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The Ultimate Guide to the Fjords in Iceland

Cruising the fjords in Iceland is an amazing way to see the country (if you have the time, of course). Going all the way around and hitting every single one might become too big of a mission, which is why we set up this ultimate guide to fjords in Iceland.

Covering the important bits and pieces of the Icelandic coast, this guide to the fjords in Iceland will make sure you get the best of the best and don’t waste precious time in the wrong areas.

fjords iceland

What is a Fjord?

The easiest way to describe this awesome geological phenomenon is if you imagine a long and narrow bay, but instead of having nice sandy banks along the sides, it will have large and incredibly steep mountain walls. To be a fjord, the body of water must have been carved by glacial movement and steep mountainsides, which isn’t always required among the Nordic countries.

If you look at the Scandinavian definition of fjords, most won’t require the steep mountainsides of the water. They merely require it to be formed by glacial movement, which may be confusing for some people when reading some local names of places. Fjords in Iceland, however, are pretty much always accompanied by the classic fjord characteristics.

How are Fjords Formed?

When a fjord is carved out by the glacial tongue, the weight of the ice slowly grinds away the rock and soil, leaving a deep valley that most commonly gets filled up with ocean water.

This can take place without the ocean water filling up the valley and instead create a deep glacial lake. None of the fjords in Iceland are like this, however, since all of them are full of North Atlantic water and (sometimes) happy whales and plenty of fish.

Icelandic fjords

Where are the Fjords Located in Iceland?

In short: The fjords in Iceland can be found around the coastline, mostly concentrated in the northwest and northeast. While some singular ones are in the south of Iceland, around the capital, you will get the proper fjords experience in the Westfjords. If you look at an Iceland fjords map, you’ll clearly see how incredibly populous the Westfjords in particular are when it comes to this geological phenomenon.

The Capital City of Reykjavik and Surroundings

Sometimes, you don’t have the time and energy to go driving for the absolute best fjords in Iceland. Exploring the day trips from Reykjavik and the closest fjords there is perfectly fine since you can still get the experience that the fjords in Iceland offer, without driving for hours on end.

The Top Fjords Near Reykjavik

The top fjords that you’ll find around Reykjavik are:


Looking for a classic experience of the fjords in Iceland? Then take a trip to Hvalfjordur. If you go during the whale season, you might get lucky and spot a whale or two. And if you take the drive around the fjord, don’t forget to stop at Iceland’s second-tallest waterfall – Glymur!


Further north, you’ll find the second-largest fjord that is still somewhat close to Reykjavik: Borgarfjordur. It’s the home of the popular town Borgarnes, which is an appreciated rest point and supply stop for any trip north.

Borgarfjordur, Iceland


If you want to take a small hike around a small fjord and not have to drive too far from Reykjavik, you could visit one of the best fjords in Iceland suitable for traveling on foot: Kollafjordur.

The West Fjords of Iceland

The crown jewels when it comes to the fjords in Iceland lie in the western parts of the island. This is where you will find the most fjords in the smallest area. If you have ever wondered “Does Iceland have fjords?” just remember that this entire region is called the Westfjords (=fjords in the west).

There are no less than 39 named fjords in the Westfjords alone, and along the entire west coast, there are an additional 19.

The Top Fjords in Western Iceland

With so many fjords in this region, you’ll have to start prioritizing. These are all the must-visit fjords in Western Iceland:


This is undoubtedly one of the best fjords in Iceland to travel through if you want to have an experience of a massive fjord with all the large mountainsides and the outlandish scenery. This is the largest fjord in the Westfjords and even has minor fjords inside of it. Get to the capital of the Westfjords, Isafjordur, to explore this area.


Inside the Isafjordardjup is this gem that allows you to experience a fjord from all angles. You can either drive along it to experience the mountain roads or drive across the bridge at the inlet to get a good view in, or even get into a kayak, canoe, or boat to literally paddle into it! Experiencing any of the fjords Iceland has from the waterside of things is a definite must.

Mjoifjordur, Iceland


This fjord in Iceland, just north of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, is an incredibly wide fjord that is bordering on being a bay due to its sheer size. This is the largest of the west fjords in Iceland.


This is another perfect fjord that allows you to either drive the scenic route along the edge of it or take the bridge across. Both will provide you with an amazing full view of the place, and you’ll essentially get to see where the Westfjords separates from the western part of Iceland.


When in the west, there is nothing that beats watching the Puffins run around at Latrabjarg cliffs and frolicking in the warm summer sun. Among the west fjords Iceland has, this is the one right on the northwestern side of the mountain that you see when you get to the town of Patriksfjordur. You will see some of the funny little clown birds in the fjord too, making this an Icelandic fjord with a treat.

Best fjords in iceland

The East Fjords of Iceland

On your way along Ring Road 1, you’ll see that it’s not just the west fjords of Iceland that have a lot to offer, even the east comes to the party with multiple stunning views. Eastern Iceland is a stunning area to drive through and experience, and there is even a designated route called the fjord-to-fjord travel route you can check out!

The Top Fjords in Eastern Iceland

Below are some of the best fjords that can be found in Eastern Iceland:

Borgarfjordur Eystri

The absolute gem of the east fjords in Iceland is this area, where you can step out of your car and go on multiple hikes to get the best view of the fjord and the surrounding area. It’s relatively small compared to some of the other top candidates in this article, but when it comes to the east fjords of Iceland, this is every bit as good as the rest!


This is the deepest and largest one of the fjords on the east coast of Iceland. There are plenty of roads and waterfalls in and around this area that provide amazing views and experiences.

Reydarfjordur, Iceland


The first Icelandic fjord on the fjord-to-fjord route is right next to Egilsstadir. You can easily get a great view of this fjord by going on Road 93 and continuing on the small roads to drive further out to Thorarinstadir and Skálanes.


Next to the town of Djupivogur, you will find one of the east fjords in Iceland that you simply can’t miss - literally. Ring Road 1 is wrapped around this fjord and there is no other way to get past it, so you will have to take the scenic route to get from the east to the west. It’s well worth the time, and you can sit at one of the cafés in Djupivogur for a hot cup and a stunning view.


If you are looking for one of the fjords in Iceland that offers a little bit of protection from the harsh North Atlantic climate, this is the place to go. You will be able to get a 3-for-1 special at this location, with three smaller fjords at the inner part of this larger fjord.

Nordfjordur, Iceland

Fjords in North Iceland

Known for whale watching and being the center of the epic movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, the north is where you can find more than one opportunity to cruise the fjords and Iceland’s exotic attractions.

The Top Fjords in Northern Iceland

The following are considered must-visit fjords in North Iceland:


This is the fjord that leads into the northern capital of Iceland – Akureyri. Here you can enjoy a 60km long and narrow fjord with steep and striking mountains all around you, with a small island about halfway through. Truly otherworldly.


If you are in the north to watch the whales around the whale-watching capital of the country, Húsavik, Skjalfandi is the place to be. Even though it doesn’t really have all the characteristics of a fjord (sandy beach in the back), it’s well worth the travel and you will be able to see plenty of marine wildlife.


If you want to get close to the agricultural Mecca of Iceland, the Skagafjordur region is where you want to go. The fjord is full of marine life, so you will be able to spot whales, seals, and much more if you’re lucky.

Fjords in Iceland


To balance up the Icelandic fjord characteristics, this wide and short fjord might be a good change of pace for a traveler. You will be able to marvel at the mid-Atlantic ridge to the west and see it dive into the ocean after displaying a magnificent mountain range along Road 85.


Last but not least on the list of fjords Iceland has to offer is Siglufjordur. This is a well-known filming location for an Icelandic show, and the home of a very old, decommissioned lighthouse. Fair warning: It’s a hassle to get to the lighthouse, and you must go on foot, so bring proper boots.

Opt for Driving the Fjords of Iceland

Renting a car in Iceland and exploring the many natural wonders is the best way to explore this magnificent country. You will have a better experience of the serenity of cruising the fjords in Iceland when you do so on your own terms. Sit back, gear down, and enjoy the ride!

Car Rental in Iceland



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