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The birdlife

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The birdlife

The East boasts of a brilliant birdlife, most migrant birds arrive here, and vagrant species from mainland Europe are common guests, especially in and around Djúpivogur. Fljótsdalshéraðs coast is the home of world’s largest breeding colony of arctic skua, as well as common looms, great skuas, geese, swans and waders. The fjords are full of eider ducks and a great colony of gannets lives on the island of Skrúður. In the highlands, the wilderness around Snæfell, the Eyjabakkar and Vesturöræfi are home to the pink-footed goose and at Borgarfjörður and Skálanes, as well as in Papey, you can almost touch the puffins.

Gerpir

Gerpir is the easternmost tip of Iceland.
Magnificent view, high rocks, and cliffs (661 m.) Making your way along the edge of cliffs some 12 million years old is an experience you´ll never forget. Throughout the area ( "Gerpissvæðið") there are many marked trails, walking paths, and hiking routes, construed by the hiking club Ferðafélag Fjarðamanna. Prior to visiting, obtaining a good map of the area is a sensible option - or getting in touch with a local information center. The area is also popular among kayak enthusiasts and mountain bikers.

Hafnarhólmi

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.

Papey

For centuries Papey was the only inhabited island off Iceland's east coast. The name is a Celtic one, meaning "Friar's Island." Two 12th-century Icelandic sources affirm Irish monks founded a hermitage here, perhaps having been chased off the mainland by the Norse. However, excavations have not yet confirmed habitation prior to the 10th century.
Settlers led a self-sufficient life growing potatoes, tending sheep, sustaining themselves on birds, eggs, fish, seals, and sharks. Later generations harvested down from eider-duck nests.
Papey's population peaked in 1726, totaling 16 inhabitants. The last full-time resident left the island in1948. Primetime to visit is spring until mid-summer when Papey is overrun with guillemots. Puffins and other birds are seen until the end of August, though some birds are seen through summer as well as the seals.
The island boasts Iceland's oldest wooden church.

Skálanes

Skálanes nature and heritage centre is situated in a beautifully restored Icelandic farmhouse set in its own nature reserve at the mouth of Seyðisfjörður East- Iceland. Dramatic snow-capped mountains, vast sea cliffs, secluded shoreline and coves, and a vibrant bird colony make Skálanes a place for relaxation, research, contemplation, and a different pace of life.

Hólmanes

Between Reyðarfjörður and Eskifjörður you can visit the Nature reserve Hólmanes. This is an ideal place to enjoy a good walk either down to the sea or up the hills. Birds and remarkable rock formations can be enjoyed in Hólmanes. With luck, you could stumble upon a herd of reindeers.

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Skrúður

Skrúður is an island haven in the mouth of fjord Fáskrúðsfjörður. It is surrounded by high cliffs accessible only to the bold and brave. On the island, there is a sizable cave which was occasionally used as a shelter for sailors making their way southwards. Legends say there were three giant brothers living in the East, one of whom made his home in Skrúður, the other in Streitishvarf and the third on the island of Papey. The Skrúður dweller abducted his wife from the on-shore vicarage of Kolfreyjustaður; the local priest´s young daughter. Legends relating to their insular existence lived among the sailors who visited the island.

Snæfell

Mt Snæfell towering to 1,833 m, is the highest mountain in Iceland outside the glacier regions. Even so, and despite the omnipresent snow, (Snæfell = "The Snow Mountain), it is fairly accessible from Snæfellsskáli hut. While Snæfell boasts a splendor of its own, it offers a fabulous view, partly overlooking the oasis of Eyjabakkar. Eyjabakkar is the choice habitat for geese. Reindeer can frequently be spotted west of Snæfell, towards Hálsalón reservoir, in addition to other territories in the East Iceland highlands.

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Hallormsstaðaskógur

Hallormsstaðaskógur National Forest is considered to be Iceland's largest forest. The forest covers an area of 740 hectares, most of which is native birch. The birchwood remnants at Hallormsstaður farm were declared protected in 1905 and thereby became Iceland's first national forest and is now managed by the Icelandic Forest Service.

Hallormsstaðaskógur is a popular outdoor recreational area for both locals and travellers, with its diverse landscapes and over 40 kms of versatile hiking routes and marked trails, camp sites, open spaces and playgrounds. The Hallormsstaður Arboretum is unique in Iceland, comprising a collection of around 80 tree species from all over the world.

The forest provides food, nest sites and protection from predators for several bird species. Year-round residents include redpoll, wren, goldcrest, ptarmigan, and raven. In summer the forest fills with redwings, snipes and meadow pipits along with woodcocks and wagtails. Besides birding, the forest offers opportunities for botanising and picking berries and mushrooms.

Austurland

Towns & Villages

Each town in Austurland has its own characteristics. In some of the coastal villages t, the influence of North European neighbors obvious to everyone. 

The French made a strong impact in Fáskrúðsfjörður where the road signs are made out in French as well as in Icelandic. Norwegian influence is easily detected in the Eskifjörður and Seydisfjörður architecture. No such roots are to be seen in Egilsstadir which is the latest addition to East Iceland agglomeration, founded in the late forties of the 20th century.  

Map Vopnafjörður Borgarfjörður Eystri Egilsstaðir Seyðisfjörður Mjóifjörður Neskaupstaður Breiðdalsvík Eskifjörður Reyðarfjörður Fáskrúðsfjörður Stöðvarfjörður Djúpivogur