West, Iceland

West, Iceland

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Find the best place to stay — West

Warm, friendly people in a magnificent, chilly landscape

West Iceland is one of the eight regions of a country known for beautiful mountains, impressive volcanoes, and picturesque rivers and fjords. The West is a combination of glorious, unspoiled wilderness, tiny villages, and bustling towns, and the locals have a reputation for hospitality and national pride. Local museums reveal the area’s history as the site of thrilling scenes in historical Icelandic sagas, and rangers guide visitors through the national park on the West’s glacial peninsula. Come for the scenery, stay for more scenery. You’ll never be bored in West Iceland.

Rolling hills, steaming swimming pools, and craggy ice caves

On the northern edge of West Iceland is Dalir, a region of rolling grassland perfect for friends or families who crave hiking trails or peaceful dips in geothermally heated outdoor pools. Further south is the Langjokull ice cap, the second largest glacier in Iceland. Locals stress that it’s dangerous to explore the ice cap alone, but guided jeep and snowmobiling trips are wildly popular. If your West Iceland vacation rental is near Husafell, you’re in luck. Tours start there and take visitors into the glacier’s famous ice cave.

Homemade ice cream with a side of historic saga

Your West Iceland visit won’t be complete without a trip to the town of Borgarnes and its Settlement Centre museum. This is set in a restored warehouse near the town’s harbor and features exhibits about the history of Icelandic settlements and tells Egil’s Saga, an exciting adventure and one of the first examples of Icelandic literature. Another popular spot for kids of all ages is Erpsstadir, a dairy farm that welcomes guests on tours of the property, where you can meet the cows, chickens, and rabbits before enjoying delicious homemade ice cream.

Less icy than advertised and summer days that last all night

West Iceland is subarctic. Read: cold. Freezing temps are tempered, however, by the North Atlantic Current, and even in winter, you’ll find lows only in the teens. In summer, highs can be in the 40s or 50s. Most travelers find the long summer days – the sun barely sets at all in late June and early July – impossible to resist, but you can count on finding a West Iceland vacation rental to suit your bargain budget in the winter months. Just bring a fleece or two.

Lope through lava fields and gaze at glimmering Glymur

Snaefellsnes is the most prominent peninsula in West Iceland, and you may want to book your vacation rental nearby. Snaefellsjokull National Park occupies most of the peninsula’s western point and surrounds the rocky slopes of the Snaefellsjokull glacier. The park boasts lava fields that are home to native Icelandic birds, and whale-watching tours depart from its coastline. Iceland's second-tallest waterfall is also in the West. Take a hike – or go with a guide – to Glymur and take in the rushing water from a scenic overlook.