Visit Eastfjords, Iceland
The least populated area of Iceland and one of the least visited, the Eastfjords are often overlooked by visitors, but to do so would be a mistake. The region feels like one of the most authentic in the country with little fishing villages clinging to the sides of steep fjords, landscapes imbued with living folklore and traditional life continuing largely as it has done for centuries. With broad river valleys, snow-capped peaks and inky fjords at every turn and hiking routes where you’re unlikely to meet another soul, it’s the place to find the real Iceland and its local characters.
Things to see and do in the Eastfjords
The main commercial and transport hub in east Iceland, Egilsstaðir is a rather workaday town but has good services and facilities and a pleasant location on the banks of the Lagarfljót River. The town’s East Iceland Heritage Museum offers a good introduction to the region and different ways that rural Icelanders survived in this harsh environment for centuries. It has displays on traditional Icelandic turf homes and on culture, society and everyday life in the region. Additionally, the museum examines the role of wild reindeer in the culture of east Iceland, which is the only part of the country where they live.
Northeast of Egilsstaðir, the tiny village of Borgarfjörður Eystri is framed by striped rhyolite mountains and is said to be the home of the Queen of the Elves who lives in a big rock that looms over the town. With easy access to the Dyrfjöll mountains and few visitors, it’s a great base for hikers and the many nearby trails lead to impressive, untouched scenery.
The nearby islet of Hafnarhólmi has some of the country’s best puffin viewing and you can see huge numbers of birds on this promontory first thing in the morning and at dusk between mid-April and early August.
Driving east from Egilsstaðir over a scenic highland pass, you’ll drop down over a series of hairpin bends past gushing waterfalls to the head of a 17 km (11 mile) long fjord where you’ll find the town of Seyðisfjörður. Brightly painted wooden houses line the port in this little town, which is hailed as east Iceland’s cultural hub. Its remote location and scenic setting having attracted writers and artists over the years and although tiny, it has a thriving arts scene, an annual summer arts festival and is home to the renowned ‘rainbow road’ that leads to its pretty Lutheran church. There is also a ferry to Copenhagen (via the Faroe Islands) which departs from the docks.
One of Iceland’s largest lakes, Lögurinn, sits just west of Egilsstaðir and is steeped in Icelandic saga history. The area’s woodlands and waterfalls are quite a contrast to most other parts of the country, making it easy to see how the landscape inspired saga tales. The most popular saga describes a monster, Lagarfljótsormurinn, living in the depths of the lake.
You can drive right around the lake to Hengifoss, one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls, which plummets over a sheer cliff, and to Hallormsstaður, its largest forest. A network of hiking trails laces the region and offers great walking with views of Vatnajökull’s northern slopes and Iceland’s tallest free-standing mountain, Snæfell.
Best time to visit the Eastfjords
The summer months of June to September are the best time to visit the Eastfjords: the landscape is at its most welcoming and the weather is the best in the country with less rainfall and warmer, clearer days than other parts of Iceland. In winter, many hotels and attractions close and the roads can frequently become impassable making access difficult.
Suggested itineraries featuring Eastfjords
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Eastfjords, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Eastfjords
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Eastfjords
- Dettifoss 69 miles away
- Lake Mývatn 79 miles away
- Vatnajökull National Park 89 miles away
- Jökulsárlón 99 miles away
- Akureyri 110 miles away
- North Iceland 132 miles away
- Troll Peninsula 143 miles away
- South Iceland 163 miles away
- Golden Circle 189 miles away
- Langjökull 194 miles away
- South Coast 194 miles away
- Westman Islands 217 miles away
- West Iceland 226 miles away
- Reykjavík 236 miles away
- Flatey 246 miles away
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula 255 miles away
- Blue Lagoon 258 miles away
- Southwest Iceland 258 miles away
Accommodation choices for Eastfjords
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Eastfjords. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Eastfjords
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Eastfjords, and which use the best local guides.