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.
Map of Eastfjords
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Eastfjords
- Dettifoss 111 kilometers away
- Lake Mývatn 128 kilometers away
- Vatnajökull National Park 143 kilometers away
- Jökulsárlón 160 kilometers away
- Akureyri 177 kilometers away
- North Iceland 213 kilometers away
- Troll Peninsula 229 kilometers away
- South Iceland 261 kilometers away
- Golden Circle 304 kilometers away
- Langjökull 311 kilometers away
- South Coast 313 kilometers away
- Westman Islands 349 kilometers away
- West Iceland 364 kilometers away
- Reykjavík 380 kilometers away
- Flatey 396 kilometers away
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula 410 kilometers away
- Blue Lagoon 414 kilometers away
- Southwest Iceland 415 kilometers away
Photos of Eastfjords
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.
Located on the waterfront in the village of Fáskrúðsfjörður on Iceland’s scenic east coast, Fosshotel Eastfjords offers French-inspired cuisine, an on-site museum, and rooms in four historic buildings that were built over a century ago for French fishermen.
An intimate guesthouse on the banks of Lagarfljót lake, Gistihúsið - Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir offers 50 comfortable rooms, an all-day restaurant, and an impressive spa. This is an ideal base for those who want to spend time exploring the east of Iceland.
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.
Little-visited yet one of the most impressive day hikes in Iceland, the walk to Stórurð passes though lush valleys and meadows set against a backdrop of jagged peaks to reach a sapphire lake set in a valley littered with giant boulders.