Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 6 - Westfjords Continued - Hot Tubs, Waterfalls, and Sorcery

Driving through the Westfjords
Our last day in the Westfjords, we drove the winding Rt 61 through six different fjords.  The drive was amazing - waterfalls falling down over the edges of the tall mountains and seascape for as far as the eye could see. Some of the highlights included: visiting the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft in Hólmavík, hiking to a hidden waterfall behind our guesthouse, and soaking in the seaside Drangsnes hot tubs.

Views as we drive through the Westfjords

Day 6 - Westfjords Continued - Hot Tubs, Waterfalls, and Sorcery

Our day began by leaving Isafjordur and driving the winding Rt 61 back and forth through the fjords.  Most of the roads were paved - taking us up onto the top of a mountain and then back down to the sea.  We pulled over here and there to soak in the view or snap a photo.  Even in the clouds, the scenery was spectacular.

Necropants at the Sorcery Museum
We didn't have any major stops until we reached the town of Hólmavík.  This small seashore town is home to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft.  We paid the moderate entrance fee and were given a interpretation pamphlet in English so we could understand the artifacts.  The museum was small, but provided interesting information about the history of sorcery persecution in Iceland.  There is also a cafe and gift shop in the museum.  

Since it was around lunch time, we visited the nearby Cafe Riis.  They have a comfortable atmosphere and a menu complete with traditional Icelandic meals like whale and puffin in addition to more contemporary standards like pizza and pasta.  Leanne and I tried the puffin which was well prepared and surprisingly tasted like beef!  I also tried the popular Viking beer offered on tap at most restaurants.  
Puffin Meal

From Hólmavík, we drove to nearby Laugarhóll and checked into our accommodations at Hotel Laugarhóll. This was a lovely guesthouse.  They serve dinner for about $40 (the menu looked amazing but we were stuffed).  This hotel also has a pool and geothermal hot tubs.  The owner was very friendly, and told us a local waterfall we could walk to.  There is also an adorable re-created turf home on the property that is available to explore.

We followed his directions and found the beautiful river and waterfall just a kilometer or so from our hotel.  It was gorgeous and it felt special to be the only ones there.

Waterfall was a short walk from Hotel Laugarholl.
Through social media, I found that there were seaside public hot tubs in nearby Drangsnes.  We decided to check them out.  The three tubs were located on Rt 645 on the shore side of the road.  Look for the sign of a person in a hot tub.  Soakers must shower in the private shower stalls across the road.  Even though it was cold and rainy outside, the warm soak was a magical experience - looking out onto the Atlantic.  There was no cost and we were the only ones there.  After our soak, we returned to Cafe Riis in Hólmavík for pizza, beer, and dessert.  

Drangsnes Public Hot Tubs
Our last day in the Westfjords did not disappoint.  This remote and stunning part of Iceland is home to friendly people, scenic drives, and nature at its finest.  
"Sorcerer's Hut" at Hotel Laugarholl

READ ABOUT THE NEXT DAY HERE: Day 7 - Northwest Iceland - Black Beaches, Driftwood, and Icelandic Horses


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