Vestfirðir (Westfjords): Municipalities, Population, Area, Density

Vestfirðir

Vestfirðir translates to ‘Westfjords’ in English. The Westfjords of Iceland is the most sparsely populated and difficult to travel to region in Iceland. It is a large peninsula, although not the largest in Iceland. Its population has steadily declined since the 1920s because of a decline in the value of the fishing industry. 

Back in 1920, the Westfjords had a population of about 13,443, which was more than 14% of Iceland’s total population at the time. Currently, the population is only 7,115, which is less than 2% of Iceland’s population. All of these are spread out over the region’s 22,271 square kilometers (8,599 square miles). 

This makes its population density very low, even for iceland. It is only 0.3 people per square kilometer or 0.8 people per square mile. 

The municipalities in the Westfjords include these.

  • Árneshreppur
  • Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður
  • Ísafjarðarbær
  • Kaldrananeshreppur
  • Reykhólahreppur
  • Strandabyggð
  • Súðavíkurhreppur
  • Tálknafjarðarhreppur
  • Vesturbyggð

Where is Vestfirðir Located?

The Westfjords is the peninsula portion of Iceland that sticks off the northwestern coast of the island. Its southern border only touches a small part of the rest of the regions of Iceland, limiting its accessibility during the winter months.

How do You Get to the Westfjords in Iceland?

Most people will travel from Reykjavik to get to the Westfjords. It will typically take four or five hours to get there. Typically you will take Route 1 north until you hit Route 60. This road will take you into the Westfjords. From here, you will need to direct yourself towards your specific destination.

Is Vestfirðir Biggest Region of Iceland?

No. It has a small population and is not the largest landmass region in Iceland.

What is the population of Vestfirðir Region in Iceland?

The population of the Westfjords is only 7,115 people, which has decreased significantly over the last 100 years as more people move towards urbanized areas.

Which cities are in Vestfirðir Region of Iceland?

There are no full-blown cities in Iceland the Westfjords. In fact, many of the settlements in this region practically empty out during the winter. Some of these include Minnibakki, Baeir, Hrafnseyri, and Hagi. 

What to do in Vestfirðir Region?

One of the best places to see puffins is also in the Westfjords. It is a series of coastal cliffs that feature great sea views and houses hundreds of puffins. Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a breathtakingly beautiful part of the country to visit, featuring all kinds of waterfalls, windswept Icelandic tundra, and wildlife.

What are the Hotels in Vestfirðir?

Hotels are scattered across the Westfjords, some of them in seemingly random rural areas where there used to be more of a settlement. Some of these include Gauksmyri, which also has a horse ranch. The Arctic Hotel has a thermal pool, and the Siglo Hotel gives you an excellent ocean view from its pool.

What are the Glaciers in Vestfirðir?

The only glacier in the region is Drangajökull. It is the fifth-largest glacier in Iceland.

What are the Natural Attractions in the Westfjords of Iceland?

While the Westfjords might be remote, this makes their natural features even more distinctive. The coastline of the Westfjords alone is worth the trip. Another natural attraction to visit is the Dynjandi waterfall. There is also Raudisandur, a red-sand beach unique to almost the entire island. 

What are the Mountains in Vestfirðir?

The Westfjords are very mountainous. It is because of this that the land is very limited in use, almost exclusively restricted to sheep grazing near the fjords. The best mountains for climbing, photography, and excellent views include Bolafjall and Kaldbakur.