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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 music festival, 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 and hiking.

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.

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Borgarfjörður eystri
GPS Points N65° 32' 36.183" W13° 47' 16.708"
Postal codes

720

Travel directory for Borgarfjörður eystri

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Others

Kayhike
Day Tours
  • Fjarðarborg
  • 720 Borgarfjörður eystri
  • 869-2159
Fjord Bikes
Day Tour Provider
  • Bakkavegur 9
  • 720 Borgarfjörður eystri
  • 770-0791

Others

Já sæll - Grill & bar
Restaurants
  • Fjarðarborg
  • 720 Borgarfjörður eystri
  • 4729920
History and Culture
Álfaborg

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.



History and Culture
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 of
avalanches 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 tower
Our lives are lacking protection
but God's sacred power
will ensure its resurrection.



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Nature
Dyrfjöll

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.

Other attractions
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.

History and Culture
Bakkagerðiskirkja


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.


Nature
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.

Nature
Kúahjalli og Hrafnatindur

Numerous marked trails surround the village at Borgarfjörður Eystri. One of them leads to the mountainous terrain of Kúahjalli and Hrafnatindur. The trail follows the banks of Bakkaá river up to Hrafnatindur mountain offering a remarkable view over the fjord. Thereupon the trail continues to Kúahjalli and down again to Geitavík where a monument dedicated to the renowned Icelandic painter Jóhannes S. Kjarval stands. The hike should take about 3 hours with 350 m elevation.

History and Culture
Lindarbakki

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.

Nature
Stórurð

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.

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