörður is rich with natural beauty, the mountains of the district are scenic and varied and many rare minerals have been found in the region. It also has excellent salmon rivers and the horseback riding culture is especially strong here and many horseback riding tours are available for travellers.
The tiny hamlet of Reykholt is one of the cultural highlights of any trip up the west coast. Reykholt has a lot of geothermal activity and the Medieval Snorralaug geothermal pool. Notable hot springs nearby are Skrifla, Dynkur along with Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver. You can also visit Snorrastofa, an excellent museum where you can learn about Iceland’s vibrant and, at times, downright confusing history of saga events, characters and writing. Snorrastofa is also an institute for research in medieval studies and offers historical exhibitions, guided tours, and lectures.
Hvanneyri was home to the famous Viking, Egill Skallagrímsson and now has a community of around 250 people. The Agricultural University here traces its roots back to the year 1889 and is very involved in the protection of the environment. You can visit the university to see the of the ancient Icelandic cow, (the original Viking cow), as well as visit the Agricultural Museum has an extensive collection of farm artefacts and Iceland’s largest collection of farm machinery dating back to 1880.
Borgarnes is one of the original settlement areas for the first Icelanders and is loaded with history and lots of interesting things to do. The town sits on a scenic promontory along the broad waters of Borgarfjörður and is close to many natural attractions and sights to see. In the old quarter, you can find a fun small-town vibe and one of Iceland’s best museums, the Settlement Center, where the the ancient sagas accessible to all ages,. and the Borgarnes Museums, a small museum housing two exhibitions - one on the children, and the other on the rich birdlife of Iceland.
For those travelling with children, or wanting to bring out their inner child, Bjössaróló is one of the attractions to see in West Iceland. It is an environmental playground built out of recycled materials. You’ll find slides built into the surrounding hills, swings, a jungle gym, spinning top and several lookout points. The playground also has a castle, an old boat, seesaws and a climbing dome. It is renowned as one of the best playgrounds in the country, a wonderland full of opportunities for fun. Furthermore, it gives an excellent view of the sea, so guests can take in the striking scenery.
The Snæfellsbær area includes the villages of Ólafsvík, Hellissandur and Rif. Tourism has become a fast growing industry because of tourists attracted to the beauty of nature, the strikingly beautiful Snæfellsjökull Glacier, and hiking tours through lava fields, as well as the magnificent coastline which is adorned with high cliffs and black and golden beaches. Other great attractions include the relics at Gufuskalar, and the old fishing stations at Djúpalón and Dritvík, as well as caves around the Glacier.
Snæfellsbær is a paradise for bird lovers and has one of the largest nesting colonies of Arctic Terns in the country, located between Hellissandur and Rif. From many places along the coast, you can also see seals and killer whales! The Snæfellsjökull National Park, covers around 170 square kilometres and includes a lot of fun hiking trails, the Snæfellsjökull glacier, and caves, such as Vatnshellir, Sönghellir and Vegmannahellir, that attract visitors all year round. The area is also the main scene of the Saga of Bárður.
You can find supermarkets, a pharmacy, a bank, a post office, a liquor store, and gas stations within the area, and the number of accommodations, and great cafés and restaurants have grown although some of these services are open only for part of the year.
Grundarfjörður is a growing community on the fjord Breiðafjörður and is characterised by a unique climate and unusually beautiful surroundings.
Grundarfjörður’s Mount Kirkjufell mountain is certainly one of the most famous mountains in Iceland, and photographers from all over the world to make their way to Grundarfjörður for the sole purpose of photographing this unique landmark which has even starred in a number of films, most recently The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Nature abounds with vibrant birdlife, wonderful waterfalls, excellent hiking trails and fascinating marine visitors such as seals and whales putting in an appearance every now and then.
Cultural and social activities thrive in the town with the active participation of both local residents and the district’s rural population. Nature, community life, and the area’s history have also attracted many tourists from both Iceland and other parts of the world to Grundarfjörður. During summer the town truly comes alive with the number of cruise ships docking each year and the Á góðri Stund festival, held the last weekend in July. During the festival, the town bursts into a rainbow when inhabitants and their guests decorate their houses in various colours and have fun things to do for the whole family, from art exhibitions, to fighting Vikings, to concerts on the pier.
Stykkishólmur is a beautiful town located by Breiðafjörður Bay and is known as the gateway to the innumerable islands, which are renowned for its natural beauty and remarkable wildlife. One of the best landmarks to see in Stykkishólmur are the old houses which reside in the midtown. The church in Stykkishólmur is also architecturally interesting and makes a beautiful landmark from land and sea. The town has excellent services for visitors, such as open Wi-Fi, hotels, a youth hostel, restaurants, cafés, museums, a geothermal swimming pool and a 9-hole golf course.
Dalabyggð is characterised by its rolling valleys heading inland and its narrow shoreline and is considered a family-friendly place to visit as it combines historical and cultural attractions with a fascinating world of wildlife and nature. It’s an ideal place to relax away from city life and learn about the Icelandic Sagas. Dalabyggð was a major setting for the sagas and served as the setting for one of the most popular - Laxdæla Saga. Ancient Icelandic sagas tell how Eirik the Red, who in 985-6 AD pioneered the settlement of Greenland, lived in Haukadalur valley at a place called Eiríksstaðir. His son, Leifur Heppni, or Leif the Lucky, was born there and a reconstruction of his birthplace has been built in Dalabyggð, based on the ruins of Eiríks farmhouse.
In addition, the area offers beautiful scenery for hiking and walking, and has good lakes and rivers for fishing and a diverse bird life. Other fun things to do include guided horseback riding tours, bird and seal watching, and swimming in the local geothermal heated outdoor pools. Visitors can also explore the Dalir Heritage Museum as well as local farms, such as Erpsstaðir, where you are offered to buy and taste local Icelandic food and get to know the way of life in Dalabyggð.
Búðardalur is the largest town in the municipality of Dalabyggð and is situated on the Hvammsfjörður in the north-west of Iceland. The village has around 270 inhabitants and is a service centre for the area, including the regional tourist information centre but the village has all necessary amenities. The village has a long history, dating back from the time of the first settlements in Iceland. The name of the town means ‘Camp Valley’ and it got the name because the settlers had temporary camps when coming into the area. Búðardalur was officially granted the right of commerce in 1899, and an old house from that time still stands in the village.