Snuggled between the peninsulas of Snaefellsnes and Reykjanes in southwest Iceland, Faxaflói Bay has long held economic importance to Icelanders. Fishermen used to catch rations here that would feed entire villages. Nowadays, Faxaflói Bay isn’t exactly the fishing hub it once was, but it retains its historical significance.
One of the area’s main attractions is Videy Island in Kollfjördur Bay, a branch of Faxaflói near Reykjavik. Videy is the setting for the multilingual Imagine Peace Tower, commissioned by Yoko Ono. The island is also home to Milestones by American sculptor Richard Serra and is the final resting place for the Icelandic author Gunnar Gunnarsson. Additionally, Videy Island is home to the country’s oldest church, with some settlements dating back to the 10th century.
Several types of cruises departing from Reykjavik take passengers into Faxaflói Bay. Your options include whale-watching and puffin-spotting tours, as well as nighttime northern lights cruises and New Year’s fireworks cruises.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Faxaflói Bay is a must-visit for nature lovers.
- Videy Island offers works of art that appeal to fans of art and culture.
- Some tour operators offer combination cruises that include whale watching during the day and the northern lights at night.
- With a network of trails, Videy is easily explored on foot, and it offers sweeping views of Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
How to Get There
Videy is accessible via a 20-minute ferry ride from Reykjavik. Boats leave daily from both Skarfabakki pier and Aegisgardur harbor in summer, while winter service runs only on Saturday and Sunday from Skarfabakki. The best way to explore Faxaflói Bay is on a guided cruise from Reykjavik.
When to Get There
Whale-watching cruises are on offer year-round, but the best time to spot whales is in summer, which also offers the chance to see puffins nesting. However, the northern lights are at their peak in winter, and Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower is only lit between October and December.
The former home of Iceland’s first sheriff and so-called “father of Reykjavík” Skuli Magnusson, Videyjarstofa is one of Videy’s few buildings. The house is now used as a cafe, museum, and gallery displaying paintings by renowned Icelandic artists. You can browse the house’s book collection, which includes the first Icelandic Bible.