#fjord

Located in the heart of Vatnsfjörður fjord one of the most beautiful small fjords in the southern coast of the Westfjords, Flókalundur is a joy to visit and also a service center for tourists.  The landscape is beautiful as well as the view out to the ocean and the Breiðafjörður bay.  At Flókalundur you will find a restaurant, a good camping site, and accommodation.  It is a great place to stop if you are driving the Westfjords, both for a scenic stop and if you want to stay overnight.  It is located at the intersection of the Barðastrandarvegur road on the southern part of the Westfjords and the road leading up to Dynjandisheiði mountain road.  This road up to Dynjandisheiði is a kind of a shortcut when traveling the Westfjords as it bypasses the southwest part of the Westfjords.  If you take this road and leave out the southwest part, you are on the other hand, missing a very interesting and important part of the Westfjords, so it is not recommended. 

Hiking trails and wonderful landscape

At Flókalundur you will also find some wonderful short hiking trails and walk by the river Penna, and the canyon is a great evening walk during the bright summer nights. A hiking tour to the wonderful Hellulaug geothermal pool nearby is also a great evening storll by the shoreline and quite relaxing if you dip into the small pool. Vatnsfjörður fjord, as well as Flókalundur area and the surrounding area north up to the hills, is a nature reserve. The area was put on a protection list in 1975 for many reasons connected to geology as well as culture and history.  It is a significant place as Vatnsfjörður was the first place anyone tried a settlement in Iceland over a thousand years ago.

 

At Flókalundur you will also find some wonderful short hiking trails and walk by the river Penna

 

Streitishvarf is a small peninsula between the fjord Berufjörður and the bay Breiðdalsvík in eastern Iceland. The small 12-meter high lighthouse called Streiti at the tip of the peninsula is quite visible from the main road. A parking lot is on the road, and this is an excellent place to stop, take a short hike, admire the landscape north and south of the lighthouse and rest from your drive.  Hiking by the shore gives an excellent view of the mountains as well as to the sea and the coastline. It is actually a place where the locals like to come and hike.  Down by the coast, there are many interesting photo opportunities with rocks and cliffs in the foreground and mountains in the background.  It is an ideal place to stop and relax and enjoy the nature, the view and the rich birdlife by the cliffs. 

A gentle giant lives in a rock by the road

According to folklore in the eastern region, a giant lives in the rock near the road.  He has two brothers; one lives in the island Skrúður, not far from Steinshvarf and the other one lives in Papey island near the coast.  It is believed that this giant is good natured and is on good terms with his brothers. Once a year around Christmas time they meet for a chat. It has been documented that on at least one occasion some decades or centuries ago a very tired traveler stopped outside his rock or home called Srkúðskambur and sang a small verse he had composed himself. As he finished his verse the cliff opened, and a table of food and a bottle of wine was put in front of him. Although this is a true story we are not sure, this will be repeated for travelers today.  It might be worth it to try to sing a verse out loud once you are at the parking lot and see if the gentle giant will hand you a table of food and a bottle of vine.

Access is as easy as possible

As the parking lot is only a few steps or few meters from the main road Ring Road Nr. 1 access to Streitishvarf is quite simple.  It is basically a turn to the parking lot.  Even if you only stop for a short time, a walk to the lighthouse is a good way to stop and stretch your legs and rest from the driving.

Below is the location of Streitishvarf on the map of Iceland

Streitishvarf is a small peninsula between the fjord Berufjörður and the bay Breiðdalsvík in eastern Iceland.

On some of the routes in Iceland, there aren't  many natural wonders like waterfalls, hot springs or lagoons, but mountains and valleys which make these routes quite scenic. They are first and foremost pleasant drives, and any stop you make is to view spectacular surroundings rather than a particular place. The fjord Álftafjörður in the East Region in Iceland is one such place. It opens up on the Ring Road, Road Nr. 1 in Iceland, soon after you pass the spectacular Eystrahorn, it is a joy to drive and a place to stop for a picnic while leaving the South Region and entering the beautiful Eastern Region.

Put yourself in the middle of a natural wonder

The fjord is a natural wonder in itself, quite shallow with its sand bottom and sand reef and small islands closing it from the forces of the Atlantic Ocean, making it a perfect calm resting and living place for large birds like the Icelandic Whooper Swan.  Probably the reason that the name of the fjord is Álftafjörður or The Whoopers Swan Fjord. The fjord has a perfect lowland for a short hike if you park your car and wander out towards the shore on the south side of the fjord. Here you most likely will find the kind of peace, and quiet anyone traveling to Iceland should look for. Especially if you are not in a rush to go between natural wonders and check your list.  Álftafjörður is more like a place to find relaxation, a place to put yourself in the middle of a vast natural wonder rather than to view it and document with one camera shot.  Although quite photogenic it is more like a place for the mind.

West of the fjord in the mountains surrounding the four valleys

Up from the fjord are two valleys, Hofsdalur Valley and Geithelladalur Valley, where Hofsdalur also splits into tow valleys. So there is a lot to see and sense in addition to the spectacular view from the shore.  The fjord is also surrounded by many stunning mountains which some are accessible to gain a better view, especially on the southern side.  The mountains on the northern side are all quite high and steep.

Below is the location of Álftafjörður on the map of Iceland

 

The fjord Álftafjordur is a natural wonder in itself

A visit to some of the unusual places in Iceland sometimes depend on a few factors, like time of year, if the road is open all year round, weather and vehicle, etc.  But then again some of those places are pearls both as a sanctuary and as a scenic spot to enjoy the magnificent and peaceful wonders of nature.  One such place is the small bay Vöðlavík in the Eastern Region north of the large and long fjord Reyðarfjörður.  It is a place you can only visit from the beginning of July until the middle of September, and you also need a good 4WD vehicle to visit Vaðlavík.

Vöðlavík was a difficult place for living throughout the centuries

Although the bay Vöðlavík was mentioned in the Book of Settlement, written over a thousand years ago, it has always been isolated and a difficult place to live in.  The bay is open to the Atlantic ocean, and it's only defense is the sandy beach. Building a harbor in the bay is impossible. Throughout the centuries four farms have been occupied in the valley that extends from the bay to the surrounding mountains, although all of them have been deserted, and the farms are now used for recreational activities in summer.

Recant strands in winter

In October in 1996 in severe weather, a fishing boat from the Vesman Islands stranded on the beach at Vöðlavík.  From the moment the boat stranded it was obvious that the five fishermen aboard were in live threatening danger. It proved impossible for other fishing boats to throw them a lifeline and due to the weather and snow, it was extremely difficult to bring rescue teams from the nearby towns of Eskifjörður and Reyðarfjörður. In the end, after hours of finding their way over the mountains and through the snow and snowstorm, the courageous members of the rescue team made it to the beach. Fortunately, all the fishermen were rescued from this strand.  Another strand that claimed one life occurred in 1993 when a Rescue boat on a rescue mission was struck by a large wave.  Those two incidents only prove and demonstrate the harsh weather that can hit this otherwise beautiful place.

Vöðlavík in the Eastern Region in Iceland

Flögufoss is an impressive waterfall in the valley Breiðdalur in eastern Iceland.  It is a fairly high waterfall, around 60 meters, and located in beautiful surroundings with geology speaking out loud from every angle. In the midst of the geologically fascinating valley Breiðdalur.  Near the top of the waterfall, there is another small waterfall falling on a terrace and from that terrace the waterfall runs through a small stone arch all the way down to the bottom of the cliff.  Interestingly although the whole setup is thousands of years old, the waterfall changed its path to run through the stone arch only two decades ago.  The old waterfall path can be seen at the top by the arch’s side. Possibly some elves anticipated the growing tourism in Iceland and wanted to give the waterfall a natural wonder makeover. Whatever the reason, this has given the waterfall Flögufoss a much more striking look.

A waterfall with stunning surroundings

Behind the top of the waterfall, there is a magnificent mountaintop called Smátindsfjall or Smallpeakmountain. These are a group of steep and high peaks made of basalt over thousands of years ago. The peaks can also be seen from the next fjord Berufjörður south of Breiðdalsvík and Breiðdalur.  On that side, on the other hand, they are called Smátindur or Smallpeak.

Flögufoss is easily accessible from route one on the Ring Road

Flögufoss is easily accessible and only a few minutes drive from the main road 1 on the Icelandic Ring Road in Breiðdalur to a parking lot.  From the parking lot, there is a 15 minutes light hike to the waterfall. Wen driving from Breiðdalsvík you take a left turn on road 966 or a right turn coming from Egisstaðir, and you can't miss it The best way to get a good view is to walk up the slope on the left side until you see the whole waterfall, the stone arch and the mountain peak in the background.  But for photographers, there is a great challenge to combine this from a new angle and bear in mind that this waterfall has not been photographed very often.

Below is the location of Flögufoss on the map of Iceland

Flögufoss is easily accessible and only a few minutes drive from the main road one on the Icelandic Ring Road in Breiðdalur to a parking lot.

 

Klifbrekkufossar is a name for a series of small waterfalls one above the other at the bottom of the fjord Mjóifjörður in eastern Iceland. The waterfalls are a spectacular sight around 90 meters high and the best way to see them all in the same view is actually from the road and by the roadside at the bottom of the falls.  There is limited if any advantage to getting any closer or even climbing the side of the waterfalls to get a "better" view. 

Fed by multiple sources of water on the heath Mjóafjarðarheiði

The water coming from the top feeding the waterfall in the river Fjarðará is a spring-fed river and therefore not contaminated with dirt and various materials like the many glacial rivers in Iceland.   This makes the river quite clear and clean and gives the waterfalls an incredible feeling of purity. The river accumulates water from many sources in the heath above that goes up to one thousand and one hundred meters filled with small springs and lakes.

A waterfall only open in summer months

The name Klifbrekkufossar can be translated as Climbingslopewaterfalls.  The slope refers to the Mjóifjörður side of the mountain pass at Mjóifjörður heath that leads from the main road between Reyðarfjörður and Egilsstaðir on road 953 in Iceland to the fjord Mjóifjörður. The drive is 17 kilometers to the bottom of the fjord. 
Unfortunately, for waterfall lovers, the waterfalls are only accessible from June until September as the mountain pass leading to the narrow fjord is closed in winter. 

The waterfall should be referred to as a single waterfall

Although most often referred to as a series of waterfalls and the name is in plural, Klifbrekkufossar should be seen a single waterfall falling the 90 meters on a series of ledges.  It is by any measure one of the most spectacular sights in Iceland and among the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. 

Below is the location of Klifbrekkufossar on the map of Iceland

Klifbrekkufossar is a name for a series of small waterfalls one above the other at the bottom of the fjord Mjóifjörður in eastern Iceland.

Trékyllisvík in Strandir is a curious place. This remote cove, surrounded by spectacular mountains, looks benign enough. Still, it is the site that marked the start of a witch craze era in Iceland, when the local sheriff had three sorcerers burned at the stakes in 1654. They were responsible (and consequently found guilty) for the scandalous behavior of some women at mass in the Árnes church. Farfetched? Well, when was witch hunting ever logical? Anyroads, the burnings took place in a rocky rift called (quite appropriately) Kistan, The Coffin, along the seashore from Trékyllisvík.

Trékyllisvík has a reputation of being the harsh and exposed backbone of the Westfjords. Nevertheless, it has been a thriving fishing community across the centuries. It still has a lovely community with a primary school, a church and an old, remarkable church-yard.

The Cove is of a phenomenal nature and offers spectacular wildlife. On any given day, you will be able to observe seals and numberless species of birds in their natural habitat.

Creativity is a second nature to the locals, quite apparent in Kört, a museum/gallery selling exquisite local artifacts made of driftwood, stones, wool and textiles. It also has paintings and drawing based on the area's tumultuous history.

 

Trékyllisvík in Strandir is a curious place.

Although a small village, Djúpivogur has been around for a long time.

Djúpivogur is a small town in the Eastern Region in Iceland

Breiðdalsvík (Broad Valley Bay) is a tiny village in the East Region on the Ring Road with the same name as the bay where it stands. Like many small communities in Iceland, Breiðdalsvík traces its origin to trading in the 19th and 20th century.  Although by the seashore, the bay is shallow and loaded with large rocks and small islands.

Breiðdalsvík is a small town in the Eastern Region in Iceland
Stöðvarfjörður is a small town in the Eastern Region in Iceland

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