The Eastfjords of Iceland are, geographically, one of the oldest areas of the country, and the furthest from the capital. The mountains slump diagonally into the sea, creating a beautiful and distinctive landscape. Many of the winding fjords are cut off from Route One, which runs inland, but for the relatively few tourists who make it, they contain interesting little towns and tucked-away villages with many interesting and eccentric sights, stops, bars and shops.
Best Road Trip
The Kárahnjúkar area lies just north of Vatnajökull National Park, and is famous for a controversial dam that was widely protested. But as well as this monolithic structure, our panel said that there are also many beautiful canyons to be explored in the area, such as the dramatic Hafrahvammagljúfur and Dimmugljúfur. “The dam is a crazy piece of architecture,” said the panel. “It’s so enormous, it’s breathtaking—maybe not in a good way.” Added another, mysteriously: “See if you can find the secret pool.” It’s in the Highlands, so it’s a summer-only drive—check road.is for the road conditions.
Hellisandur & Hellisheiði Eystri
Driving from the north, this trip is a great detour from the beaten track. Turn off Route One towards Vopnafjörður, where “There’s a rustic swimming pool, a turf-house museum, and a nice café in the village,” said the panel. After that, if the road is open, you can continue across the Hellisheiði Eystri mountain pass. “On a clear day, the view makes the old gravel road well worth it. And after the adventure, you’ll be back on Route One.”
This mountain road used to be part of Route One. “They realised that was a bad idea,” said one panellist, “as in the Winter it’s almost always closed.” But in the Summer, it’s a beautiful drive, with very few dwellings or intrusions on the route—”just glorious mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and valleys at each end.”
More Best Of Iceland Awards
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Iceland 2018 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Iceland—here, posted worldwide. We also have a Special Offer double-pack that also includes our Best Of Reykjavík magazine, about places to eat, see, swim, visit, and shop in the country’s capital city, here.