Beaches in every hue

The beaches of the Westfjords tell their own story. Majestic, unexplored and different, it’s time you got acquainted with them.

Sure, they aren’t the Bahamas or Hawaii, but the beaches of the Westfjords need to be nothing other than themselves. They have nature on their side.


Did this beach get its name from the colour of the sand, or the famous settler of the area, Armodur raudi Thorbjarnarson or Armodur the Red? Either source is credible as the origin of the name Raudasandur. What is most amazing about it is that the sands appear to change in colour with the sun: from yellow to red. stretched out in elegant silence for around 10 km from the Latrabjarg bird cliff in the west towards Skorarhlidar mountainside in the east.

The road leading to Raudasandur is a gravel road, winding and tricky, and needs careful and slow driving. Once you descend the mountain, there is a camping area.

If you’re lucky, the sight of grey seals on the beach will greet you in the summer.


This is another beach near the famous Latrabjarg birdwatching cliffs. The USP of this beach is its golden sands, most unusual for a volcanic country like the Iceland. This gives the area a summery feel and an ambience distinct from the rest of the country. A little church by the shore and accommodation facilities add to its appeal.

This area is a must stay for birdwatchers to marvel over the dozens of species that nest here, especially puffins, from May to August.

Orlygshofn Cove

This is another of Iceland’s relatively rare golden beaches, on the southern shore of Patreksfjordur fjord. What adds to the spectacular sight is the juxtaposition of the royal blue waters of the fjords. Don’t miss the sunsets in the summer or the display of the northern lights in winter. Despite being sparsely populated, there are plenty of lodges and guesthouses.

This is also a popular beach for horse riding. Another attraction is the Egill Olafsson museum, which offers a closer look at life in the southern Westfjords-including an American plane and a Viking boat. Set up over 30 years back, it also has a cafe and various exhibits.


Holt in Onundarfjordur is lovely even by the standards of the Westfjords. It largely owes its beauty to the beach which curls out into the fjord in all its pristine magnificence. Great to walk and hike around. Furthermore, it’s also a protected eider duck nesting area.


This is the isolated and wild bay westwards from Bolungarvik. It was populated until the 1960s and since then is largely desolate. However, former residents and locals have restored some of the houses and built new summerhouses. On a summery day, it is perfect to take a walk or even swim in the chilly river. A wonderful place to visit with kids in tow. On the way from Skalavik, you could consider driving to the top of Bolafjall mountain and gasp at the view below.


Many villages were abandoned in the 1950s due to the general decline of the fishing industries that kept them alive. Hesteyri on Hornstrandir is among them. Today, the beach there, which features the remains of an abandoned Norwegian whaling station, provides great opportunities for hiking and spotting the Arctic fox. The former town also has a guesthouse and options for camping. Sailing to Hesteyri from Isafjordur or Bolungarvik is almost as much fun as the beach once you get there.


Not far from Bildudalur, along the southern shore of Arnarfjordur fjord, you will find Ketildalir: a series of short valleys linking the sheer mountains to the sea. A remarkably scenic and peaceful spot to explore – even in a region famous for such things – not everybody expects to encounter lions! Yes, one of the valleys, called Selardalur, does indeed play host to lions – and all manner of other concrete creatures as well. They were made by the quirky and eccentric artist Samuel Jonsson and are now preserved as one of Iceland’s most charming museums.

Black, red, golden… Take your pick or do it all!

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