From Iceland — Hallormsstaðaskógur Is Iceland's Only Largest Forest

Hallormsstaðaskógur Is Iceland’s Only Largest Forest

Published August 10, 2011

Haukur S. Magnússon
Photo by
Julia Staples

You’ve heard that joke, right? The one about getting lost in an Icelandic forest and standing up to find your way out? Well, it pains us to admit it but that joke rings pretty true. However, there is a forest in Iceland where, if one should get lost, merely standing up will not help.

We are of course referring to Hallormsstaðaskógur, the 1854 hectare forest that lies for 15 kilometres along the banks of lake Lagarfljót. It is a beautiful forest, with numerous large trees and some endearing scents to be smelled, and moving sights to be seen.

According to an informational sign we found there, Hallormsstaðaskógur is comprised of 70% native birch trees and 30% imported trees of various varieties (there are many different trees to be found—there is even an arboretum on the premises). It was protected by law in 1899 and has grown considerably since through local efforts and sheer force of will.

As it lies on the banks of Lagarfljót, there are beaches at the edge of the forest, where one can rent boats or simply frolic in the water (it can get quite warm there, too). Hallormsstaðaskógur offers several other activities to get up to whilst there, aside from the expected hikes in the forest and bird-watching. For instance, you can rent a horse and go horseback riding! In the forest! It’s like something out of Lord of the Rings, it is!

There are two campsites located in the forest, the more famous of the two being Atlavík, where Ringo Starr once reportedly mixed Coke with his fancy cognac. But both are very nice, and a favourite of travelling Icelanders. Why not pay a visit and see why they (and Ringo) like it so much (assuming Ringo liked it).

Hallormsstaðaskógur is 25 kilometres south of Egilsstaðir. You should go there if you’re ever in the area.

Read more about our travel:

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