Published September 14, 2016
The late summer and autumn are the perfect time to check out the east of Iceland, a landscape different from the rest of this island. It’s the place to go if you want to get away from the crowds of tourists on the Golden Circle or the South Coast. There are too many places to see on one trip, but you’ll keep coming back. Here’s our 11 favourite hikes and sights in the east.
For more hikes and information check out Visit East Iceland.
This one is challenging. It’s only 12 km, but it takes around 8 hours to complete. Thanks to climate change, the pesky glacier has receded far back from the trail and only small patches of snow will be found on your ascent. This mountain is south of Fáskrúðsfjörður. It’s best to start the hike at the abandoned farmstead, Sævarendi.
(Photo by Jóhanna Hauksdóttir)
This is another seven or eight hour hike, but it’s easier than it looks. It was first hiked around 1900 by Norwegian fishermen and later, around 1930, it was hiked by an Icelander. You get one of the most impressive views of the glacial valley. The hike starts just outside the village of Bakkagerði in Borgarfjörður eystri.
Towering above the north shore of the town of Seyðisfjörður, this hike can be approached from several directions, taking about seven to eight hours to complete. If you go up on the north face of the mountain, you have an ascencion time of about four hours. Besides the view of the town below, you can hike up past a series of waterfalls.
The name means “Giant Boulders.” It’s a snow-heavy area and you should definitely consult a guide before attempting this hike in the early summer. It’s simpler around the beginning of July. This hike is located below a glacier west of the Dyrfjöll mountains and just east of the road leading to Borgarfjöður eystri.
This hike in Fljótsdalur goes up to the second highest waterfall in Iceland and it’s located right off the highway. The cliffs surrounding the waterfall are striped with red from iron-rich lava deposits. There are even basalt columns along the gorge on the way there (basalt is the most dense of igneous rock and makes great geometric towers that look like salt under a microscope).
The cliffs at Gerpir are over 12 million years old. That’s relatively young in the timeline of the earth; the Blue Ridge Mountains in the USA are around 1.2 billion years old. However, this is the eastern most tip of Iceland. Throughout the area (“Gerpissvæðið”), there are many marked trails, walking paths and hiking routes, constructed by the hiking club Ferðafélag Fjarðamanna. Prior to visiting, obtaining a good map of the area – or getting in touch with a local information centre – is a sensible move.
It’s an easy half-hour walk from the parking area, but the last bit of this walk is a little adventurous. There is a chain fastened to the cliff to lower you down to the water of the beautiful falls. Don’t skip this part. You can head behind the falls and sign a guestbook. This hike is located about five kilometres from Egilsstaðir towards Seyðisfjörður.
Whether you’re looking for a short walk or an extensive hike, the valley of Jafnadalur has it. It’s located in Stöðvarfjörður. In this valley there is a giant rock in an otherwise smooth landscape, called “The Hermit.” There’s also a six-metre tall stone arch, which is located east of the mountain, Álftafell.