Breiðafjörður bay

Surrounded by rugged peaks and studded with islands, discover Iceland’s second-largest bay.

West Iceland
puffin looking left on dark green sea background
A small boat sailing past the island of Flatey
A kittiwake flying above cliffs in the Breiðafjörður bay
puffin looking left on dark green sea background
A small boat sailing past the island of Flatey
Best time to visit
Charging station

Your guide to Breiðafjörður, Iceland

Breiðafjörður is a broad, shallow bay and nature reserve in West Iceland. It separates the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the south, from the Westfjords region to the north.

The bay is 50 km (31 mi) wide and 125 km (78 mi) long, making it the second largest in the country. Despite this distance, on a clear day, you can glimpse the dazzling Snæfellsjökull glacier on the opposite shore from the Westfjords.

Breiðafjörður’s sheer size and mind-blowing landscapes aren’t the only things that make it worth visiting though.

What to see and do in Breiðafjörður bay

The bay is home to a whopping 3,000 or so islands, but Flatey is the only one that’s inhabited year-round. In summer, you can get to this remote outpost by hopping aboard the Baldur ferry in either Stykkishólmur or Brjánslækur.

Nowadays, the oldest building you’ll find on the island was constructed in 1840. That said, people have been fishing and farming on Flatey for centuries. There’s even evidence of a monastery dating back to 1172.

Flatey’s cultural credentials don’t end there though. During the 14th century, a medieval manuscript known as Flateyjarbók was written on the island. It details the sagas of Norse kings, along with other important historical information. If you’re a history buff, you’ll already know that it’s one of the finest of its kind in Iceland.

Wildlife-watching is another great reason to visit Breiðafjörður bay. For the chance to see puffins or go whale watching, take a boat tour from the Snæfellsnes peninsula. You can set sail from villages including Stykkishólmur, Grundarfjörður, and Ólafsvík.

From the shore, you could spot seals and perhaps even get a rare sighting of a minke whale or pod of orcas. And don’t forget to look out for white-tailed eagles, which thrive in the region.

Other attractions near Breiðafjörður bay

The island of Flatey in the summer


Step back to the 19th century and admire local birdlife on this culturally important island.
A man standing below Kirkjufellsfoss


See one of the most famous mountains in Iceland for yourself.

34 km (21 mi)

The Hraunfossar waterfall in winter covered in ice

Hraunfossar and Barnafoss

Take in the majesty of these waterfalls and discover the mythology of the local area.

95 km (59 mi)

The Snæfellsjökull glacier at sunset

Snæfellsjökull Glacier & National Park

Discover the Snæfellsnes peninsula’s national park, home to a glacier-topped volcano and more.

98 km (61 mi)