We are continuing our Iceland adventure with our roadtrip from the Westfjords to Siglufjörður. After spending two nights in the Westfjords, it was time to drive along the northern coast and head towards our next destination. After leaving Heydalur, we began to drive east back towards Holamvík. About 20 minutes into the drive, we passed an empty, green valley in between two mountain ranges covered by a mystical fog. I did a double take as we drove past it, but I then had Tor turn around and go back to it because it was so beautiful to me. I mentioned this in a lengthy post on Instagram, but I’ve had extremely vivid dreams every night since as long as I can remember. I even remember the first dream I could remember (it wasn’t a pleasant one!). This valley looked like something I had seen in a dream before, and as I stared at it, I felt like I was back in my dream again.
I remember feeling complete isolation in this dream, and I felt it again while in this valley. It could have all been a coincidence, but for a good solid 15 minutes, I really began to believe my dreams may mean something. After our stop in the valley, we could have driven back down towards the Ring Road (rte 1) after stopping in Holmavík for gas, but we decided to stay on the northern route along rte 68. This road is a lot windier (it wraps around each fjord) and is 75% gravel road, but we had a 4-wheel drive and SUV that could handle it so that’s what we did. We went 2 hours without passing a single car – it was just us. While that would have scared me before, at this point we were welcoming the idea of having a place to ourselves.
We stopped at a little red and white church by a beach, which was surrounded by black and white sheep roaming about. The scene couldn’t have gotten any more Icelandic! After spending time at the church, we stopped in Hvammstangi for lunch at Sjávarborg Restaurant. While dining on delicious burgers, Tor suddenly noticed something moving outside on the beach. As soon as he said, “Is that a cat?”, I was already bursting out the doors and running to the beach to see the cat. My new little feline friend was so sweet and social, and I ended up playing with her for about 5 minutes. I could have played with her longer, but I had abandoned my husband at the restaurant and if I played with her more, I would have taken her with me!
Hotel: Hestasport Cottages
In the planning of our itinerary, I knew we wouldn’t be able to completely make it to Siglufjörður in one day. We totally could have, but the drive from Heydalur to Varmahlíð was already 5.5 hours total and I thought Tor would be tired from all the driving (he’s the only one out of both of us who can drive manual transmission). Since we knew we were renting a cottage for the night in the middle of nowhere, we went grocery shopping in Hvammstangi for all the ingredients needed to make my shrimp scampi for dinner and Icelandic pancakes for breakfast. We then continued our drive to Hestasport Cottages where we’d be calling home for the night. Immediately after dropping off our bags inside our adorable and cozy cottage, we donned our swimsuits and went into the hot pot as the sun began to set.
(Click the arrow under the image to see more)
The next day, after Tor was able to figure out how to follow an Icelandic recipe and make successful pancakes, we piled back up in the car and began the 90 minute drive to the sleepy town of Siglufjörður. Our next stop was technically Deplar Farm, but since our check in wasn’t until 2 pm, we decided to kill time in nearby Siglufjörður for lunch. We originally wanted to have lunch at Harbor House Café, but as with most places in Iceland, they were already closed for winter. Instead, we had fish n’ chips at Kaffi Rauðka, which overlooked the marina and the new Siglo Hotel.
Siglufjörður is such a quaint (and colorful!) town. Tor researched the town while we were having lunch, and he found out that the town used to have double its current population when it was one of the main herring ports. He also found out that in order to get to this town just as little as 60 years ago, you either had to arrive by boat or by horse over the mountains. Nowadays, there are two (very long) tunnels in the mountains that connect you to the other cities nearby, but I am sure there are still some residents who travel the old fashioned way!
After spending an hour in town, it was time to backtrack along rte 76 to head towards our next stop – Deplar Farm. Before we reached the farm, we stopped at an overlook not far outside of Siglufjörður. You could see the Arctic as clear as day, and the sun was just starting to dip behind some clouds. Since we were so high up, we had a view of pretty much everything. Siglufjörður and Ísafjörður are the northernmost cities I have ever visited in the world (that’ll change in January when we visit Finland), and in this spot it really hit me just how north we were in the world.
If you are traveling along the Ring Road and need a place to stop for the night or two, definitely check out Hestasport Cottages (and definitely try riding their horses!). They are perfect for couples or groups of friends!
Check out our vlog from our road trip from Heydalur to Siglufjörður below. Yes, the cat is in the video!