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Iceland Mag

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9 great excuses to travel to Northeast Iceland

By Staff

  • Jökulsá á fjöllum The glacial river Jökulsá á fjöllum is one of the most powerful glacial rivers in Iceland and the second longest river in Iceland. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Bountiful salmon rivers, Iceland’s northern most village, and windswept landscapes are among the many things the isolated Northeast has to offer visitors. So pack your bags and head on off!


1.    The swimming pool in Selárdalur

Sundlaug, Selárdalur

Photo/Friðrik Þór Halldórsson

This humble little swimming pool was built by members of the local Youth Association in 1949 and is perfectly located in the middle of a shallow gorge on the banks of Selá River. The pool’s natural surroundings are simply stunning!

Where: Vopnafjörður

2.    Langanes peninsula

Langanes, norðausturland

Langanes peninsula is one of Iceland’s northern most points. Weather conditions at Langanes are consistently quite windy and humid and the windswept landscape is barren and eerie and, because Langanes is barely on the map, it’s the ideal place for all those who want to explore the more remote areas of Iceland.
The peninsula’s cliffs become teeming with life in spring and summer, making it the perfect destination for avid bird watchers.

Where: 20 km north of Þórshöfn


3.    Jökulsá á Föllum

Jökulsá á Fjöllum, hálendið, Vatnajökull

Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

The magnificent Jökulsá á fjöllum (which could be translated to ‘Glacial River on the mountains’) runs 206 kilometres (128 miles), making it Iceland’s second longest river. It source is Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland’s largest ice cap, and it flows into the Greenland Sea in the north. The largest glacial floods known to have happened in Iceland burst along the riverbeds of Jökulsá several thousand years ago, leaving lasting scars in the form of the massive Jökulsárgljúfur canyon and the beautiful Ásbyrgi gorge.


4.    Síreksstaðir farm

Síreksstaðir, býli


Síreksstaðir farm is a lovely spot for families with children to visit. Accommodation is available on the farm, which is also the location of a small family-run restaurant and market selling beef and eggs produced on site. The small cottages accommodate up to 4 people, ideal for a family vacation.

Where: 20 km from Vopnafjörður


5.    Melrakkaslétta plain

Winter sheepherding Melrakkaslétta

Melrakkaslétta in winter. Photo/Ágústa Ágústsdóttir

Melrakkaslétta is a desolate land located in the far north of Iceland. The only sound you’ll hear there is that of the wind and the birds that have made the basalt cliffs their home. The area’s black beaches are dotted with driftwood, while its moors are mottled with lakes and ponds. In the northwest is the landmark Rauðinúpur volcano which stretches into the sea.

The tiny village of Kópasker, located west to Melrakkaslétta, is home to the Earthquake Centre, an interesting stop for those who are curious to learn more about geology and seismic activity.


6.    Raufarhöfn village

Raufarhöfn, austurland

Photo/ilhelm Gunnarsson

The small village of Raufarhöfn is the northern most town in Iceland. Because of its geographical position, Raufarhöfn has the longest days in Iceland during the summer and the shortest ones in winter.


7.    Burstafell farm

Burstafell, austurland

Photo/Birna Einarsdóttir

The turf house at Bustarfell was a family-home up until 1966. It is one of Iceland’s best maintained turf houses and was recently converted into a museum. Next to the museum is a café for visitors to sit down and relax while enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of nature.

Where: Hofsárdalur valley, 20 km from Vopnafjörður


8.    The Centre for forystufé

Hrútur, kindur, sauðfé, réttir

Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Forystufé, or leader sheep, is a special breed of sheep found in Iceland. The breed gets its name from its intelligence and amazing leadership abilities (a leader sheep will always be in the forefront of its flock).  Many claim forystufé possess a sixth sense as they have an exceptional sense of direction and can forecast impending bad weather.
Fræðslusetur um forystufé offers information on this unique and intelligent breed of animals.

Where: Svalbarði, Þórshöfn


9.    Salmon fishing in Þistilfjörður

Fiskveiði, veiði, fly fishing


The lush farming valley of Þistilfjörður is rich with interesting fishing rivers for keen anglers. Hafralónsá, Hölkná, Sandá, and Svalbarðsá rivers are chock full with Atlantic salmon in the summer – the perfect spot for anglers to vacation.

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