Or will I be doomed to sit in a hotel room and gaze forlornly at the Arctic Circle?
March 3, 2009 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Would it be worthwhile to go to the West Fjords of Iceland in springtime?

I am spending a few days in Iceland on a stopover at the end of April and am flirting with the idea of flying up to Ísafjörður to drive and/or hike around the fjords for a couple of days. So, "worthwhile" in the sense that the roads are likely to be open/nonhazardous and the weather won't be bone-chilling. (...and that flights won't be canceled for the same reasons.)

The guidebooks I've looked at give travel advice for summer, fall, and winter, but are curiously silent on springtime. Should I just stick to Reykjavík and the Golden Circle and save this diversion for a warmer time of year?
posted by kittyprecious to Travel & Transportation around Iceland (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Iceland at the end of April several years back and rather than stick to Rekjavik/Golden Circle thing we hired a guide who brought us out into the wilds of of the countryside for 3 days. It's not to be missed, I think it was the perfect time of year to go.

I can't speak specifically about the fjords area, but everything we saw in the countryside was fantastic that time of year, from the glaciers, to the black sand beaches, to the stunning Iceberg lagoon to the surreal pillow fields made of moss and the endless miles of nipple hills (looks exactly like what you're picturing).
It was chilly, but the roads were clear (our guide even cut us loose and gave us his SUV and a map on the last day cuz his wife was sick-no issue with the roads at all).
Do not miss the blue lagoon.
There is a website that has links to all the well known guides in Iceland, if you contact one of them, I'm sure that they could tell you specifically about the fjords.

A quick google came up with www.randburg.com/is/tourism/tours.html

Not the one I was looking for, which featured individual people as tour operators, but it should give you some quick info.
posted by newpotato at 1:49 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

These guys would know.
posted by alexwoods at 3:04 PM on March 3, 2009

A few years back I went to Iceland, I think for 6-7 days, in the early spring. We stayed in Rekjavik but rented a light SUV and drove around the backcountry on day trips. It was spectacular. In the spring you get the icemelt, so the streams are all full, plants are just starting to green up, there's still snow in places ... just beautiful. (Photos here are all from that trip.)

I've actually been thinking about doing it again this season, with the S.O. who has never been.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:45 PM on March 3, 2009

If the roads are alright, I highly recommend you check out Strandir. It's not that far from Ísafjörður, is little inhabited, and has some of the most spectacular nature you'll see in the northwest. This place might be a decent place to stay. I know that there are plenty of hiking trails, and I believe you can get rented boat tours to see the cliff coastline.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:12 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

First, a word of warning, the weather might be absolutely awful, which would put a crimp into any kind of enjoyment. That said, the West Fjords are stunning and much unlike any other kind of landscape I've ever been to. Ísafjörður is a really nice little town with surprising amounts of cultural life. Breiðafjörður, the bay between the West Fjords and Snæfellsnes is also an interesting place to sail around, and good for whale watching, though not for those with a tendency towards sea sickness. And there's a ton of other stuff, I agree with Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Strandir.
posted by Kattullus at 10:06 AM on March 14, 2009

I should add that the guesthouse I linked to is in Hólmavík. It's less than 400 people, so it's the largest village in Strandir. But it's also home to the Museum Icelandic of Sorcery and Witchcraft, which is a must.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:52 AM on March 14, 2009

Thanks for all the feedback...the trip is now less than three weeks away and I've elected to rent a car at Keflavik and just drive as far north as is safe and passable.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:00 AM on April 6, 2009

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