Iceland is not all about ice-filled cities – make the most of it with these seven tips

Reykjavík might be Iceland’s best-known destination, with its plethora of cool bars and Nordic city vibes, but the unspoilt Westfjords peninsula (the region that looks like fingers on the map) is the real stunner.

And while it used to be less traveled, the new Westfjords Way touring route means the rugged landscapes are much easier to explore by road in spring. Just remember to pack layers!

Rauðasandur is a beautiful 10 km long beach that changes color throughout the day

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Rauðasandur is a beautiful 10 km long beach that changes color throughout the day
The mother of all waterfalls in the Westfjords is the magnificent Dynjandi in Arnarfjörður

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The mother of all waterfalls in the Westfjords is the magnificent Dynjandi in Arnarfjörður

1. Stunning Beaches

You’ve probably heard of Iceland’s Gullfoss, but the mother of all waterfalls in the Westfjords is the magnificent Dynjandi in Arnarfjörður.

This beast plummets 100m down the black ledges and it only takes 15 minutes to hike to the top of the trail.

On the incredible coast with its black lava beaches that look like dark chocolate shavings, you can see seals sunning themselves all year round.

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Make sure you stop by Patreksfjörður, which also offers the majestic sight of Garðar BA 64 – Iceland’s oldest steel ship – rusting into its landscape. But not everywhere is black sand.

Rauðisandur (which means ‘red sand’) is a beautiful 10 km long beach that changes color throughout the day, from deep orange to shades of yellow and magenta.

2. Incredible hikes

The variety of hiking trails on Snæfellsjökull glacier on the Snæfellsnes peninsula make for invigorating adventures.

Spend the night in a rustic camping pod at Melanes’ – watch out for the sheep when you go to the loo! Pods are open from May to September and cost from £50 a night (Melanes.com).

From there, it’s a 15-minute walk to explore the ruins of Sjöundá, an old farm and the setting of a famous detective story, and then see haförn (sea eagles) in the sky and minke whales in the fjord.

3. Viking Tales

Unleash your inner Viking at the Eiríksstadir Living Museum in Búðardalur to hear tales of Icelandic warriors and Erik The Red, the explorer who founded the first settlement in Greenland.

Tours run from May to September and cost £15 (Eiriksstadir.is).

In Egill Olafsson’s collection at Hnjótur Museum in Örlygshöfn, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

Hop on a quad bike and zoom up gravel roads to the top of Þverfjall mountain in Ísafjörðu

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Hop on a quad bike and zoom up gravel roads to the top of Þverfjall mountain in Ísafjörðu

It’s packed with vintage pieces from the local fishing community – think anything from fish skin slippers to a full-size traditional wooden fishing boat. Open May to September, admission is £9.50 per person.

4. Super Soups

For a perfect lunch, try Flak in the tiny village of Patreksfjörður with just 721 residents.

This artsy bar/café offers just two delicious soups – vegetarian or fish – served with homemade crispbread and hummus, £15, while home-brewed beer is also on tap (flakflak.is).

The family-run fish restaurant Tjöruhúsið in Ísafjörður sits in a cozy wooden barn. There is no menu, but their reputation always comes first

Fish soup – probably the best soup you have ever tasted. A fantastic seafood buffet follows – from brown trout in lemon and cream to seared cod cheeks

in Garlic – £38 (+354 456 4419). Craving meat? Borgarnes is the gateway to Snæfellsjökull National Park but still has a village vibe.

Try lamb shank with hearty porridge at Englendingavík Homestay. Main courses start at £25 (Englendingavik.is/restaurant).

For a perfect lunch, try Flak in the tiny village of Patreksfjörður with just 721 residents.

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For a perfect lunch, try Flak in the tiny village of Patreksfjörður with just 721 residents.
Wash down fermented basking shark with a dash of traditional Brennivín

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Wash down fermented basking shark with a dash of traditional Brennivín

5. Adrenaline rushes

Hop on a quad bike and zoom up gravel roads to the top of Þverfjall mountain in Ísafjörður – you’ll feel like you can almost touch the clouds!

The panoramic view of the Skutulsfjörður fjord and the surrounding fjords is insane. Then drive flat out down to the Tungudalur valley with its autumn colored houses.

Two-hour tours cost from £160 for two people (Atv-isafjördur.is).

From the viewing platform on top of Mount Bolafjall in Bolungarvík, there are stunning views across the Ísafjarðardjúp and Jökulfirðir peninsulas – although avoid it if you are afraid of heights!

6. Outdoor dips

Tucked away just off the main road, the free geothermal baths in Reykjarfjörður Arnarfjörður have great views of the mountains and fjord. If you’re lucky, you can

take everything for yourself Also, don’t miss the steaming natural pool hidden in the grass just above.

The brand new Hvammsvík Hot Springs, 45 minutes drive from Keflavik Airport, offers eight natural springs where you can take a dip.

If you want to channel famous ice swimmer Wim Hof, you can even rent wading shoes and dive into the freezing ocean (if you dare!).

Then an energizing shot of Hvammsvík, packed with Astaxanthin – an antioxidant found in seaweed – £4. Entry costs from £43 (Hvammsvik.com).

Round up of sheep and lambs in autumn, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland

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Round up of sheep and lambs in autumn, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland

7. Local lagers

Don’t miss a visit to the family-run microbrewery Dokkan Brugghús in Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords.

This local favorite serves everything from finely brewed stouts like Skarfur to the very smackable lager Fossa Vatn (which means waterfall water).

Grab the bespoke sinks on the Loos for Insta and jam out to live music at the weekend (Dokkanbrugghus.is).

Plus, it wouldn’t be an Icelandic adventure without sampling hákarl – fermented basking shark – at a local pub.

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Wash it down with a dash of traditional Brennivín, an unsweetened schnapps made from fermented potatoes flavored with cumin.

The drink has been a favorite of Icelanders since 1935. Skal!

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/20367107/iceland-travel-fab-tips-bars-waterfalls/ Iceland is not all about ice-filled cities – make the most of it with these seven tips

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