Patreksfjörður, Island

The small village of Patreksfjörður serves as gateway to the Westfjords peninsula in northeastern Iceland and some of the country’s most spectacular attractions. Fishing is the main industry here, although tourism is quickly growing thanks to Patreksfjörður’s proximity to such natural wonders as Dynjandi waterfalls. Dynjandi — which translates as “thunderous” — rivals Gullfoss in sheer spectacle, cascading more than 325 feet down a series of increasingly wider steps; the rocky footpath to the top passes seven smaller falls. Látrabjarg, a rocky promontory that marks the westernmost point of Europe (not counting the Azores), is recognized as one of the best birdwatching spots on the planet. Látrabjarg’s four rugged, wind-battered cliffs — stretching for nearly nine miles and reaching close to 1,500 feet in height — are home to more than 1 million birds, including massive colonies of colorful puffins and around 40 percent of the world’s nesting razorbills. The red sands of Rauðasandur beach are a stark contrast to most of the country’s black volcanic beaches, while the wreck of Gardar BA 64, Iceland’s oldest steel whaling ship, lies in rusting ruins along Patreksfjörður’s shore.