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How will it compare to the South?

N.Ireland
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How will it compare to the South?

Husband and I went to Southern Iceland in December. We absolutely loved it. There was so much to see and do. He wants to visit Westfjords this time around, but I'm a little apprehensive as to how much there is to see/do? I have an itinerary that takes in Snafellsnes Peninsula, Stykisholmur, Patreksfordur, Isafjordur, Reykholt. However, there doesn't seem to be as much places of interest? I guess I'm worried it will be a let down after visiting Jokulsarlon/Seljalandsfoss/Skogafoss/Gulfoss/Stokkar etc. Husband is a keen photographer and interested in the Northern Lights which is our main reason for visiting. We are thinking of visiting Westflords in October/November this time as will be taking our baby who will be 1.5years old then.

Any advice? Thanks :)

Adelaide, Australia
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1. Re: How will it compare to the South?

The Westfjords are breathtakingly beautiful, if you have the time GO. However I am not sure that you would be able to get up there at that time. Perhaps the locals will come in on this to say. Good luck

N.Ireland
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2. Re: How will it compare to the South?

Thank you for your prompt reply :) What time of the year would you suggest? I like to think of Iceland as a 'winter' destination and want to leave as late as possible due to the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights again. Would you suggest Sept/Oct? Thank you.

Adelaide, Australia
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3. Re: How will it compare to the South?

Lisa I could tell whatever I thought, but is it the best advice for you. I have been in June, July, August, and November. I saw the NL in November, albeit at a very low level. Last year past in Sept Oct, the lights were about, search here for them, follow Icelandicguides posts, he is the expert on them on here, in my opinion . For me to tell you go in Sept/Oct might be the wrong advice, and I do not want to do that. You mentioned you think of Ic eland as a winter destination, - I like both seasons. My best advice to you is this, don't go to Iceland just to see the Northern Lights, because despite what some will say, no-one knows when they will be. It is totally unpredictable. My only hesitation about the Westfjords was the roads, and the access. I should tell you I travel with a local private guide, so I don't have to worry about anything like that. Regards

N.Ireland
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4. Re: How will it compare to the South?

Thanks again :) I fully understand about the NL and how difficult they are to try and catch. My husband has it drummed into me that you CANNOT predict when they may show and there are so many aspects with the weather, light pollution, cloud coverage etc. We saw them in December but it wasn't the 'spectacular' display we were hoping for. Still we had an awesome time. We aren't only going for the lights, but for the scenery for photography. Thanks :)

Reykjavik, Iceland
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5. Re: How will it compare to the South?

I recommend you to visit the West fjords during the summer time. Early October might be ok but late November might be difficult in terms of road conditions and weather. West fjords are very good for photographers and during the summer it is great for hiking, kayaking and sightseeing. There are travel companies based in Westfjords that operate scheduled tours. Snæfellsnes Peninsula is also a great place for photographers and there are more and more activities coming available there; caving in Vatnshellir, glacier hike at Snæfellsjökull glacier, whale watching and northern ligths hunting from Grundarfjörður.

But October is better than November for traveling in this area.

Regards

Haxey
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6. Re: How will it compare to the South?

Our first visit was along the South coast and we fell in love with every aspect of Iceland.

Last September we spent two weeks touring the whole of the West side of the country. The South contains fantastic and spectacular individual sights like waterfalls and glaciers, the West gives you a continuous and varied natural beauty. The scale of the landscape is truly breath taking and because less tourists visit you get a greater sense of nature and solitude.

It takes longer to drive due to the roads and stopping every five minutes to take in everything, plan your tour and give yourself plenty of time to explore the small towns along the way and you will have a fantastic time .

Reykjavik, Iceland
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7. Re: How will it compare to the South?

I agree with Helga - This time of year is a bit late to visit the Westfjords - you never know how the weather will be there. It is often totally different then in the South of Iceland, since the area is FULL of high mountains and mountain roads.

I would rather recommend you to visit the West of Iceland... Snæfellnes, Borgarfjörður and then you can stay at Vogur Country Lodge for Northern Lights opportunities - but going more North then that - is not such a good idea later then Sept/Oct - especially not with a young baby. The area is just to remote!

But going there during the summer months (May - September) TRUE dream. Absolutely one of the most stunning places to see in Iceland.

Reykjavik, Iceland
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8. Re: How will it compare to the South?

Also, remember that the northerly town of Akureyri is located in a deep fjord. The scenery in the north is stunning, with attractions such as (you surely know) the falls of Goðafoss, Dettifoss, the hot spring area of Námaskarð and power station of Krafla. Lake Mývatn, the thermal spring cave of Grjótagjá, the cozy fishing town of Húsavík where they have fantastic whale watching... Not to mention the ski resort of Akureyri...

So that's quite something to look at. And since your husband is a keen photographer in search of the aurora, the more northerly you get, the better (granted, 200 km more northerly is not a huge thing, but still)

Enjoy your second visit :)

Reykjavik, Iceland
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9. Re: How will it compare to the South?

and because of these weather conditions they cannot sustain services for tourist all year round. You risk finding many places closed, like restaurants and attractions. But Snæfellsnes is doing a concerted effort in keeping things going all year round.

N.Ireland
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10. Re: How will it compare to the South?

Thank you all so much for the information, much appreciated :)

I am now thinking either Western Iceland in September (but may miss NL due to time of year) or Tromso, Norway in November/December!

Decisions, decisions. Both look beautiful!

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