Man kayaking on a river along a cliff with trees on top

Kayaking on Lagarfljót river is a special experience

The Gateway to eastern gems

Egilsstaðir is the biggest settlement in East Iceland and well connected to the rest of the country by airplane and bus. Its extensive infrastructure makes it a perfect place for travelers to explore the natural highlights of the East. Iceland’s biggest forest and the situation by the Lagarfljót lake give the town its unique face, that is so different from other municipalities of Iceland.

A Tase of the east – local produce and exotic taste

Egilsstaðir is a great spot to taste regional specialties. Locally brewed craft beer on 10 taps can be tried at Askur taproom, part of the Austri brewery. And if hunger strikes, Askur pizzeria is right next door. Nielsen restaurant puts emphasis on combining traditional food preserving with international cooking techniques and local produce such as dairy and reindeer meat - a must-stop for everyone who enjoys fine dining. In for more casual food?

The owners also operate Salt bistro & bar, a buzzing place downtown Egilsstaðir with Pizzas, Salads, Burgers and Fish of the day on the menu. Shopping and tasting locally grown cereal and vegetables is possible at the vegetarian café and shop at the farm Móðir jörð ("Mother Earth") , a leading example for organic farming in Iceland. For a cosy tea, coffee and cake atmosphere downtown Egilsstaðir one can pick between Tehúsið hostel and Bókakaffi.

Getting lost in the woods is not easy in Iceland, but possible here in Hallormstaðarsskogur forest, Iceland's biggest national forest with over 740 ha. Though mostly birch trees grow here, there is also an arboretum with more than 70 foreign tree species open to visit. This unique place in Iceland is streaked with 40 km of hiking trails, barbecue areas, a mountain bike track and frisbee golf baskets. The annual celebration „Big Forest Day in June („Skógardagurinn mikli“) is a family festival with music, local meat specialties and the only woodcutting competition in Iceland.

Preserving jars with dried fruit and vegetables on a window sill

Locally grown ingredients play an essential role in Eastern Iceland's cuisine

For more adrenaline, try axe-throwing, and connect to your inner Viking in the middle of the forest. Hallormstaðarskogur is situated at the Lagerfljót lake, home of a mysterious wyrm, the “Lagaflljótsormurinn” or - easier to pronounce – the Nessie of Iceland. First mentioned in 1345, it’s a myth that goes a long way, and in its honor, the annual cycling competition “Tour der Ormurinn” invites all passionate cyclists to circle the lake. Keep an eye open and the camera ready!

What to explore around Egilsstaðir

Stuðlagil canyon has become a magnet for visitors in the last years. Within a one-hour drive from Egilsstaðir, one can marvel at the high basalt columns and the often greenish blue water of the glacial river Jökla. Snæfellsstofa visitor center for the Vatnajökull National Park half an hour from Egilsstaðir provides all the information about the National Parks hiking paths and natural wonders. Next to Snæfellsstofa you find Skríðuklaustur centre of culture and history. The former home of Icelandic writer Gunnar Gunnarsson houses a museum about him, an Artist Residency, ruins of a 16th Century Augustinian monastery, and a Restaurant. Changing exhibitions from local artists and cultural events round up the diverse program of this extraordinary place.

Aerial view of the Skriðuklaustur house with grass on the roof

History, culture and great food can be found at Skríðuklaustur


Egilsstaðir is the ideal starting point for excursions to the east fjords and its small villages. The ferry town Seyðisfjörður, famous for its colorfulness and artist scene, is reachable within a 30-minute drive. The spectacular road winding down the serpentines of Fjarðarheiði leading to Seyðisfjöður is a scenic drive with an elevation of over 600 meters.

Some nice waterfalls are sprinkled on the way: 6km from Egilsstaðir is Fardagafoss. From the parking lot on road 93 the hike is around half an hour per way and it is even possible to climb behind the waterfall, holding onto a chain. Gufufoss („steaming waterfall“) is almost roadside and a perfect picnic spot with a great view. And there are more waterfalls to explore in East Iceland!


Reindeer are not native to Iceland but since they were introduced in the 18th century a stock of 6-7000 animals roams the East of the country. During summer they graze in the highlands far away from people and come closer to populated areas in the wintertime, making it easier to spot and photograph them.

Five kilometers north of the small town Borgarfjörður Eystri, is Hafnarhólmi, the best spot in Iceland to watch puffins up close. Between mid-April and mid-August visitors can safely approach them on a viewing platform and study the behavior of these adorable birds. To make sure, they’re home, you can check the puffin webcam.

Aerial view of one pool at Vök baths in a frozen lake

Pick your preferred temperature at Vök Baths!


After a busy day watching puffins, relaxing in a tub of beer or seaweed might be exactly what you need. Musterið Spa is part of the new Blábjörg resort in Borgarfjörður Eystri that is dedicated to indulge their guests with accommodation, a restaurant and microbrewery as well as occasional events.

The infinity pools at Vök Baths float in Lake Urriðavatn and offer temperature experiences between 0 and 41 C. Spectacular landscape scenery, bistro and pool bar complete the unique bathing experience.

Happy travels!

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