The Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve is an interesting area and one of the most unusual national parks in Iceland. If you Google its location, it will point you to a piece of the ocean that comes into a bay in Iceland. However, it’s not just the water that this bay covers. The entire bay area is protected, both the water and the land that make up an important ecosystem.
The Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve is highly biodiverse, although, at first glance, it only looks like a rocky beach with unusual rock formations sticking out from the water. More than 3,000 small to medium-sized islands of rock populate the bay. Many of these are home to protected species of birds and other wildlife.
The location of this nature reserve is also quite important. The bay separates the Snaefellsnes Peninsula from the Westfjords located in the West region of iceland. It is about 50 kilometers wide and 125 kilometers long (31 by 78 miles).
What are the Features of Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve?
The most notable features of the Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve include the wildlife you will see on the small islands, the basalt column cliffs on one of them, and the overall natural beauty of the area. It is also notable to mention that this isn’t only a protected area in Iceland and a UNESCO world heritage site.
How is the Geology of Breiðafjörður National Park Area?
The bay itself has a fascinating variety of geological features. However, even the outer ring is geologically rich as it is encircled by mountains. These mountains include the Snæfellsjökull volcano on the south side. The Western Fords peninsula is to the north of the bay. The area is protected because of the environment all these geological features have created. It houses almost all of Iceland’s intertidal area and a third of its coastline.
The islands include bedrock lifted out of the water during rift volcanism many millennia ago. There are also piles of basaltic lava islands and central volcanoes that are now extinct and form small landforms.
Is it Allowed to Climb in Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve in Iceland?
Because of the protections around the nature reserve, it is best to be very careful not to disturb wildlife in the area. Other than that, there are no specific rules about climbing in the nature reserve, and visitors are more than welcome to hike anyway that doesn’t have prohibitive signs in place.
What is the prominence of Breiðafjörður National Park for Iceland Culture?
The prominence of Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve is the abundance of wildlife it protects. Protecting this biodiversity is very important for all Icelanders, especially the people who live in the area. They can also help guide you so that you don’t accidentally harm the ecosystem.
What are the Tours for Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve in Iceland?
Some tours from independent companies will take you on a tour of the area in and around the bay. Companies like Iceland Tours and Evaneos give you tour ideas and some guided options, although neither of them offers this consistently, and so you must book to get a tour.
What are the Best Hotels for Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve?
Flatey is the only island in the bay that is classed as inhabited. During the summer, tourism blossoms in the area, and hotels reopen for visitors. This includes Hotel Flatey. If you want to stay on the mainland, you can stay in hotels on the northern coast of Snaefellsnes Peninsula like Hotel Breiðafjörður.
What to do in Breiðafjörður National Park?
Since the nature reserve consists of both land and water, there are things to do on both. You can kayak and sail through the bay to get a better look around some of the islands. There are also hiking trails around the coastline that allow you to get up close to some of the natural habitat.
Can you see Puffins in Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve?
You can see puffins if you visit the right parts of the nature reserve. Some of the other species of birds include Iceland Gulls, Common Eider, and European Shag.
How to Reach Breiðafjörður National Park
Reaching the bay from Reykjavik involves taking Route 49 from the city to get to Staedfellsness Peninsula. From there, it depends on how you want to approach the area. You can split off on numerous side roads to get to villages close to the bay and explore the area from there.