Welcome to the first episode in our ‘Explore the Regions’ blog series! Icelandic Farm Holidays is all about experiencing the best of Iceland’s countryside. So we thought it would be a good idea to seek out the true experts of each region in Iceland and ask them what are the 'must see' places – and the more secret favourite places of the locals too...
We start off with Hulda Guðnadóttir, Project Manager at the Austurbrú or the ‘East Iceland Bridge’ marketing office. East Iceland is many Icelanders’ favourite region due to its fantastic hiking, deep fjords, historic seaside villages, the mythical Lagarfjótsormur serpent - and reindeer! Yet many travellers tend to speed through the East Fjords on the way from the South to the North or vice versa. We strongly recommend slowing down and spending a few nights in this region that has so much offer, whether you like outdoor adventures or getting to know local culture.
So Hulda, tell us about yourself:
“I am 35 years old and am originally from Kópavogur (next town to Reykjavík) but in 2006 I moved to the East with my husband who is from Neskaupstaður and can’t imagine ever moving back to the capital area now! Since 2006 I have lived in Egilsstaðir, Eskifjörður and now I am here in Reyðarfjörður. I studied tourism in France and in Iceland, have worked for numerous tourism companies in France and in Iceland and as a teacher as well but am now Project Manager at the marketing department of Austurbrú.”
What are the most popular places to visit in East Iceland?
Hallormsstaðarskógur Forest, Atlavík Creek and Lake Lagarfljót
A particularly popular place with Icelandic tourists as it has the largest forest in Iceland but forests in Iceland area a rare sight!
Photo: Lake Lagarfljót
Walk around the picturesque town and view the colourful historic houses, have a coffee at Skaftfell Visual Arts Centre.
Photo: Seyðisfjörður in winter
For the Bræðslan music festival, and Hafnarhólmi for the puffins. Nowhere else in the country can you see a puffin so close!
Photo: Puffin up close at Borgarfjörður Eystri
For skiing in winter.
For Eistnaflug heavy metal festival, also Rauðubjörg rhyolite cliffs, Urðir Country Park and Páskahellir Cave ('Easter Cave') with its beautiful lava formations.
Photo: Eistnaflug heavy metal festival in Neskaupstaður
A natural hot shower!
The beautfully preserved Randulff’s Sea House for its restaurant and Helgustaðanámur mines known for their Iceland spar (chrystal).
Photo: Randulff’s Sea House in Mjóeyri
Have a coffee at the bakery Sesam Brauðhús or dinner at Tærgesen, aka the 'Midnight Sun Hotel' in the popular British thriller TV series Fortitude.
Known for its French heritage as a former hub for French fishermen. See the French cemetery, stroll around town and visit the French Museum.
For more advanced hikers.
Photo: Mount Snæfell
What are your personal favourite places to visit or things to do in East Iceland, where fewer tourists go?
- Walk along Búðará River in Reyðarfjörður and see Búðarárfoss Waterfall – a hidden gem
- Walk up to Hengifoss Waterfall and further on to Litlanesfoss Waterfall which I think is even more beautiful
- Stórurð, in my view the most beautiful place in Iceland!
We thank Hulda for her excellent tips! There are of course countless other interesting places to see and things to do in East Iceland. For more information see www.east.is or contact us to plan a stay in this enchanting part of Iceland.