FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why would I want to go on holiday to North West Iceland?

The Westfjords offer something very different. There is a unique envioronment: towering mountains slope down in to dark fjords, fresh air, mountains, the arctic sea, wide open spaces, mountain paths and kilometre long single track tunnels. There is a very different culture to remind you that you are abroad, fascinating and unique people, and excellent fish. Getting there involves a challenging, yet rewarding journey; those who make it are invariably awestruck, check out the reviews

What is there to do when you get there?

The main selling point (if that is the right phrase) is the solitude and stunning scenery. You can spend many hours driving around the mountain roads enjoying the endless views, thats how most people spend their time there, you can see the photos on Flickr Most of the activities are outdoor type activities. The opportunities for walking are amazing, there are routes for all standards and levels of fitness, and if you want a challenge the mountains will provide this, just make sure that you are equipped. Other than walking, you can also go out on the sea, either in a boat or on a kayak. In the summer you can go out to the Hornstrandir national park, one of europes last wildernesses, or you could take the post boat to some of the single farm islands nearby. Nearby Isafjordur has all the services and activities you would expect on holiday, swimming, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, golf course, shops, museums, concerts, and lots of little small town activities like festivals etc etc etc. Plus, there is fishing. Theres even a beach there.

When is the best time to go?

The conventional tourist season lasts from Mid June to Mid August, however, the area has attractions all year round. In winter, you can see the northern lights and go skiing. The cross country ski season lasts through to May, where the area has an annual 32km ski marathon in the mountains around Isafjordur, attracting participants from around the world. In summer there is 24 hour daylight and this is the main tourist season as it has the warmest weather – up to 20+ degrees. Autumn is tranquil and very quiet.

Note that car hire, flights, and any other expenses (eg hotel in Reykjavik) are significantly cheaper outside of the June-August period, its well worth factoring that into your decision when to go.

Is it possible to visit the apartment in WInter?

I used to rent out the apartment in Wintertime, but do not any more as there were too many problems with bad weather and unpredictable road conditions. If you want to go to the area in wintertime you are better off staying in the hotel or in a locally run guesthouse. The weather can be extreme and there are occasional power failures. Road closures and flight cancellations are frequent. I don’t live in Iceland and as such I cannot gurantee the safety of my guests. This is not to put you off going in Winter time, it can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, you just need to be fully prepared.

How about car hire, how much does that cost?

Car hire in reykjavik costs anything from £25 a day upwards. If you hire a car in Isafjordur it costs more, from £50 upwards. To be honest, the best thing to do is rent a car in Reykjavik, but the flight from Reykjavik to Isafjordur is also an interesting experience. Having a car gives you more flexibility, but if you dont its not the end of the world, there are busses and taxis, and there are bikes in the house as well.

Is it in a volcanic area?

No, its right on the other side of the island in a non-volcanic area. Natural disaster wise they used to have a problem with too much snow, which caused avalaunches including one in 1995 that demolished several houses, but now because of changes to the local climate there is much less snow.

I want to see the Geysers, are they near there? can I visit those?

This is on a route called the golden circle, and can be done in a days drive from Reykjavik or on a bus tour.

What about the Blue lagoon?

The blue lagoon is right by the airport, most people visit it on the way home. Its a unique experience but it will set you back about 60 euros.

Is Iceland expensive?

Most of the people that visit Iceland do so on a budget, and the costs are about the same as anywhere else in Western europe. Having said that, it is important to recognise that the country is not cheap, everything still has to be imported and (as this is a nordic country) taxed heavily. In summary the costs are on par with elsewhere in Western Europe.

How much is a pint of beer?

between £3 and £6, dependent on the exchange rate and what bar you are in.

How much is a meal out?

It’s suprisingly reasonable, between £5 – £20. As with most restaurants around the world, the best deals are at lunchtime. The pub in Flateyri, the Vagninn, does exceptionally good food in summer for around £10 each, this is served to order all day. Otherwise you will need to drive to Isafjordur, 20 minutes away. My run down of the options is available here.

What about food in the supermarket?

There is a discount supermarket in Isafjordur, Bonus. Overall, the prices work out similar to somewhere like Sainsburys, but you need to shop carefully as some things are expensive.

What about the nightlife?

There are a few bars in Isafjordur and one club. There are lots of concerts by local bands, who are well regarded. The local pub in Flateyri, the Vagninn, is a legendary pub on the icelandic indie scene, they quite often have bands travel up from Reykjavik to play gigs especially. But obviously the best nightlife is in Reykjavik, you might want to set aside time and money to experience this, if of interest to you.

Do you have a guesthouse license?

In line with Icelandic law, as I rent the apartment out for periods of less than a week, I am required to have a guesthouse license from the local police department. For you, this means that the building has been inspected, and certain standards in terms of health and safety and fire protection have been met. However, the property is managed as a vacation rental and the prices are set out accordingly. If you are looking for a guesthouse, with the associated on-site services, there are a number of locally owned businesses who would welcome your custom. Contact the Westfjords tourism board for advice.

The apartment sleeps four, but there are more than four people in our group.

That isn’t a problem, you can rent one of the apartments across the road, or just a room in one of them, or use the airbed in the lounge.

How did you buy a house there? Can I buy one?

Its a complicated process. But it is possible, if you like the place as much as I do, and dont mind the costs and hassle of getting there.

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