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Towns

Borgarfjörður eystri

The Borgarfjörður region, on the coast about 70 km from Egilsstaðir, is known for its great natural beauty. The village has around 100 inhabitants. Borgarfjörður is famous for the good hiking trails named "Víknaslóðir" leading to the deserted fjords and coves, Víkur, and to Loðmundarfjörður. The area has become a hiker´s paradise with local people marking numerous trails, comfortable hiking huts and a good hiking-map. The marked trails range from 1 hour to a full day (all in all 170 km long). Borgarfjörður is the home of the Queen of Elves. It is possible to walk to the hill "Álfaborg" - "The Elves´Castle" where the queen of the Icelandic elves allegedly resides with her court. The "Álfacafé" is worth a visit for trying out the local fish-dishes. A visit to the fish factory as a worthwhile experience or a glance at some of the beautifull handicraft by the local artists. In Borgarfjörður there are excellent facilities for bird-watching, namely a special hide at the harbour from which over twenty species have been sighted at once. At Hafnarhólmi, located by the fishing harbour, one can enjoy excellent facilities for bird-watching, for instance close-up views of puffins and kittiwakes.

Breiðdalsvík

The spectacular valley of Breiðdalur is the longest and widest of the valleys in Eastern Iceland. Surrounded by majestic, alpine mountains rising on both sides to over 1100 metres. The valley is dominated by the magnificent peak of Tóartindur over a 1000 m, dividing the valley into the North- and South valleys. The lovely artic forest "Jórvíkurskógur" allows camping.There are good views of Breiðdalur from Breiðdalsheiði, an ancient eroded volcano on the main highway , with the impressive Breiðdalsá river, famous for salmon-fishing, winding its way across the valley basin to the sea. Stop and search for colourful stones. Breiðdalsvík, the charming village lies on the coast with great seascapes and black sand beaches. The first house was built in 1883 and soon after a shop or co-operative attracting more people. The old Co-op still exists and has been rebuilt to house a geological centre, for the Breiðdalur regions volcanic history and the origin of the colourful minerals. The centre also houses a collection dedicated to Stefán Einarsson, a linguist, and his research on the Icelandic language. In Breiðdalur you will find accommodation to serve your needs as well as coffee shops and restaurants. The main activities are horseback riding, fishing, bird-watching and hiking.

Djúpivogur

Djúpavogshreppur is the southern most district of the east. Álftafjörður and Hamarsfjörður are lagoons, rich in birdlife where as Berufjörður is a long and narrow fjord. The pyramid-shaped Búlandstindur at 1069 m, dominates the landscape, and according to legend it can make wishes come true during the summer solstice. Djúpivogur is a charming village with a long history of trading since 1589 located in a place of incomparable natural beauty. Today the main industry is fishing with tourism increasing rapidly in recent years. Langabúð, the oldest house in Djúpivogur was originally built in 1790, has been renovated and now serves as a cultural centre. It houses some of the works of sculptor Ríkarður Jónsson, a heritage museum and a coffee-shop with delicious homemade cakes and a display of local handicraft. Don't miss the outdoor sculpture, Eggin í Gleðivík, by the world famous Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson, consisting

of 34 eggs. The artwork is on the coast, about 1 km from the centre of the village, in a convenient walking distance. The nature around Djupivogur is highly varied. The Búlandsnes bird sanctuary is renowned among bird lovers throughout the world, where you can observe most Icelandic birds nesting in their natural habitat close by. Join the Papey bird and seal watching boat tours or hike in the fascinating mountains and fjords in the vicinity.

Things to do:

  • Try the new swimming pool
  • Go bird watching
  • Visit Papey, with puffins and seal
  • View the Eggs
  • Climb the mountain Búlandstindur
  • The homemade cakes at Langabúð
  • Try the glorious fish at Hótel Framtíð

Click this link to see a video clip from Djúpivogur
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02uMUF7651o&list=UUcehMEANusIJVzXPj-2js_g&index=16

Egilsstaðir

Established in 1947 by governmental decree, Egilsstaðir, one of Iceland´s youngest townships- has become the service and trade centre for most of East Iceland.Thus, Egilsstaðir has a large number of retail and service businesses, and many major Icelandic companies have branches there; engineering firms and financial institutions. Public services include the largest Upper Secondary school in East Iceland as well as the continuing and university education opportunities offered through the East Iceland Knowledge Network. The municipality provides for various sports- and social facilities, i.e. four sports halls and a fully-equipped thermal outdoor swimming pool. Jointly the villages of Egilsstaðir and Fellabær serve East Iceland, not only as a centre for services but also for transportation, especially via Egilsstaðir Airport. Over the years regional air traffic has known new dimensions with domestic flights at times being supplemented by international air connections. Scheduled bus connections link the airport to main villages ranging from Breiðdalsvík in the south to Borgarfjörður Eystri in the north. There are scheduled busses all year round between Akureyri in North Iceland and Egilsstaðir (Info Centre). Fljótsdalshérað assures free shuttle service within the municipalities of Egilsstaðir and Fellabær. Convenient location at busy crossroads and next door to international ferry harbour Seyðisfjörður further enriches the local atmosphere and adds versatility and colours to everyday life in Eastland busiest town.

Eskifjörður

Eskifjörður is a charming seaside village in the middle of the eastern Fjords. Eskifjörður became an official trading post in 1789 and has been a commercial centre ever since. Two
mountains, Eskja and Hólmatindur, dominate the fjord. Hólmatindur - 985 meters above sea level - is the pride and joy of the locals. Since village culture and industry have been shaped by the sea for a long time, a walk around town is recommended, noting the historical buildings and piers. A visit to the Maritime Museum will add to the experience. The attractive seafarers´ lodge Randulfssjóhús remains unchanged since 1890, showing the ways of yesteryear´s fisheries trade. You can even try tasting the shark and dried fish still produced there. Boat renting and sailing around the fjord is possible where you can try your hand at fishing for supper. Geology in the area is worth noting. E.g. a short way east along the coast you reach one of the globe´s most famous spar mines, where some of the world´s largest spar crystals have been excavated. After the sightseeing tour a visit to the local swimming pool is recommended - or perhaps a visit
the coffee shop Kaffihúsið, before heading on.

Things to do:

• Rent a boat at Mjóeyri
• Learn about the last execution in the east
• Helgustaðanáma, the world famous mine
• Vöðlavík the deserted bay with black sandy beach.
• The Church - and cultural centre for art
• Steinasafn Sörens og Sigurborgar
a stone collection in a private home.

Fáskrúðsfjörður

Fáskrúðsfjörður is in the centre of the eastfjords, in between peninsulas Vattarnes and Hafnarnes. At the bottom of the fjord there is a grassy valley with lovely arctic woodlands. The route from Reyðarfjörður along the coast is very scenic and should not be missed. It offers great views to the hollow cliff island of Skrúður. The island is home to a colourful birdlife, with the unique wonder the 'Puffin Cave' sheltering thousands of puffins and a great colony of Gannets that can be seen plunging like arrows into the water. The town at the bottom of the fjord goes by the name of Búðir, but everyone calls it Fáskrúðsfjörður. The town became a trading post in 1880. From the latter part of the 19th century until 1935, the town was the main hub for French fishermen off East of Iceland. The town is famous for its French heritage and has a strong connection to its French counterpart, Gravelines. It is worth while to visit the French Museum and learn more about these historical connections. There used to be a French consul, a French hospital and a French chapel. It is also believed that France had a say in the fact that the district doctor was positioned in Búðir. The village road signs are also in French. Don't forget to visit the local Café which is known for great cakes and refreshments that can be enjoyed in cosy surroundings. An eligeble place to stay is the farm Tunguholt.

Just outside the town is a graveyard, the burial place of 49 known French sailors. The former French hospital, erected in 1903 and notorious for being haunted, is currently being restored to its former glory.

Fljótsdalshérað

The viewpoint indicator at the western extremity of Fjarðarheiði pass (alt. 620 m.) between Seyðisfjörður and the lowland around Egilsstaðir, serves as a good indicator when contemplating the panorama of the region. On a clear day, Mount Gagnheiði to the south will provide an even higher vantage point. The "Hérað" -colloquially short for "Fljótsdalshérað"- has long referred to the broad valley extending and branching sw. inland from Héraðsflói bay. Among Icelanders, the valleys of Fljótsdalshérað have long enjoyed a reputation for natural beauty and nice climate. This has been still enhanced by forest cultivation with trees gradually providing more shelter from chilly gales from the North. When summer breeze blows from the South or West, however, a Föhn effect often emerges, resulting in high temperatures and calm from evening till mid-morning. A quiet evening at Atlavík inlet, viewing the calm of the lake , is an experience unsurpassed. By Icelandic standards, Fljótsdalshérað enjoys a favourable climate, whatever the season, reminiscent of that of Scandinavia.

Mjóifjörður

Mjóifjörður, the "narrow fjord", 18 km. long, is situated between Norðfjörður and Seyðisfjörður, and is known for pleasant weather and tranquility. The road leading to the fjord is relatively good, but is usually closed in winter, when the only access to Mjóifjörður is by the scheduled Fjardaferdir boat from Norðfjörður. The exhilarating road on the north side runs along the fjord side to Dalatangi, a lighthouse with a most magnificent view out towards the open ocean.There are many attractions in Mjóifjörður, which is considered by many people to be the most impressive fjord in Iceland. The beautiful waterfalls Klifbrekkufossar tumble down by the roadside. The ravine Prestagil " the Priest's Ravine", is so named because of a local folktale that tells of a huge troll woman that tried to seduce a priest into the ravine, is on the south side. Another challenging gorge is Hofsárgljúfur on the way to Dalatangi, stop by the bridge an look down. The small inlet of Smjörvogur, close to Hofsárgljúfur, was once used as a prison as there was no way in, or out of it, without assistance. At Asknes are the remains of an old whaling station, the largest in the world at the time it was built by the Norwegians around 1900, with over 200 hundred workers. Today, some 40 people live in Mjóifjörður, mostly in the tiny village, Brekkuþorp.A visit to the solitary Dalatangi lighthouse is worth your while, as is a boattrip along the fjord. A stay at the guesthouse is a haven of tranquility and the local shellfish with a good glass of whitewine at Brekkan restaurant is truely the icing on the Mjóifjörður cake.

Neskaupstaður

The road from Eskifjörður over to Norðfjörður -or Neskaupstaður as the town is usually called- has great views before leading through an old
single lane tunnel and winding its way downwards. Until 50 years ago the town was only accessible be sea, a fact which had a stimulating effect
on the lively local culture. Norðfjörður is known for a florid music scene, of which the main impresario is the local blues, rock and jazz club Brján.
Norðfjörður is the most densely populated of the Fjarðabyggð communities and offers a horn of plenty. Hiking trails in Norðfjörður nature reserve are
renowned for imposing natural beauty, diverse birdlife and fauna. The cozy café Nesbær offers delicious refreshments and interesting exhibitions by local artists. A good horse rental, Skorrahestar, offers long and short tours and Neskaupstaður is the hub of the most active kayak club in Iceland. Hotels, three interesting museums in one house, outdoor swimming
pool, beautiful natural sights like the cave Páskahellir down by the shore. The Rauðubjörg cliffs, a stunning reddish rhyolite cliff face offer a spectacular view. Catching the scheduled boat to nearby Mjóifjörður ensures great views along the way. The Safnahúsið - the site of a natural history museum, painter Tryggvi Ólafsson art collection and a maritime museum is certainly worth a visit, as is a look-in on Gallery Thea with its famous clay horses.

Art collection and a maritime museum is certainly worth a visit, as is a look-in on Gallery Thea with its famous clay horses.

Reyðarfjörður

Reyðarfjörður is the longest and widest of Iceland's eastern fjords; more than 30 km. long. Norwegians used to operate whaling stations along the fjord and fishing was frequented along the coastline. The town Búðareyri benefits from the shelter at the bottom of the fjord, where the harbour is naturally optimal. Thus in 1909, when the road through Fagridalur to Egilsstaðir was completed, it became a trade centre for the region.Today the Alcoa aluminium smelter is the main employer. During World War II, Reyðarfjörður was occupied by British forces. The remains of the occupation are fairly visible, ranging from an airport and old barracks to small gun shelters. In 1995 a War Time Museum was founded in an empty Freezing Plant and now extends to some of the old barracks. An interesting museum in a country that was never at war. A walk up to the waterfall in Búðará is recommended - as is the walk towards the town centre, along the 'Love lane'. In the centre you will find the shopping centre Molinn ('The Nugget'), and the restaurants at Fjarðahótel or Tærgesen, located in a couple of old houses, where history took place in every corner. Fishing at the local pond - Andapollur - is a relaxing occupation - and a hike to the friendly, sheltered area beneath the shrub-covered slopes of Mt. Grænafell is an absolute must. An easy, marked hiking path leads onto the mountain from Fagradalur valley and there is also a magnificent hiking path along the beautiful Geithúsaá river ravine. Large boulders in the shrubbery could be mistaken for elf domiciles but are in fact deposits left by avalanches and landslides from the mountain. It is currently the most popular walking and hiking area for residents of the town.

Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður, a fjord skillfully carved by the ice age glacier, is distinguished by excellent harbour facilities and Norwegian heritage. Seyðisfjörður has been an important trading center from the nineteenth century up to modern times, due to natural harbor and proximity to the european continent. The colourful, Norwegian-style wooden houses, dating from the early years of the 20th. century render this village unique in Iceland. Walking trails around town, out along the coast, or by the Fjarðará River, allow for many pleasurable and relaxing experiences. During summer, Seyðisfjörður offers a thriving arts scene, with visiting artists and growing community of artists residents. The Skaftfell Cultural Centre contains works by some of these, including the Swiss-German artist and former Seydisfjordur resident, Dieter Roth (1930-1998). Seyðisfjörður is home to approximately 700 residents, who have traditionally lived off fishing. In recent years, however, tourism has grown rapidly.

Stöðvarfjörður

Stöðvarfjördur is a neat small town on the northern side of the fjord by the same name.The locals sustain themselves by fisheries, aluminium industry, tourism and art. Like most of the eastern fjords, it is surrounded by spectacular mountains. On the north side there is the towering mountain Stedji and the nearby mountain Hellufjall. To the south of the fjord is the majestic mountain Súlur. The area is renowned for its natural beauty. Lovers of nature will enjoy contemplating the beautiful waterfalls of the river, Stödvará, which joints the ocean at the bottom of the fjord. Many rare and peculiar types of stones and minerals can be found in the surrounding mountains, some of which have contributed to the lifelong collection of Petra Sveinsdottir. Petra´s stone collection in Stöðvarfjörður is a feast for the eye.

Vopnafjörður

Vopnafjörður is a wide fjord separating the headlands of Digranes and Kollumuli. The fjord joins two large bays on both sides; Bakkaflói to the north and Heraðsfloi to the south. The village of Vopnafjordur lies on a spit called Kolbeinstangi, forming Nípsfjörður to the north and Vopnafjörður to the south.On the south side of the fjord is a mountain range which culminates at Mt. Krossavikurfjoll towering 1,079 m. abovve sea level. In the area to the north, several mountains dominate the landscape, rising nearly 1,000 meters over the surrounding moors. Kaupvangur in the heart of the town Vopnafjordur is a museum in rememberance of the thousands of emigrants who left the region for Canada and the U.S. in the wake of the disastrous Askja volcanic eruption in 1875. There are numerous interesting sights in Vopnafjordur, e.g. Selár dalslaug, a geothermal swimming pool on the banks on the river Selá. Special mention should me made of the historic farm Bustarfell, a regional museum where history comes alive through storytelling and workshops each summer. Rising between Fljótsdalshérað and Vopnafjörður, the 655 m. high pass of Hellisheiði provides a spectacular view for travellers driving up its eastern slopes. Though the road is quite steep and windy it is passable for all vehicles during summer.

East Iceland

Towns & Villages

Each town in East Iceland has its own characteristics. In some of the coastal villages the influence of North European neighbours is 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 latest addition to East Iceland agglomeration, founded in the late forties of the 20th century.  

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