One of the great things about the East Coast of Iceland is that it’s not as well-known as other regions in the country. The South has Reykjavik, the Golden Circle, and all the attractions along the coast. The North has the Diamond Circle and cities like Akureyri. But East Iceland and its magnificent fjords are relatively unknown. The East fjords in Iceland are an off the beaten path destination you will want to include on your Iceland itinerary.
East Fjords Iceland
This is one of the more forgotten corners of the country, which is a plus if you’re looking to beat the crowds. Everyone else is jostling for pictures in front of the same waterfalls and hot springs, so why not take a different route? The charming fishing villages and jagged coastlines that jut out into the sea are a nice change from the hordes of tourists crowding the Blue Lagoon. You’ll also find beautiful animal species here like North Atlantic puffins and Icelandic reindeer.
If you want to have an authentic Icelandic adventure, it’s time to head east. Unspoiled nature and unobstructed views await you during your stay here.
East Fjords Iceland: Things to Do
Let’s start with one of the best things to do in the East Fjords of Iceland, the fjords themselves. As you and your rental car hug your way around the coastline, you’ll be rewarded with dramatic views and sweeping landscapes. The winding road lets you see waves crashing against the shore that will make you want to get out of your vehicle to take pictures.
The Vattarnes peninsula between Reyðarfjörður and Fáskrúðsfjörður offers a beautiful lookout point from its sea cliffs. Take Route 955 as a detour from the Ring Road to get the full view. You might even spot a whale or two if you come mid-April through mid-October. Taking in the gorgeous surroundings of this area on a road trip is one of my favorite East Fjords Iceland things to do.
What to Do in East Fjords Iceland: Seyðisfjörður Blue Church
Nestled in the innermost part of the Seyðisfjörður fjord is a town with the same name. While there are plenty of outdoor pursuits here such as fishing, skiing, and golfing, those aren’t what this small municipality is known for. The famous powder blue church in Iceland is here.
One of the coolest things to do in East Fjords Iceland is this unique building. Not only is it built in typical Icelandic architectural style, but the rainbow path leading to the front door is also a whimsical touch. If you’re looking for what to do in the East fjords of Iceland, this can be an interesting day trip.
You’ll also want to make time to stop in Egilsstaðir, a nearby town on the banks of the Lagarfljót lake. This sleepy little village in East Iceland is home to the country’s own version of the Loch Ness Monster. Known locally as the Lagarfljót wyrm, This mysterious waterborne creature was sighted as early as 1345. It made subsequent appearances in 1589 And again in the 17th and 19th centuries.
Borgarfjörður Eystri: Hiking East Fjords Iceland and More
As you drive up the East Coast of Iceland on our country’s Ring Road, you’ll wind through our famous East fjords. Borgarfjörður Eystri is a tiny village of around 100 people known for three things: hiking, puffins, and elves.
If you’re looking for hiking in the East fjords Iceland, this is a great place to stop. There is a wide variety of nearly 30 daytime hiking routes and trails available. I’d suggest picking up a hiking map of the area if any of the local tourist businesses in Borgarfjörður. You can also pick one up nearby in Egilsstaðir or Seyðisfjörður at one of their tourist information centers.
Bird Watchers Get Ready
Bird lovers will be quite happy here, as Borgarfjörður Eystri is also known as the puffin capital of Iceland. Every summer approximately 10,000 pairs of puffins come here to nest. This is one of the best places for puffin watching in Iceland as you can get quite close without the dangers of falling over a cliff like at Látrabjarg.
Lastly, while you’re here, be sure to visit Álfaborg hill. This is supposedly where the queen of the elves lives. The foggy ambience and eerie silence is enough to make you start believing in elves in the same way that we Icelanders do.
Other East Fjords Iceland Attractions
Some other East Fjords Iceland attractions are Hallormsstaðaskógur and Hengifoss. Hallormsstaðaskógur is the largest forest in Iceland, which is quite unusual. Because of its volcanic terrain, the island has almost no trees, but you will find an exception in East Iceland. There’s a lush forest here with over 60 different species of trees for those wanting to go for a walk or have a picnic.
Another one of the fantastic East Fjords Iceland attractions is Hengifoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s tallest. It’s actually the second-highest waterfall in Iceland, measuring 128 meters or 420 feet. Pretty impressive, right? You have to hike for about an hour to reach it, but the picturesque terrain makes it well worth the climb.
Locals sometimes say that the devil lurks nearby and that the sound of the waterfall is actually his voice. East Fjords Iceland weather can be quite foggy, haunting, and dense, so it’s easy to see where this tale came from.
Animal lovers can also take a ride on Icelandic horses. This is another fun activity and great East fjords Iceland things to do. If you’re lucky you might even spot the elusive Icelandic reindeer who can only be found around the East Iceland fjords.
Things to Do in East Fjords Iceland
Whether you decide to drive the winding roads the fjords themselves or stop in the postcard-perfect villages resting at their banks, one thing is clear. The things to do in East Fjords Iceland will get you off the beaten path and away from the crowds. Have a great trip and remember to enjoy the journey as you go.