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Parts of the Highland Circle route aren’t open and accessible in winter. F-roads and other highland roads without winter service close as the snow arrives, and only reopen in summer. Check up-to-date road conditions on road.is.

Never fear! In winter, the circuit can be adapted and combined with the excellent, year-round Ring of Riverdale route to guide you to some traveler favorites.

Winter in Austurland is magical, but travel during this time always requires a little more planning and a degree of flexibility. You should pack appropriate clothing, check if your preferred attractions will be open (some close during the winter period), and always check the weather and road conditions before setting out. Weather details are online at vedur.is, and road.is has extensive information about local roads and safe driving.

Austurland under a layer of snow is unforgettable, and you can make it easier to access by packing the right gear, including sturdy waterproof footwear, hiking poles, and crampons if you plan to do some exploring. Be aware that daylight hours are quite limited in the winter months: around the winter solstice (December 21), there is less than 4 hours of daylight. This means more chance of observing aurora fill the dark skies, but it also means your window of opportunity for hikes and outdoor adventure is shorter.

Take your time while driving around Lagarfljót lake, and if the weather is agreeable stop to enjoy the nature – Hallormsstaður National Forest and Hengifoss waterfall look pretty as a picture with a dusting of snow, but be on the lookout for icy patches on paths and roads. Also keep your eyes open for reindeer, as they come down from the highlands in the winter in search of better grazing areas.

Your own grazing opportunities may be more limited – many of the area’s restaurants close during the winter. It’s worth stocking up on driving snacks before you set off from Egilsstaðir. After you’ve driven your scenic lakeside loop, there’s no better place to warm up and look for northern lights than at Vök Baths.

To visit Stuðlagil canyon in winter, your best plan is to take Rte 923 from Hwy 1. The turn-off to Rte 923 is 52km (32 miles) west of Egilsstaðir. Rte 923 can usually be traveled in a regular car (no 4x4 required), but it’s worth checking up-to-date conditions for the route on road.is.

You may not have time to see everything we include on this travel route. We recommend you plan your trip using the 'Add to favorites' tool on our page. By bookmarking your favorite attractions and experiences in this way, you can tailor a route through Austurland that's perfect for you!

 

 

Places to Visit

Activities

Hús Handanna Icelandic Art & Design Shop
Egilsstaðir Swimming pool
Sláturhúsið
Snæfellsstofa Visitor Centre, Skriðuklaustur
Skriðuklaustur, Centre of culture & history
Wilderness center
Turf Houses by Hjarðarhagi
Vök Baths

Restaurants

Other (3)

Bókakaffi Hlöðum - By Lagarfljót Bridge Hlaðir 700 Egilsstaðir 471-2255
N1 - Service Station Egilsstaðir Kaupvangur 4 700 Egilsstaðir 440-1450
Olis - Service Station Búðareyri 33 730 Reyðarfjörður 474-1147

Accommodation

Skipalækur
Hótel Valaskjálf
Icelandair Hotel Herad
Teahouse
Gistihúsið - Lake Hotel Egilsstadir
Egilsstaðir Campsite
Hotel 1001 nott
Wilderness center
Á Hreindýraslóðum

Other (1)

Lyngás Guesthouse - Egilsstaðir Lyngás 5-7 700 Egilsstaðir 4711310