What to do in East Iceland
1. Activities at Hallormsstaður
At the Atlavík cove travelers can hire pedal boats, rowboats or canoes. The forest and the lake surroundings are perfect for hiking and in late summer for berry and mushroom picking.
2. Cruises on Lake Lögurinn
One of the most recent pleasures for residents as well as travelers is the ferry Lagarfljótsormurinn, which bears the name of the famous monster of Lake Lögurinn. The monster is by some considered to be a close relative of the Loch Ness monster and both monsters share the talent of usually escaping from prying cameras into the dephts of their lakes. There are cruises between Egilstaðir and Hallormsstaður / Atlavík (irregular schedules) and there is a restaurant / bar on board the boat.
The East Iceland Heritage museum in Egilsstaðir, The Tree Museum in Hallormsstaður, The Poet House at Skriðuklaustur, The World War II Museum in Reyðarfjörður, The Maritime Museum in Eskifjörður, The French Influence and History in the East Museum in Fáskrúðsfjörður, The Museum of Technology in Seyðisfjörður, The farm and folk museum at Bustarfell, The National History Museum in Neskaupstaður, and Petra’s Stone Collection in Stöðvarfjörður.
The best tracks are in Hallormsstaður forest, Snæfell mountain, Borgarfjörður-Eystri, Loðmundarfjörður, Seyðisfjörður and Reyðarfjörður.
5. The swimming pool at Vopnafjörður (about 90 km / 1 ½ hour drive from Egilsstaðir)
It isn’t without a reason that the swimming pool at Vopnafjörður is by many regarded as the most romantic outdoor swimming pool in Iceland. The dressing rooms are lit with candle lights as there is no electricity and from the pool and natural hot tub one has a panoramic view over a beautiful salmon river and the nearby mountains. While relaxing in the hot tub the visitor might even get served coffee on a good day.
In Reyðarfjörður Salmon is released on a regular bases into the large duck pond Andapollurinn. Fishing licenses are available for purchase.
7. Sea Angling & Cruises to Papey (about 180 km/ 2 ½ hours drive from Egilsstaðir)
The largest island off the east coast of Iceland is Papey, and until a few decades ago it was the only populated one. It is about 2 square kilometers in area and Hellisbjarg, the highest point of the island, is only 58 m above sea level. There was only one farm on the well vegetated island. The church was built in 1902 and the lighthouse in 1922. Two of the several smaller islands around the main island are connected to it by cable carriers. It is presumed that the island was the first place in Iceland to be settled, by Irish monks, just before the Nordic settlement of Iceland began. Their Icelandic name, Papar, is probably the source of the island’s name. The island is one of the country’s greatest bird-nesting grounds. An abundance of seafowl in the cliffs and eider ducks and puffins occupy the island in large numbers during the breading season. 4 hours boat trips and angling cruises to the island are on offer from Djúpivogur.
8. Hvannadalshnúkur Hiking
The ascent of the highest peak in Iceland (2119 m) is a challenge for serious hikers but the rewards is an unforgettable walk in an incredible panorama. The experience of hiking through a glacial wilderness is simply unforgettable. Organised drives and hikes are available from Skaftafell camping ground.
9. Glacier Tour from Höfn
One of the bus company Austurleið’s most popular tour is the one up to Vatnajökull glacier. It starts at 9.00 in the morning from Höfn and at 12.00 from Smyrlabjörg hydro electrical power plant. It goes along an adventurous trail through untouched landscapes, ascending to the fringe of the glacier snout of Skálafellsjökull and the Jöklasel mountain cabin. In the cabin there is a restaurant and a small shop. Snow Cat or Snowmobile tours into the serene world of ice and snow are obtainable. From Jöklasel the tour goes on to Jökulsárlón where those who like can take a boat tour on the glacial lagoon. Arrival back in Höfn at 18.00.
1. Loðmundarfjörður (about 90 km/ca. 3 hours drive from Egilsstaðir)
From Borgarfjörður-Eystri there is a 4WD track over a dramatic mountain pass. It was once the main route between fjords and it opens up many opportunities to explore the untouched surroundings. You can either drive down along the small bay of Húsavík or carry on along the side track to the deserted Loðmundarfjörður fjord. Some smaller river must be crossed. This route is surely one of the hidden secrets for 4WD fans. First you pass Hvítserkur, one of Iceland’s most bizarre mountains, composed of rose-coloured rhyolite, lined with complicated basalt dykes. The second mountain pass is Nesháls. The surrounding landscape creates stunning and diverse scenes, with interplay of unusual basalt and rhyolite mountains. There are thousands of nesting eider ducks in Loðmundarfjörður, as well as seals and reindeer and some wild horses. The hiking options are plentiful and collecting colourful stones and minerals can be nice too.
2. Snæfell (about 90 km/ca. 3 hours drive from Egilsstaðir)
Fljótsdalsheiði (“River Valley Moor”) is a region of spongy tussocks of wet tundra, rock fields, persistent snow patches and alpine lakes. It stretches west from Lake Lögurinn into the desolate interior. At its southern end the extinct volcano Snæfell (“Snow Mountain”) rises. It is 1833 m high, which makes it Iceland’s highest mountain outside the Vatnajökull massif, a paradise for hikers and mountaineers. It isn’t a difficult climb, but the weather should always be taken into consideration and technical equipment is needed. Snæfell can be accessed by 4WD, but only for two months in the height of summer. On a clear day Askja, Herðubreið, Vatnajökull and mount Snæfell itself can be spotted from parts of the route, as well as reindeer.
3. Þórdalsheiði (about 120 km roundtrip / ca. 4 hours drive from/to Egilsstaðir)
The traditional route from the acricultural valley Skriðdalur that goes south of Egilsstaðir and through the mountains to Reyðarfjörður is called Þórdalsheiði moor. The road is primitive and due to loose rocks, steep climbs and rough conditions it can only be traveled in recreational 4WD of some height. This provides an adventure perfectly free from the main traffic.