Skip to content

We recommend you take 2-3 days to enjoy this route to its fullest. You won't regret taking your time to become one with the Icelandic landscape and heritage.

On the edge travel route



There’s good reason to turn off the Ring Road (Hwy 1) at Route 85: the secluded town of Vopnafjörður sits pretty on ascenic stretch of coastline, surrounded by mountains, valleys, sea cliffs and rock formations. The natural wonders are in evidence, but there are great tributes to history here, too: Kaupvangur in the heart of town houses a museum in remembrance of the thousands of emigrants who left the region for Canada and the USA in the wake of the Askja volcanic eruption in 1875. Outside Vopnafjörður, the 250-year-old turf-roofed farm Bustarfell is a folk museumwhere history comes alive through summertime storytelling and workshops.  The surrounds of Vopnafjörður hold plenty of natural beauty as well as farm guesthouses and cottages ready to welcome visitors keen for a taste of local life. World-renowned salmon-fishing rivers have hosted illustrious guests including the Prince of Wales and George Bush snr. The local birdlife is a magnet for birdwatchers, while coastal walkingtrails and mountain hikes add more opportunities for active sightseeing. At the end of the day, seek out the remote riverside swimming pool Selárdalslaug for a true local experience.  Highlights:  Walk: Fuglabjarganes is a scenic stretch of coast where birdlife fills the bluffs and rock pillars stand to attention.   Taste: homemade cakes and soup buffets, especially at the Kaupvangkaffi inside Kaupvangur, the restored customs house that acts as the town’s community center.  Soak: at Selárdalslaug, a geothermal swimming pool on the banks on the river Selá.  Road-trip: as an alternative to Route 85, take Route 917 as it travels scenically over the 655-meter pass of Hellisheiði,providing spectacular views. The road is steep and winding but passable for all vehicles in summer.
The Vopnafjörður town is located on Kolbeinstangi peninsula. The outmost part of Kolbeinstangi is called Tangasporður. The area is not inhabited but the landscape is very interesting with unusual rock formations and white sand beaches. There are three small mountains on Tangasporður: Fagrafjall, Miðfell and Tafla. A walk to Tangasporður is very enjoyable. It is best to fallow a track that starts by the crossroads (rd. 85 and 917) above the town. That way leads through a small grove and out to the tip of the peninsula. The birdlife is rich in this area, especially on the east side, and on the beach on the tip of Tangasporður it is likely to see seals relaxing in the tidemark.  It is also possible to start the walk by turning left off the road to the lighthouse on the east side of the town. 
Kolbeinstangi Lighthouse
Kolbeinstangaviti er tæpir 20 metrar á hæð og stendur á glæsilegum stað í landi Leiðarhafnar í Vopnafirði. Vitinn var byggður árið 1942 en ekki tekinn í notkun fyrr en tveimur árum síðar þegar ljóstæki fengust loksins í hann frá Englandi. Vitinn er húðaður með ljósu kvarsi og hrafntinnumulningur er á dökku flötunum. Kolbeinstangaviti er eini vitinn sem hefur haldið þessu útliti, þ.e. hann hefur ekki verið kústaður með einhvers konar þéttiefni. Það er falleg og létt gönguleið að ganga frá þorpinu eftir malarveginum út í Leiðarhöfn og að vitanum. Þar er fallegt útsýni yfir þorpið og út fjörðinn. Gamall námuvegur sem liggur af veginum út í Leiðarhöfn er einnig skemmtileg gönguleið út á Kolbeinstangann. Tangasporðurinn býður upp á glæsilegt landslag sem er kjörið til útivistar og er mjög vinsælt á meðal heimamanna.
Selárdalur Swimming pool
Selárdalur Swimming PoolPhone: 473 1499 – 473 1331e-mail: info@vopnafjardarhreppur.isThe swimming pool is 3.5 km. from road 85 on the way to Bakkafjörður, 12 km. from central Vopnafjörður. The pool is on the banks of the Selá river which runs along a shallow ravine. It is a beautiful setting for a swimming pool, and ours is famous for its surroundings. Just nearby is a hot water spring that has been used for many years for bathing. Today the spring waters are used to heat up the water in the swimming pool. Access for handicapped people is good at the Selá pool. There is also a picnic area and a large sundeck, as well as a large hot tub and wading pool for children. The swimming pool was build in Summer, 1949 by members of Einherja, a young men’s group in Vopnafjörður. They worked mostly as volunteers and it was opened in Summer, 1950. Repairs and improvements have been made and the pool is in good condition, and the surrounding area has always been well-kept. Until 1975 swimming lessons were held for two weeks with the students living in the pool house and it must have been quite a jolly time during the lessons. Today swimming lessons are held here in the fall and spring.Opening time Selárdalur Swimming pool:Summer (01 June - 31 August):Monday - Friday: pm. 10:00 - 22:00. Saturday - Sunday: pm. 10:00 - 18:00Winter (01 sept - May 31):Monday - Friday: 14:00 - 19:00. Saturday - Sundays:12:00 - 16:00.
Fuglabjargarnes cliffs
 Fuglabjarganes is a part of Vopnafjörður’s coast line, on the north side.  Fuglabjarganes is on the nature conservatory list of Iceland for its beautiful and diverse coast and great bird life. Walk along the beach to the headland where high bluffs reach down to the sea. From there you can see rock pillars that rise from the sea, and enjoy the view across the open ocean all the way to the horizon. This is Icelandic nature at its best. Please be careful when walking along the cliffs and do not go too close to the edge.  
Sandvík is a long, black sandy beach in from the fjord. The coast is a family paradise created by nature. Guests may find seashells, take a walk, watch the birds, build a sand castle - or follow your own imagination. Along this coast a supply ship ran aground on 2 October 1981. All the crew were rescued. At low tide one can still see a glimpse of the wreckage when the tides are low. Access to Sandvík is by a track down to the bay inland from the golf course. Everyone to be careful along the beach. The river Hofsá often flows over the sands in the spring, and as a result quicksand can form along the beach.
 In Hofsárdalur you will find the old family farm Bustarfell, a quaint, centuries old Icelandic turf house with red gables and a grass-grown roof which is now a museum. Bustarfell is one of the oldest and best preserved turf houses in Iceland. In1532, the farm was bought by Árni Brandsson and his wife Úlfheiður, the farm has been owned by their descendants ever since.  A visit to the museum at Bustarfell is a journey through the history of farming and changes in lifestyle from the beginning of the 18th century to the mid-20th century. When walking through the museum you feel the inhabitants have only just left the house. Three kitchens from different eras are showcased, as well as other artifacts from around the farm which show how technology developed.    Hjáleigan Café is located next to the museum and a hiking path leads to the rock Álfkonusteinn, source of a local folktale.   
 A hiking trail leads from the parking place by Gljúfursárfoss through Drangsnes, to Krummsholt. At Krummsholt you can see ancient ruins dating back to Viking age. In fact, a Viking named Þorsteinn Uxafótur is said to have lived there. Looking at such ancient habitats leaves one wondering about the lives lived here centuries ago, wishing the earth could talk and tell us the stories of our ancestors. Walking along the precipitous cliffs is a great experience and leaves few visitors unmoved.  
Be sure to visit Skjólfjörur beach when driving through Vopnafjordur! The beach is only a short walk from the road and offers a magnificent view of the open Atlantic sea. If you’re lucky you might even see a whale. The beach has a rocky shore, with colorful stones that capture the eye. Driftwood which the waves have brought to land is a testament to the incredible force the sea possesses. Please respect that it is forbidden to remove stones from the beach.  One characteristics of Vopnafjordur is the incredible rock pillars and cliffs that take on various forms, often resembling different creatures. Ljósastapi rock pillar stands out in the sea just off Skjólfjörur. It is often called “Fíllinn” (the Elephant by locals), as its form resembles an elephant. It is a vera photogenic place! To the right of Ljósastapi, the mountain Búrið stands out from the mountain range. Búrið is a part of the Fagradalur mountains, an ancient volcanic area. In the Fagradalur mountains, you can see colorful rhyolite rocks that certainly make their mark on the surrounding environment. A marked walking path takes you down to Múlahöfn harbour and to Þerribjarg cliffs, east of Hellisheiði Eystri, where the rhyolite is at its most beautiful.
Þerribjarg and Múlahöfn
Drive the main road up Hellisheiði mountain and when you’ve reached where you are about the highest part, take an off-road trail to the right from there until you’ve reached Kattárdalsdrög. The trail leads to Kattárdal valley. There is a sign where you can park your car and start walking. The trail is staked to the edge of the cliffs above Múlahöfn harbor. From there (65°45.144 - W14°21.964) lies a trail below the edge, down a rocky slope down to Múlahöfn, one of the natures’ masterpieces surrounded by cliffs and huge pillars of rock on two sides. This harbor was declared an official trading harbor in 1890 but was only used once as such because of the complications when bringing the shipment further on land. From the harbor, walk north to the outer point. From there one can see Þerribjarg cliffs and Langisandur shore. The cylinder with the visitors’ log and a stamp is by the trail leading down to the beach. Hikers are encouraged to go down and walk along the sand under Þerribjarg before turning back. Part of Hiking Treasures in Egilsstaðir Region Powered by Wikiloc
The pretty little turf church Geirastaðakirkja is a reconstruction of a church from the Age of Vikings. An excavation at the estate of Litli-Bakki back in 1997 revealed ancient ruins of the small turf church, farmstead, longhouse and two smaller buildings. The reconstruction took place in 1999-2001 and the church is now open to the public.
Húsey farm is renowned for its picturesque nature, abundant wildlife and hiking opportunities. A marked hiking route will take you towards river Jökulsá where seals and seal pups hang out in the river mouth and out to Héraðssandur black sand beach. Húsey is a bird watchers' paradise and with nesting grounds of red-throated divers, parasitic jaegers and great skuas, to name a few.  GPS : N65°38.775-W14°14.670   Powered by Wikiloc
Stapavík by Héraðsflói
Stapavík is an inlet that lies in a magnificent setting of steep cliffs and the open sea. From 1930-1945 Stapavík was a used as an unloading port for ships and is closely related to the commercial history of Borgarfjörður Eystri and Hérað. Remains of the facilities are very picturesque and the view from the inlet is beautiful on a sunny day.  A marked trail leads from the farmstead Unaós, following Selfljót river downstream to the rivermouth. Héraðssandur black sand beach opens to the North of the river with a view over Hellisheiði Eystri rhyolite mountain ridge. This is a about a two hour long (back and forth) family friendly hike. Travellers could also challenge themselves to a longer hike by crossing Gönguskarð mountain pass over to Njarðvík which adds a about two hours to the hike. Powered by Wikiloc
The Gljúfursárfoss waterfall runs down a colorful ravine just below the parking lot. The waterfall is about 45 meters high and very beautiful.   The river Gljúfursá used to be a major obstacle to travelers heading east over Hellisheiði. Many accidents occurred when people tried to cross the river by foot or on horseback.   You can also walk along the river to the old bridge over Gljúfursá, built around 1900 and was a great improvement at the time. The story goes that construction began on the bridge after a man on horseback died while attempting to cross the river during winter.    A marked hiking path leads from the parking lot along the river Gljúfursá, and around Drangsnes.   
Stórurð Service Cabin
When development started on the hiking trails and surrounding area to Stórurð and Dyrfjöll it was decided to build a service cabin for the area. The cabin strengthens sustainable travel in the area in by increasing the infrastructure surrounding a popular tourist area. The area surrounding these popular destinations can now withstand more traffic, increases; the security of tourists, nature conservation and pride amongst locals. The architecht behind the cabin is Erik Rönning Andersen. The design is original and modern and clearly inspired by the legendary Dyrfjöll. Emphasis was placed on the building being environmentally friendly and requiring little maintenance - which is reflected in the simple choice of materials.The building is modest and simple but serves its purpose well in great harmony with the surrounding nature. The house is composed of two separate cottages; one houses a toilet and the other an information and viewing space.
Stórurð boulders is one of Icelands most spectacular sights and has gained more popularity amongst hikers in recent years. The expansive surroundings offer plenty to see and experience; blue-green ponds contrast with flat, vegetated meadows surrounded by sheer-sloped and jagged tuff Dyrfjöll mountain peaks. As the name suggests, the area is strewn with many enormous boulders, likely abandoned by retreating glaciers. Five marked trails lead to and from Stórurð. Two from Vatnsskarð pass, one from Njarðvík and two from Borgarfjörður Eystri. Since Stórurð is located over 400 m above sea level, snow often lingers far into summer so best time for exploring this magnificent area is from mid-July to first appreciable snows of autumn. The hike back and forth takes about 4-5 hours so consider this a day tour.  
The magnificent 1136 high mountain range Dyrfjöll near Borgarfjörður Eystri draws its name from the iconic "door" in the middle of the range. Its shape is very different from many other mountains in Iceland with steep vertical valls and the big door-like gap (856 m high) in the middle. Dyrfjöll is an old volcano formed during or before the last Ice age.  The hiking trail up the ridge is very diverse with untouched mossy areas, clear pools and glacier landscapes but only suitable for experienced hikers under guidance. The view from the top is breathtaking.  
Njarðvíkurskriður and Naddi
Until the year 1949, when a passable road came about, all traffic through the Njarðvíkurskriður screes between Njarðvík and Borgarfjörður Eystri was either on foot or on horseback. Njarðvíkurskriður were considered extremely dangerous, especially in winter, because ofavalanches and, when raining heavily, mudslides. In such conditions, travellers in the area were putting their lives on the line. The screes hold sheer cliff drops down to the sea and above them steep slopes of mudslides, riddled with gullies.   The road to Egilsstaðir from Borgarfjörður over the pass at Vatnsskarð was opened in 1954, significantly higher up in the screes than the old horse track. Most recent road construction was in the year 2019 when the road was paved.  More than one version exists of the folk tale of Naddi. Legend has it that in the time of the family of Björn Skafinn, the road along Njarðvíkurskriður became almost impassable because of a monster which had the lower body af a man and upper body of a beast and lived in a gully since named Naddagil. This monster ambushed travellers, especially after dark, attacked them and killed many. Finally, a valiant farmer from Borgarfjörður Eystri managed to overcome the ominous monster and force him into the sea. A cross was erected to mark the spot and still stands there.  Mystery surrounds the cross in Njarðvíkurskriður, bearing a Latin inscription and the date 1306. Many have written about this cross and speculated about its age and why it was erected in the first place and then constantly renewed. The folk tale of the monster Naddi is connected to Njarðvíkurskriður and the cross, which is sometimes called Naddakross as shown in this old four-line stanza: The cross of Naddi is a fallen towerOur lives are lacking protectionbut God’s sacred powerwill ensure its resurrection.   .
Borgarfjörður eystri
You’re in good company in this beautiful region: around 100 friendly locals populate the village, tourists pass through to enjoy the surrounds (including first-rate hiking trails), Icelanders make an annual pilgrimage for a great summer musicfestival, birdlife pays a visit for a few months each year, and even royal elves call the area home. True! You can visit the central hill known as Álfaborg – the name translates as the ‘Elves’ Castle’, and the queen of the Icelandic elves allegedly resides here with her court.  The 70km drive from Egilsstaðir to Borgarfjörður winds through some exceptional viewing points, over and around the mountains, until it reaches the small bubble of civilization. Follow the road through town and after about 5km you’ll reach a small fishing harbor. Here, at Hafnarhólmi, is some of the best bird-watching in the country, including easy close-up viewing of puffins and kittiwakes.  Yes, the birds are a big drawcard, but Borgarfjörður has also become renowned for its excellent hiking trails known as ‘Víknaslóðir’, which traverse colorful rhyolite mountains and lead to deserted fjords and coves on the way to Seyðisfjörður. Other trails take hikers into the dramatic Dyrfjöll mountain range. Locals have marked numerous trails that cater to most skill levels and range from an hour to a full day, and compiled a detailed map. They’re ready to help you explore.      Highlights:  Walk: to the giant boulders and grassy meadows of Stórurð. But you’ll find near-endless options here for walking andhiking.  Taste: local fish in one of the town cafes. Fish soup is a Borgarfjörður favorite!  Soak: at the local spa, where outdoor hot tubs have the added appeal of fine mountain views.   Road-trip: around the bay to reach Hafnarhólmi and its bountiful birdlife.
Placed on the outskirts of the village of Borgarfjörður Eystri, close to the famed Álfaborg - The City of Elves, stands the church Bakkagerðiskirkja, consecrated in 1901. The church boasts of a beautiful altarpiece, painted in 1914 by the famous local artist Jóhannes S. Kjarval who was brought up in Borgarfjörður Eystri. The altarpiece depicts Christ giving the Sermon on the Mount, standing on top of Álfaborg with the Dyrfjöll Mountains as a backdrop. This piece is one of Kjarval's most famous works, attracting tourists visiting Borgarfjörður Eystri. 
Borgarfjörður Eystri is known for its unique beauty and rich history. Lindarbakki, a small, beautiful turf house, has captivated many visitors with its picturesque look. A must see when visiting the village. The house is typical of its time, originally built in 1899 but parts have been rebuilt since. 
On arrival to Borgarfjörður Eystri you will see a distinctive landmark in the middle of the village; Álfaborg or The City of Elves where the Queen of Elves lives, legend tells. Numerous tales tell of relations between elves and locals, such as young women marrying elvish men and living in Álfaborg.    Álfaborg was declared a nature reserve in 1976 which makes the area protected for recreational and public use. On top of Álfaborg is an observation platform with excellent view over the fjord and surrounding mountains. The trail up Álfaborg is an easy walk and suitable for all.  Below Álfaborg is the local camping ground and a frisbee golf course.
Hafnarhólmi islet at the harbour in Borgarfjörður Eystri is perfect for birdwatching. Hafnarhólmi is easily the most accessible Atlantic Puffin colony in Iceland where they nest every year from middle of April to beginning of August. Kittiwakes, Fulmar and Common Eider also nest in Hafnarhólmi along with many other bird species. Locals have taken care of Hafnarhólmi and its birds for decades and built it up to be easily accessible for visitors to enjoy the area in harmony with the wildlife there. At the newly built Hafnarhús - Harbour House you can enjoy art exhibitions and excellent view over the harbour and Hafnarhólmi while tasting some Icelandic delicacies. 
Brúnavík is a deserted inlet just south of Borgarfjörður Eystri, renowned for its serene surroundings. A hike back and forth from the parking lot at Hafnarhólmi marina across Brúnavíkurskarð pass (360 m) down to the ruins of the farm is approx. 12 km. Crossing at the mouth of the river is an absolute must to appreciate the colorful beach. The way back crosses the Brotagil ravine across the bridge to pass Hofstrandarskarð (320 m). The hike takes about 5-6 hours on a marked trail.
Víknaslóðir trails, sometimes also referred to as Trails of the Inlets is a vast net of well-marked and versatile hiking routes reaching from the village in Borgarfjörður Eystri to Loðmundarfjörður. Locals have through the years marked out and maintained numerous trails, making the area a rightfully called hiker's Paradise. They also publish a high-quality hiking map and operate comfortable hiking lodges with facilities in Breiðavík, Húsavík and Loðmundarfjörður, deserted inlets and fjord, south of Borgarfjörður Eystri. The mountains come in all shapes and sizes and the variety of colors is stunning; everything from the black sand beaches to the pinkish orange hues of the mountain ridges. The trails wind themselves between isolated coves and fjords over colorful hills and through green valleys all the way down to the coast. Abandoned houses and ruins of ancient farms leave their mark on the surroundings. Travellers can easily spend a few days in the area exploring and taking in the breathtaking views. Tourism companies in Borgarfjörður Eystri offer hikers all kinds of services related to their journey, whether it be tour planning, guidance or transport.

All Travel Routes