Day 3 on the road. . .
End Location: Hólmavík
Distance: 187 miles
Accommodations: Broddanes Hostel
Ísafjörður is the largest town in the westfjords, but despite this fact it can be explored in just a few hours. Although mostly a fishing town, the tourist industry has increased within the last few decades with many hotels and restaurants available to visit. We only stayed here for about an hour due to our strict schedule. It would of been nice to have spent longer because I love quiet town like this. If you can stay a few days, you can take a ferry to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This reserve looked like an beautiful place for hiking and your best bet for seeing arctic fox in the wild. Unfortunately we didn’t have several days to spend here if we wanted to get around the whole Ring Road, so after walking around a little, and stopping in to a cute bakery, we were back on the road.
Ísafjörður seemed like a great place to give our car good squeegee. It was getting pretty filthy from all those dirt roads.
Arctic Fox Center
Since we couldn’t make it to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve to see arctic fox in the wild, we figured the Arctic Fox Center was the next best thing. When you pull into the parking lot you are immediately greeted by Freddie, an orphaned fox pup and the highlight of the stop. Freddie is kept in a chicken wire enclosure right next to the parking lot and you can interact with him easily through the wire. The fuzzy bundle of energy hardly holds still long enough to get a picture. Freddie’s antics kept us entertained for the better part of an hour. Although Freddie will be released when he is old enough to fend for himself, it appeared that the center almost always has one or two fox kits each summer.
The Fox Center works as both a museum and research facility. Arctic foxes, Iceland’s only native land mammal, have been hunted in the country for 1,000 years. The exhibits in the museum include a diverse education about foxes, including everything from their biology and behavior, to the history they have with man and being hunted. There is a small cafe here as well, so it is a great place to spend a few hours, grab a bite to eat and learn a little too.
The drive from Ísafjörður is beautiful. The road winds around the fjords and there are many scenic places to stop to see seals, wild flowers and waterfalls. Sheep and horses roam freely by the side of the road and it is nice to give yourself enough time to be able to stop for photo opportunities.
Broddanes Hostel was my favorite hostel of our trip. The building used to be a school before being converted into a hostel. Our group pretty much had the entire top floor which consisted of separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and large common area. It was perfect for a home cooked spaghetti dinner and playing board games late into the night. The location was beautiful, remote and quiet. A farmhouse stood across the street and thousands of nesting arctic terns surrounded the property.
Arctic Fox Center