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Iceland Mag

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13 great reasons to visit East Iceland!

By Sara McMahon

  • Reyðarfjörður The lovely fishing village of Reyðarfjörður was the setting for popular television series Fortitude.  Photo/GVA

A region with majestic mountains, gorgeous fjords and quaint little fishing villages, East Iceland is a world full of adventures just waiting to happen.


1.    East Street hiking trail

Illikambur, Austurstræti, austurland

Illikambur ridge Photo/Austurstræti

Austurstræti is a 100-kilometer-long (62 mile) walking trail that stretches from Lón on the east coast of Iceland, all the way to Fljótsdalur, a valley situated in the highlands north of Vatnajökull glacier. It takes approximately one week to walk the trail from one end to the other.


2.    Fáskrúðsfjörður village

Franski spítalinn, hótel, Fáskrúðsfjörður

The French Hostpital Hotel Photo/Fosshó

The beautiful fishing village of Fáskrúðsfjörður is one of the easternmost settlements in Iceland. All the town’s street names are in Icelandic and French in memory of the French fishermen who used to fish around the coasts of Iceland. Visit the newly renovated French Hospital hotel and museum for a cup of coffee and some nourishment.

Where: Hafnargata 11


3.    Petra’s Stone Collection

Steinasafn Petru

Petra and her stone collection Photo/Steinasafn Petru

The magnificent mountain range that surrounds Stöðvarfjörður fjord is rich of rocks and minerals. Petra, a local woman, has collected these precious rocks for decades and put them on display in her own museum - the largest rock and mineral collection of its kind in the world.
Grab yourself a cup of coffee and wander through the garden to look at all the different rocks and plants.

Where: Fjarðarbraut 21, Stöðvarfjörður


4.    Lagarfljót lake

Lagarfljót, Austurland

Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Lake Lagafljót is likely best known because of the beast that reputedly inhabits it. According to folklore, the monster, called Lagarfljótsormurinn, or the Lagarfljót Worm, was an ordinary worm placed in a linen chest to guard a golden ring. However, the worm grew so large that it broke open the chest. The ring’s owner, a young girl, became so startled by the worm’s size that she tossed, along with the ring, into the lake. There the worm continued to grow and terrorize locals.
Numerous sightings have been reported over the centuries, the latest dating back only 4 years. Next to the lake are Hallormsstaðaskógur, Iceland’s largest forest, and Hengifoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls.

Where: 15 minute drive from Egilsstaðir


5.    Norð-austur Sushi and Bar in Seyðisfjörður

Norð Austur Sushi

Photo/Aldan Hótel

Restaurant Norð-austur Sushi and Bar opened last summer in the gorgeous town of Seyðisfjörður. The eatery, located on the second floor of Hotel Aldan, serves beautiful sushi created from fresh fish caught by local fishermen. The restaurant’s chefs come from New York and are well seasoned in the delicate craft of sushi making.
The restaurant is only open during high season, from 1 of May until September.

Where: Norðurgata 2, Seyðisfjörður


6.    Hólmanes  nature reserve


Hólmanes nature reserve is located midway between the fishing villages of Reyðarfjörður and Eskifjörður. The area is home to a vast number of marine birds and other migrating birds and rich in fascinating rock formations. The majestic mountain range and the vast North Atlantic Ocean make for a wonderful backdrop for a wonderful hike.

Where: 5 km south of Eskifjörður


7.    Tvísöngur sculpture


Tvísöngur, which can be translated to “duet”, is a sound sculpture by German artist Lukas Kühne located on the mountain slope above Seyðisfjörður. The piece consists of five interconnected domes of different sizes, ranging between 2 and 4 meters. Each dome has its own resonance that corresponds to a tone in the Icelandic musical tradition of five-tone harmony.
It is easily accessible by foot and visitors will also be rewarded with an amazing view over Seyðisfjörður fjord.

Where: Seyðisfjörður


8.    The sea geyser Saxa

saxa, austurland

Saxa, or “the Grinder”, is a spectacular rock formation just off the coast of the farm Lönd near the fishing village of Stöðvarfjörður. The swelling waves of the North Atlantic rush through the perforated cliff, resulting in eruptive splashes of seawater reminiscent of the famous Geysir.

Where: Lönd, Stöðvafjörður


9. Stöðvarfjörður mountain range



The mountain range surrounding Stöðvarfjörður fjord boasts numerous hikes for keen mountaineers. Súlur, the town’s landmark mountain, and Kumlafell mountain are ideal for experienced hikers. On Kumlafell’s peak one will find a large circular gap which offers a fantastic view over to the neighbouring fjord of Fáskrúðsfjörður.

Where: Stöðvafjörður


10.  LungA Art Festival


Photo/Ira Goldstein/Wikipedia

The LungA festival takes place in mid-July each year. The festival attracts a large number of young and aspiring artists who then participate in various workshops hosted by experienced artists. The festival concludes with a weekend of exhibition and live concerts. 

Where: Seyðisfjörður


11.   Eistnaflug Music Festival

Neskaupsstaður, eistnaflug

Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson

In July each year, heavy metal fans flock to the small village of Neskaupsstaður in order to partake in the heavy metal music festival Eistnaflug. The event has a reputation for being exceedingly friendly and everyone follows one rule: Don‘t be an idiot.

Where: Neskaupsstaður


12.  Meet the locals


Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson

The initiative Meet the Locals is a collaboration between numerous travel operators in East Iceland. Its aim is to introduce travellers to the region, its nature, habits, history and culture. Come as a stranger, leave as a friend.



13.  Oddskarð ski area

Oddsskarð, skíðasvæði

Oddsskarð is one of Iceland's most exciting skiing destinations and often dubbed the East-Icelandic Alps. The longest ski tow will take skiers up to 840 m, from where there is a spectacular view over Reyðarfjörður fjord. 

Where: 15 minute drive from Eskifjörður

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