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Quite a sight. The Red Sand beach of the Westfjords. PIC Axel Kristinsson

Quite a sight. The Red Sand beach of the Westfjords. PIC Axel Kristinsson

N ot too many visitors to Iceland make the effort to visit the Westfjords of the country. Indeed, local inhabitants of the area are fleeing the place in droves because of the many difficulties in making a life here. That´s exactly why you should visit.

The difficulty is understandable from a local perspective. The whole peninsula is mountainous and more jagged than the face of Mick Jagger making most everything difficult. Roads are bad and many just get impassable as soon as the first snows touch the ground here. Electricity cuts off once in awhile in the worst weathers and mobile connection is haphazard at best.

But the problems, for the most part, belong to wintertime. Arrive in summer and likelihood is your travels around here will take far longer than expected. Simply because there is something exciting to see at every step of the way and you´ll have to take photos or pose for a selfie or simply just be awed for a few minutes.

One place in particular that does not get the raves it most certainly deserves is the official westernmost point in Iceland and whole of Europe apart from the Azores-islands. Latrabjarg is the name given for a row of sheer cliffs lining this westernmost part of the country. In some places the solid walls of rock rises straight up 450 meters. Absolutely not a favorite stop for anyone fighting fear of heights.

On the other hand, this is a paradise for bird watchers and bird lovers. The cliffs are completely awash in birds and Latrabjarg cliffs are indeed, the largest bird-cliffs in Europe. Quite easy to spend forget oneself just by watching the show even though the noise can be quite overwhelming at times.

An added bonus here is the local lighthouse which stands uncomfortably close to the edge of the cliffs. In later years, this has been turning into a tourist shop but a very nice one and the numbers of tourists are still pretty limited. This could change rapidly though if same numbers of people continue to make Iceland their destination of choice.

But do not dare quit reading here. There is more to this place than “just” the largest bird-cliff in Europe and astonishing lighthouse. Venture a few kilometers to the Southeast from here, in a small bay, you´ll find one of only a handful of red beaches in the country. Yeah, we said red.

Red sand beach is the literal translation of Raudisandur beach. It is actually deep red and provides a stunning contrast to the greenery around should folks visit in high summer. Certainly a marvel to see and generally people can have the whole beach to themselves since tourists are few and far between. There is little mystery regarding the special color though. A few miles out in Breidafjordur bay lie tremendous numbers of a species of red colored scallops. The shells wash up here in high quantities coloring the sand as well.

If a lover of nature and natural things a visit here is a must. Half a day in good weather will make you sigh with pleasure. But take note accommodation in these parts are very limited and the roads to here are much less than lovely. A 2WD will suffice but careful driving will be needed. Team Total Iceland recommends bringing a tent and make do for 24 hours.