- Cover photo: Helgi Halldórsson via Wikimedia C.C
The new tunnel
The new Dýrafjarðargöng tunnel lies between the fjords Arnarfjörður and Dýrafjörður, linking the north and south parts of the Westfjords.
It is 5.6 kilometres long and shortens the route of Vestfjarðarvegur road by over 27 kilometres, saving drivers in the area much time when travelling.
The tunnel bypasses Hrafnseyrarheiði, an unpaved road which led through a mountain pass and was often closed in the winter due to ice or heavy snowfall.
- Explore remote region on a guided Off the Beaten Path Tour
The opening of Dýrafjarðargöng tunnel marks the formal opening of the new Westfjords Way, a 950 km circle route which threads one of Iceland’s most remote regions.
The Westfjords Way
The Westfjords are the oldest part of Iceland and boast of spectacular landscapes as well as unique wildlife, and rich history.
The Westfjords Way will take you around deep fjords and jagged mountains. Visitors travel through valleys and lowlands, seeing very little human interference.
- Travel around Iceland at your on pace with a Self Drive Tour
The route leads from Iceland’s Ring Road and around the Westfjords Peninsula, past settlements such as the village of Hólmavík, known for its witchcraft museum, and Ísafjörður, the largest settlement in the Westfjords.
It also leads to some of the region’s most spectacular attractions such as Látrabjarg bird cliffs, Rauðisandur beach and the 100-metre tall waterfall, Dynjandi.
- Read about the Puffins at Látrabjarg Cliffs here
Visiting in Winter
The Westfjords are one of the most beautiful regions of Iceland, but one of the least visited as well. This is not only due to its distance from Reykjavík city and Keflavík International Airport but also because of unpaved mountain roads which are often closed in the winter.
It is estimated that by next autumn, paving of the last part of the 950 km of the Westfjords Way will be finished. In addition to that, the new Dýrafjarðargöng tunnel bypasses one of the more challenging mountain roads, Hrafnseyrarheiði road.
- Learn more with the Complete Guide to Visiting Iceland in Winter
One of the Westfjords’ most popular attractions, Dynjandi waterfall, is located between the mountain roads of Hrafnseyrarheiði and Dynjandisheiði which are often closed due to heavy snowfall. Last winter, for example, these roads were closed for five consecutive months.
Traversing these roads in the winter has thus not been a possibility for most travellers. However, the opening of the new Dýrafjarðargöng tunnel means that this year, many people will be able to see Dynjandi in its frozen glory for the first time.
Furthermore, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration have decided to keep the route to Dynjandi clear of snow on weekdays this winter.