Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve

Photo by Walter.

Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve is part of the Tentative list of Iceland in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Breiðafjörður encompasses a large shallow bay in Western Iceland with rich marine and terrestrial flora and fauna and sustainable use of its environment by early settlers. It is a spectacular land- and seascape which consists of shallow seas, small fjords and bays and the inner part of extensive intertidal areas dotted with about 3,000 islands, islets and skerries.
The village on the island of Flatey used to be one of the main cultural centres of Iceland from 1777 on.

Map of Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve

Load map

The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

Write a review

Zoë Sheng

Chinese-Canadian - 30-Sep-19 -

Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve (T) by Zoë Sheng

First off, I really like the Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve but you will see why I don't rate it highly soon.

I took the Viking Sushi Cruise from Stykkishólmur a couple of hours north of Reykjavík. It started ~10am and was quite full even on a windy and slightly rainy day. The main draw of this cruise is that it takes you to some of the nearby islands (I forget their names) for bird-watching and catches a net of clams. They even provide soy sauce and wasabi! There was also enough for everyone so it was probably worth the money.

The tour does not go as far north as Flatey island. If you want to go there you need to take a ferry by Sæferðir, the same company that does the cruise. I doubt this place is worth visiting for the settlement alone. It's a traditional fishing village which is not uncommon in Scandinavia. So for me the 2 first criteria are not justified. If you visit the website of the ferry company you can see an appropriate picture of the islands - one picture to see all, yes, it's that small. Might be a good place for bird watching and there is a hotel on the island.

The third criteria for the rich biodiversity is in my books always worth protecting and can be unique, but it doesn't sound unique, doesn't seem unique, and we didn't see anything special on this tour. We saw puffins (my first Icelandic word: Lundi - and now I know why the British puffin-filled island is named as such!!), lots of Iceland Gulls, European Shag and a few Common Eider. None of the rare species. Even if they are in the area I wouldn't find having rare birds in a nature reserve inscription-worthy. Just protect it at national level and that's it.

I recommend the cruise for a nice morning out though.

Community Likes


2 Votes

Full Name
Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve
Cultural Landscape - Continuing Natural landscape - Marine and Coastal
2011 Revision

Successor to former TWHS Brei

2011 Added to Tentative List

The site has 1 locations

Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve (T)
WHS 1997-2022