Breiðafjörður – West-Iceland
Breiðafjörður, West-Iceland is a bay between the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjord.
Geography of Breiðafjörður
Breiðafjörður is 78 miles (125 km) long and 31 miles (50 km) wide at its widest. Its surroundings are mountainous, and the Snæfellsjökull glacier is sitting on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, at the southern side of the entry to the bay.
The mountains at the northern side of the bay’s entrance are some of the oldest in the country, formed 15 million years ago. As you travel towards land, they become considerably younger, with those at the furthest inside the fjord being half that age. This is due to the movements of the tectonic plates in Iceland, which are pulling apart at a rate of around an inch a year (2cm).
History of Breiðafjörður
Around 3000 islands and rock outlets are throughout Breiðafjörður. Very few of these are populated year-round, although many used to be, Flatey, for example, was once home to a monastery. An important medieval manuscript, Flateyjarbók one of the Icelandic Sagas, was written there, describing sagas of Norse kings and including collections of poetry.
Most importantly, Flateyjarbók recounts the first settlements made by Europeans on Greenland, under Eiríkur the Red. This was considered a legend until recent archaeological digs in revealed the story to be true. The exploration of the new world was led by the Eiríkur the Red’s son Leifur Eiríksson (Lucky Leif), who discovered North-America and settled in L’Anse aux Meadows over 1,000 years ago.
Today, Flatey’s year-round population is just five people. Like many of the other islands, however, it has many more residents in summer. Breiðafjörður is full of wild life, due to the fact that it is a breeding ground for much of the country’s fisheries. Fifty species of bird nest on the islands, including the common shag, the black guillemot, the brent goose and the white-tailed eagle. Puffins also nest in Flatey. Many of these species are migratory, however, and only can be seen from May to September.
All year round, it is often possible to see a variety of marine mammals in the bay. Most common are the grey seals and harbour seals, which can be seen swimming and hauling out on the rocks. The lucky ones, however, may also see common porpoises and white-beaked dolphins, and even the occasional minke whale.
It should be noted that Breiðafjörður is one of the best parts of the country to see orcas, although they are quite uncommon.
Duration 8 days
(8 days & 7 nights on board).
Day 1, Welcome to Iceland!
Our car service will pick you up at your location in Reykjavík (hotel or other). We head to the Snæfellsnes peninsula with its beautiful mountain ranges, numerous beaches, lava caves, waterfalls and mineral hot springs. At the end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the majestic Snæfellsjökull volcano made famous in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of Earth. You will board the yacht Vera at Stykkishólmur by the end of day 1.
Days 2, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
We depart from Stykkishólmur, Snæfellsnes and head for the islands filled with wildlife, including puffins. The islands in Breiðafjörður are one of his main puffin habitats during the summer time. Seals and whales are often around as we sail to the famous islands of Flatey with a summer population of around 100 inhabitants. Arriving in Flatey is like stepping back in time. No cars are on the island and most buildings date back to the 19th century.
Days 3 – 7, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, North Shore
When leaving Flatey and heading to the Westfjords, we will visit Rauðisandur (Red Sands), a golden beach on the south coast of the Westfjords. From there we sail by Látrabjarg, Europe´s largest bird cliff, 8 nm (14km) long and up to 440m (1500 feet) high. Látrabjarg is host to millions of birds including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots and razorbills. The cliffs are vital for their survival, as it hosts up to 40% of the world-population of some species, e.g., the Razorbill. If the weather allows we´ll spend the afternoon hiking along the cliffs and enjoying close contact with the puffins, who are quite approachable in this area.
The last couple of days will be spent exploring Breiðafjörður ending the expedition in Grundarförður with its famous Mt. Kirkjufell. Our driver will pick you up at Grundafjörður and take you to Reykjavík, a 3 hour drive.
- Transportation from Reykjavík to Stykkishólmur and from Grundarfjörður to Reykjavík.
- Accommodation in made up double cabins (bunks), all en-suite with showers.
- All meals on board the yacht.
- Airfare to and from Iceland.
- Individual insurance.
- Excess baggage charges.
- Charges or items of personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages (available for extra charge)
Departure dates: Our eight day tours start on Thursdays.
Book now – Contact us