Day 2 on the Road
End Location: Þingeyri
Distance: 167 miles
Accommodation: Apartments by the Fjord
There are two ways to get from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to the Westfjords. You can drive, or you can take the Baldur Ferry. Since our group was from Seattle, of course we took the ferry!
The Baldur ferry goes from Stykkishólmur to Breiðafjordur, and back again several times a day, stopping on Flatey Island in between. No cars are allowed on Flatey, so if you choose to get off your vehicle travels on to the other side and is waiting for you when you arrive. The population of Flatey in the winter is a mere 5, making most of the houses on the island only summer residence. We looked into stopping on Flatey for a short time, but the next boat going to Breiðafjordur wouldn’t of been for 4 hours. It was still enjoyable to view the island from the ship. We purchased our passes prior to our trip since the boats can fill up and had a bright an early departure time of 9 am.
When you arrive at the ferry dock all passengers board by foot. Only the driver parks the vehicle down below and for good reason. Look how close they get the cars! You even have to put your mirrors in for extra space.
While driving to our next destination, we found some good photo stops…
Látrabjarg Puffin Cliffs
I had read that the Látrabjarg Cliffs gave you the closest views of puffins anywhere in Iceland. The cliffs were about 60 miles (round trip) out of our way so I hoped this was true. Látrabjarg is also the location of the Bjargtangar Lighthouse and the westernmost point of Europe. When we arrived, we walked right over to the cliffs and were surprised to see our first puffin was less than 5 feet away! When you start looking around you see that there are thousands of them. And not just puffins, razorbills and guillemots as well. You better not be afraid of heights though, because there is nothing between you and a 1400 foot sheer drop. Although the birds are hunted throughout Iceland, they are protected here so they are unafraid of humans. Their burrows are all over the banks of the cliff and birds are constantly flying in and out of the wall.
I got so many amazing pictures of puffins, it was insane! The Atlantic Puffin is protected at Látrabjarg but has been hunted in Iceland for a thousand years. Although they are not endangered, they are on the decline. About 60% of the worlds population of Atlantic Puffin nest in Iceland. Personally I don’t know how anyone could hunt such an adorable, charming little bird, but it is still done today.
Dynjandi falls is actually a combination of seven falls equalling up to about 330 feet. Dynjandi means “the thundering one” due to the considerable amount of noise it produces. A 15 minute walk takes you up to the top but it is worth it to take your time. Each individual drop has a name and unique characteristics.
Apartments by the Fjord
Our accommodations for the night were in Þingeyri which was a nice quiet little town. I took advantage of the “midnight sun” and strolled around. Here are some pictures from the town.