East Iceland is a place to truly connect with nature. The remote landscapes are untamed with basalt cliffs and waterfalls – herds of reindeer freely roam the pastures, majestic mountains tower above beaches and glaciers, and traditional fishing villages hug North Atlantic shores, harking back to simpler times.
Explore Seyðisfjörður with its rainbow paved road leading to a blue church in the foothills or make your base the largest town Egilsstaðir on the shores of Lagarfljót lake – said to be home to a mysterious serpent.
Discover Hallormsstadur Forest – the largest in Iceland. The 740 hectare forest captivates with scenic trails and an Arboretum with 80 different tree species. At the opposite side of the lake is Iceland’s third tallest waterfall, Hengifoss. The 128 meter high ribbon cascade is framed by a stunning tiered rockface moulded from centuries-old red clay and basalt.
In summer months, enjoy a scenic drive to the giant Ice Age tuff boulders of Stórurð. The combination of dark mossy rocks against sparkling turquoise waters makes for a colorful canvas. Birdwatching enthusiasts can continue from here to Borgarfjörður eystri – a sanctuary for nesting puffins.
A jewel of East Iceland is Stuðlagil Canyon. Tucked away in the Glacier Valley of Jökuldalur, this unusual attraction was undiscovered by tourists until recently. The Jökla river is flanked by towering hexagonal basalt columns rising from jade colored waters, and the equally impressive Stuðlafoss Waterfall is a short hike away.
Adventurers will adore trekking to Snaefell east of Vatnajökull National Park. One of Iceland’s largest mountains, the five mile hiking trail promises awe-inspiring vistas of the glacier and reindeer in the fields below.
Other popular mountain hikes include one to pyramid shaped Búlandstindur, said to contain a powerful source of energy, and to ruggedly beautiful Vestrahorn on the Stokknes peninsula overlooking a sweeping beach and the moody waters of the North Atlantic.