East Iceland Essential travel guide

East Iceland: Essential travel guide

Usually squeezed into an in a single day cease on a self-drive tour of Iceland’s Ring Highway, the East makes an outstanding quick break vacation spot in its personal proper. With 5 days to lavish on the little-visited Austurland area, you cannot solely dawdle by way of the breathtaking East Fjords, but in addition spend time mountain climbing within the mountains of Borgarfjörður Eystri and exploring the waterfalls, canyons and dormant volcanoes of the island’s rugged inside.

East Iceland’s foremost hub, the fashionable city of Egilsstaðir lies in a broad valley close to the northern tip of Lagarfljót. Rumours of a serpent-like monster, often known as the Wyrm, have been floating round this glacial lake since 1345, however the 740-hectare birchwood of Hallormsstaðaskógur appears simply as fanciful as you drive alongside the lake’s southern shore.

Whereas forests are a rarity in Iceland, waterfalls seem round each nook. One of many nation’s tallest, 128m Hengifoss plunges over humbug-striped cliffs of black basalt and purple clay on the threshold of the Highlands. Delve deeper into the inside and also you’ll uncover extra cascades at Laugarfell, in addition to sizzling springs and the 1,833m trekking peak of Snæfell, King of the Mountains. A brief distance from the brand new hydroelectric dam at Kárahnjúkar, the Jökla River has gouged out the 200m-deep, 8km-long Hafrahvammagljúfur canyon. When the dam was commissioned, river ranges dropped, revealing extraordinary basalt columns in Stuðlagil canyon, additional downstream.

These are simply a number of the pure wonders to be discovered on routes west of Egilsstaðir. Head north, east or south from city and also you’ll attain the coast the place the East Fjords boast a few of Austurland’s most chic surroundings. From Neskaupstaður within the north, a head-spinning drive hugs the coast, meandering between mountain and sea and becoming a member of the dots between fishing communities all the way in which south to Djúpivogur. One other street snakes over a mountain go earlier than unravelling previous waterfalls to succeed in Seyðisfjörður with its elegant clapboard homes and thriving arts scene.

Drive north, in the meantime, and also you’ll attain Borgarfjörður Eystri – prime strolling nation and a prime spot for puffin-watching throughout summer season. The coast and mountains listed here are riddled with mountain climbing trails – tiptoe to Álfaborg (residence to the queen of the Icelandic elves), make tracks for the abandoned bay at Brúnavik or climb excessive into the mountains of Dyrfjöll, the place reindeer graze and trolls hunker down amongst jumbled boulders.

Day 1: Seyðisfjörður

From Egilsstaðir, drive east over Fjarðarheiði go, stopping to hike the quick path to Fardagafoss waterfall earlier than reaching Seyðisfjörður. Stroll alongside vibrant Rainbow Avenue to the Blue Church and go to the Skaftfell Centre for Visible Artwork.

Day 2: The Highlands

After an early begin from Egilsstaðir, cease for breakfast at Móðir Jörð natural farm in Vallanes earlier than driving by way of Iceland’s largest forest and mountain climbing to the bottom of Hengifoss waterfall. Go to the Wilderness Centre at Snæfellsstofa and calm down within the geothermal pool at Laugerfell with views of snow-capped Snæfell. A surfaced street continues to Kárahnjúkar Dam, however to finish the loop again to Egilsstaðir (through Stuðlagil canyon) you will want to make use of the F910 mountain street – solely open in summer season.

Day 3: Borgarfjörður Eystri

It’s a 70km drive from Egilsstaðir to this northernmost village within the East Fjords. Push on for an additional 5km to succeed in the harbour at Hafnarhólmi for intimate views of nesting puffins (Might to July), then head to the jagged Dyrfjöll mountains inland. Don’t miss the 4–5hr hike from Borgarfjörður Eystri to Stórurð.

Days 4–5: East Fjords tour

Comply with Route 1 south from Egilsstaðir to Reyðarfjörður. A detour west alongside Route 92 results in Neskaupstaður the place you may go whale-watching and go to a museum devoted to wildlife, maritime heritage and modernist artwork. Drive south-east from Reyðarfjörður to Fáskrúðsfjörður, from the place the street follows the coast to Stöðvarfjördur (residence to the spectacular rock assortment of Petra Sveinsdóttir) and Breiðdalsvík – a tiny fishing village which ends up in spectacular Breiðdalur valley. Proceed south, hugging the coast, to succeed in Djúpivogur, earlier than looping again to Egilsstaðir.

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