Top Things to do in Holmavik Iceland – Explore the Eastern Westfjords of Iceland
The remote Westfjords of Iceland
The Westfjords area is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland and the least populated region in Iceland. Only few visitors visit this rough but beautiful area since it is a bit away from the popular ring road. The Westfjords might seem small on a map, but they actually stretch over 22,000 km2. There is so much to see and explore in this unique area of Iceland. This article concentrates on the Eastern Westfjords with its largest municipality Holmavik.
Introduction Holmavik Iceland
Holmavik (or Hólmavík in Icelandic) is a town in the Westfjords of Iceland. Holmavik is the largest town in the area called Strandir with about 375 inhabitants. It is located at the Steingrimsfjordur a fjord which is famous for its calmness. Holmavik is the entrance to the Westfjords when driving anticlockwise around Iceland or the last highlight of the Westfjords when driving clockwise. In this article we want to introduce you the best things to do in Holmavik.
Whale Watching in Holmavik Iceland
Joining a whale watching tour in Holmavik is a very unique and special experience. The fjord is incredibly sheltered from most wind directions meaning the boat ride is usually very smooth and calm and tours rarely have to be canceled. It is probably the only whale watching trip in Iceland where sea-sickness is no issue at all. Therefore this is the perfect trip for travelers who are afraid of getting sea sick. One traveller summarised the trip in a very nice way “Hólmavík may not have [yet] a reputation for whale watching. Fortunately, no one told the whales.”
Another advantage of Holmavik are the rich fish grounds close to town. The whales usually stay very close to the harbor so it takes only a little while to reach them. This makes whale watching from Holmavik very convenient for inpatient children or travellers with limited time since the total duration of the tour is only 2 hours. And last but not least, this whale watching is also the most affordable option in Iceland seeing whales by boat. Learn more about whale watching in Holmavik operated by the tour operator Láki Tours.
Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik
A must see in Holmavik is the museum of Icelandic sorcery and witchcraft. The museum provides a fascinating inside to the witch craze in Iceland from the first witch trial until the last witch burning. It combines historical facts with Icelandic folklore connected to magic and sorcery. The museum also runs a small restaurant where emphasis is placed on seafood.
Things to do in Holmavik – Visit the Local Swimming Pool
The swimming pool of Holmavik is located in the middle of the town. The pool was constructed in 2004 and offers a lovely pool area with a 25-metre swimming pool, hot tubs, a wading pool, and a sauna.
Hiking in Holmavik
When looking for hiking opportunities in Holmavik Iceland, we recommend the hike to Kalfanesborgir that starts at the camping ground. It is a relatively short and easy hike. From the top of the hill you can enjoy the view over the town. If you are really lucky you might also spot a humpback whale in the Steingrímsfjordur fjord. When walking back, you can either follow the same route or you take an extra loop towards the ocean on the other side until you reach the old mainroad. Follow the road back to town.
Go on a Horseback Riding Tour close to Holmavik
Do not miss the chance to go on a great horseback riding tour close to Holmavik. The tour operator Strandahestar offers 1-hour and 3-hour tours in a beautiful surrounding.
Puffin Tour to Grimsey Island from Drangsnes
Grimsey in Steingrimsfjordur is the biggest island of the strandir region. Please do not confound it with the island in the North of Iceland touching the Arctic Circle that has the same name. Grimsey island close to Holmavik is uninhabitated and a heaven for birdlovers. Grímsey has the largest island nesting site for puffins. The estimated quantity is 300.000 birds and there of about 80.000 nesting couples. A guided boat tour is available from Drangsnes located about 30 kilometers away from Holmavik. From there, it takes only 10 minutes by boat to reach this island. It is allowed to enter the island and your guide will walk with you around and will give you an interesting introduction to the local history and the nesting seabirds. Read more about this puffin boat tour to Grimsey Island.
Sheep Farming Museum close to Holmavik Westfjords
The Sheep Farming Museum is a small exhibition about the Icelandic sheep and sheep farming. This museum houses also a little cafe that offers homemade cake. In summer, there are usually also some lambs at the museum where children can help with the feeding.
The Drangsnes Hot Pots
When looking for a unique Icelandic bathing experience the hot pots in Drangsnes are a must visit. The hot pools in Drangsnes are heated up by geothermal hot water and are located right next to the shoreline in the middle of the village. You can easily spot them from the road. The visit is free of charge. Guests are only advised to take a shower before entering the hot tubs.
The Abandoned Herring Factory in Djupavik
It takes a little while to reach Djupavik since you have to follow a bumpy road for about 70 kilometers from Holmavik . But we feel it is absolute worth to include this unique place to your travel itinerary. The herring factory, built in 1935, was at this time the largest factory and also the largest concrete building in Iceland. But it took not long and the herring completely disappeared all around Iceland. Therefore since 1954, this factory is not in use anymore. Luckily, two brave Icelanders bought the whole areal in 1983 and opened up a unique hotel in probably the most remote place of Iceland. Today an exhibition tells the history of the factory and there are guided tours which we highly recommend not to miss when visiting this isolated place.
Krossneslaug Pool at the End of the Road
From Djupavik, it is only a short extra drive to the end of the road where the beautiful Krossneslaug pool is located. The pool was built in 1954 by local farmers right on the beachfront. This is a swimming pool unlike any other with a stunning view of the atlantic.