As the largest town on Snæfellsnes peninsula -- and with a ferry link to the Westfjords -- Stykkishólmur is often the presumed base or transit hub for any trip in west Iceland. Actually, anyplace on Snæfellsnes is a good base if you have a rental car, and most travelers headed to the Westfjords drive or fly, bypassing Stykkishólmur altogether. Yet Stykkishólmur is an attractive place in its own right, situated at the tip of a peninsula amid the mirage-like islands scattered in Breiðafjörður. Despite its name, Breiðafjörður is more bay than fjord, and its extensive shallows, mudflats, and rocky coastlines sustain one of the most flourishing and diverse ecosystems in Iceland. Breiðafjörður has around 2,500 islands, but its pronounced tidal fluctuations make the final tally unknown. Most of Breiðafjörður falls within a strictly regulated nature reserve, and tours from Stykkishólmur provide opportunities for kayaking, fishing, birding, seal-spotting, and shellfish-slurping. The car ferry Baldur links Stykkishólmur to the south coast of the Westfjords, docking along the way at Flatey Island, an historic settlement that is still the only populated island in Breiðafjörður.
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