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On the Edge is a scenic route that guides you to Austurland’s beautiful northeastern fjords, Vopnafjörður and Borgarfjörður eystri, and the hidden gems that surround them. As this route lies off the main highway (Hwy 1, also known as the Ring Road), it’s an area that many have yet to discover, so you can enjoy the feeling of getting off the beaten track.

Among the highlights are a range of brilliant hiking trails, friendly communities, fun swimming spots, and loads of colorful birdlife in spring and summer. As you climb winding mountain roads and descend into fjords, you’ll enjoy spectacular views, no matter the season.

The easiest starting point is to turn off Hwy 1 after traveling through North Iceland. Consider a detour to Möðrudalur farm as you pass this way – it’s a fascinating, friendly place amid some stark landscapes, with good accommodation and food options.

Rte 85 leaves Hwy 1 to reach to Vopnafjörður. From here, you can continue the route in summer by taking the mountain road over Hellisheiði (Rte 917) and enjoying breathtaking views of Héraðsflói bay. Take a short-cut through the scenic, rural Hróarstunga area to reach the road (Rte 94) to Borgarfjörður eystri, then climb another stunning mountain road to reach your final destination. You can do this route in reverse, of course, if coming from the south.

Along the route there are great places to stay overnight (including hotels, campgrounds, and family-run guesthouses), and your taste buds will be happy too. You’ll encounter some great local flavors, with an emphasis on fjord-fresh seafood.

Nature has some unique headliners here, from Vopnafjörður’s rock pillars (can you spot the Elephant?) to a small hill in Borgarfjörður eystri that’s home to the Elf Queen. Birds flock to both areas, and the undoubted highlight is Hafnarhólmi in Borgarfjörður esytri – this is the puffin-watching capital of Iceland, and you can get up close to these cute, colorful birds when they nest here between April and August.

Short and long trails can get you out among the surrounds on foot – Borgafjörður has developed a stellar reputation for hiking. You can also try mountain-biking trails or scenic kayaking trips here. It’s hard to resist a dip at scenic Selárdalslaug swimming pool, open year-round near Vopnafjörður town. There’s history to explore too, including tales of emigration from Vopnafjörður harbor, and a wonderful folk museum called Bustarfell.

From the route’s end at Borgarfjörður esytri, head back to Egilsstaðir and the Ring Road to select your next travel route – more Austurland fjords, perhaps, or inland explorations of lakes and highlands? Check out our other travel routes to assess your options.

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!

For great information on the areas covered, check out the Borgarfjörður eystri website and Visit Vopnafjörður.




Places of Interest

Kolbeinstangi Lighthouse
Selárlaug Swimming pool in Vopnafjörður
Fuglabjarganes cliffs
Sandvík in Vopnafjörður
Skjólfjörur black sand beach
Þerribjarg and Múlahöfn
Stapavík by Héraðsflói
Stórurð Service Cabin
Njarðvíkurskriður and Naddi
Borgarfjörður eystri


On the Edge
In this episode we take on the travel route "On the Edge", where we will cover the vast wilderness of Möðrudalur, the beautiful Vopnafjörður, over Hellisheiði and all the way down to Borgarfjörður eystri.