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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

The "Hafnarhólmi" in Borgarfjörður Eystri is an area highly suitable for birdwatching. On the premises, there is a staircase leading up to a platform where one can get closer to puffins and the birds of the sea than ever imaginable. The puffins arrive in April and disappear overnight around August 15th. Underway to Hafnarhólmi one enjoys good close-ups of vivid birdlife and the arctic tern nests along the shore and on banks of the river. The harbor proudly raises the blue flag indicating that the inhabitants are respectful and attentive towards their surroundings.

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 a 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

Hallormsstaður National Forest

Hallormsstaður National Forest is considered to be Iceland's largest forest. The forest covers an area of 740 hectares most of which is native birch. Since 1905, the forest has been the site of large scale trials of exotic species.

The forest is a popular outdoor area in a diverse landscape. There are 11 marked trails. A hiking map is in a box at the start of all the hiking trails, as well as the map at Hotel Hallormsstadur. Hallormsstadur host arboretum a tree collection with over 80 tree species.

There are two camping areas in the forest: Atlavík which is located in a picturesque cove surrounded by birch woods and Höfðavík that provides a higher level of services for campers.

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