The Hvalfjordur area in Iceland offers a range of beautiful natural attractions and activities. Hvalfjordur literally translates to “the whale fjord”. The name is derived from the large number of whales which could be found and caught here. The only whaling stations in Iceland is still located in this fjord, although, it is highly unlikely to spot a whale there. The fjord is approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) long and five (three miles) kilometers wide and is surrounded by volcanic mountains and green terrain in the summer months.
Majority of travelers cut across the fjord via the aprox. 5,8 km long submarine tunnel that opened in 1998, but it is possible to drive around Hvalfjörður via route 47, a detour from the Ring Road that adds an hour to the drive. Staying at the Nordic Lodges, Brekka and Langholt is the perfect base for exploring the beauty of Hvalfjordur and the surroundings.
Interesting things to see and do in Hvalfjordur West Iceland
Hiking trails and nature walks in the forgotten gem
You can explore plenty of hiking trails around the area such as Síldarmannagotur, leading towards the north, and Leggjabrjótur, leading towards the east. There are several trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, hidden waterfalls, and peaceful spots where you can connect with nature.
Glymur Waterfall – second-highest waterfall in Iceland
Hike to Glymur waterfall in the river Botnsá at the bottom of the fjord, the second-highest waterfall in Iceland. The trail takes you through a scenic canyon and offers breathtaking views of the waterfall cascading down into the gorge. Basically, the hike takes between 2 and 3 hours and is not an easy walk, even if it is doable for most people. It is a summer hike as winter conditions make it inaccessible.
Old whaling station – the only one in Iceland
Hvalfjörður was home to one of the main whaling stations in Iceland, with ships heading out into Faxaflói Bay. It was one of the most important naval stations in the North Atlantic during World War Two, when Iceland was occupied by the Allies after the Nazis conquered Denmark.
Visit the War and Peace Museum
The War and Peace Museum located in Hvalfjörður, where you can delve into the captivating history of Iceland’s Allied occupation from 1940 to 1947. This period of occupation transformed the tranquil landscapes of Hvalfjörður into a stage for significant global events. The museum includes an elaborate collection of monuments and memorabilia related to the history of the occupation in Hvalfjörður.
The museum showcases a diverse range of exhibits, each shedding light on different aspects of the occupation. The museum displays dedicated to topics like children and their toys, nursing, convenience stores, the Icelandic Coast Guard, security and defense, barber shops, Russia, Nazi Germany, Britain, and the United States.
Situated within a comprehensive complex, the War and Peace Museum also offers additional amenities for visitors to enjoy. These include a campsite, a children’s playground, and a swimming pool featuring inviting hotpots.
Hvammsvík Natural Geothermal Sea Baths
A popular attraction located in the Hvalfjordur area of Iceland is Hvammsvík, natural geothermal pools that are heated by the earth’s underground geothermal activity. These pools provide a unique and relaxing bathing experience where you can soak in warm, mineral-rich waters while enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery. The geothermal sea baths are situated by the sea, offering picturesque views of the surrounding fjord and mountains. Immerse yourself in the warm waters and take in the breathtaking scenery, creating a tranquil and serene atmosphere.
Visit Akranes a lovely Icelandic harbor town
Akranes is a harbor town located near Hvalfjordur, and has lots to offer. Discover the Reykjanesviti Lighthouse. Take a bath in the unique natural pool of Guðlaug. Explore the Akranes Folk Museum. Embark on a hike up Akrafjall Mountain and be rewarded with breathtaking views extending beyond Akranes. It is also famous for its two lighthouses, right next to each other which are very often photographed by Northern Lights hunters. We recommend a relaxing walk along the Langisandur, a black sandy beach by the ocean.