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Extensive travel and tourism guide for Iceland, Europe

West-Iceland

Mystical, Mighty,Gentle and Gigantic

Easily reachable from Reykjavík via a 7 km tunnel under Hvalfjörður fjord, West iceland is a showcase of lava formations, geothermal activity and history. Woodlands are relatively common, and there are fine lakes and rivers for fishing, as well as grand scenery with chasms and waterfalls, overlooked by glaciers on the rim of the highlands.

Unique sights include Hraunfossar, a belt of cascades straddling rocks and birch along the edge of a lava field; Glymur, Iceland´s highest waterall (198 m); and Víðgelmir, one of the world´s largest lava caves at 198.000 m3, for guided tours to see otherworldly ice formations and stalactites.

West Iceland was home to some of the great names in Iceland´s cultural history and pays fitting tribute to them today. At Reykholt, an exhibition centre is dedicated to Iceland´s greatest saga writer, Snorri Sturluson, who lived there - visitors can even see the thermal pool where he took his daily dip. And a replica Viking Age farmstead has been built at Eiríksstaðir, home of Eirík the Red (who left it to settle Greenland) and birthplace of Leif the Lucky, who discovered America in the year 1000.

On Snæfellsnes peninsula, amazing works of nature culminate in the glittering glacier on mystical Snæfellsjökull - the area is Iceland´s newest national park. The shore abounds in bizarre rock formations and bird life, and coastal villages include Ólafsvík, a whale watching cruise base. From Stykkishólmur, travellers can take cruises or a ferry across Breiðafjörður Bay with its swirling waters, "countless islands" and period-piece houses on Flatey island, once a major cultural centre.

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