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Extensive travel and tourism guide for Iceland, Europe

East-Iceland Travel

So natural that it´s supernatural

East Iceland is a particularly diverse region, accounting for a large chunk of Iceland´s total area. It divides between the successive towering mountains and shores of the East Fjords, and the rolling inland plains of Hérað, which merge into the rugged highlands and glaciers of the interior. In the southeast, coastal scenery predominates, with the awesome presence of Vatnajökull, Europe´s largest glacier, everywhere in the background.

Contrasts abound in the vast hikers´ paradise of East Iceland, with its mountains and valleys, deserts and woodlands (including Iceland´s largest, Hallormsstaðaskógur), its glaciers and the widest variety of rock types in the country. marked and mapped hiking routes link up the whole region from north to south, and visitors can enjoy both natural beauty and supernatural experiences! Folktales relate how Borgarfjörður eystri is home to some of the largest elf colonies in Iceland, Fáskrúðsfjörður is troll territory, famous ghosts are known from the three towns now merged into the largest community, Fjarðabyggð, and monster has been sighted in the sprawling river Lagarfljót - you can even take cruises from the regional centre, Egilsstaðir, to try to catch a glimpse of it.

While most of the towns in East Iceland are relatively recent, Seyðisfjörður is renowned for its impressive old houses, the first sight to greet visitors arriving there on the car ferry Norröna to and from Europe.

Not so far off the beaten track, musts to see include the majestic Mt. Snæfell (in the heart of reindeer territory) and impressive waterfalls such as Hengifoss, while travellers going deeper into the wilds are rewarded with breathtaking sights such as Hafrahvammsgljúfur canyon.

The port of Höfn on the southeast corner is another major town and the main base for exciting trips to the nearby glacier cap for hiking, 4x4 snow scooters, skiing and ice climbing. Höfn´s multimedia Glacier Centre gives fascinating insights into the properties and behaviour of glaciers, and man´s cohabitation with them throughout the centuries. Another top attraction in the southeast is on the glacier´s rim: Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, renowned for its boat cruises amont calving icebergs. Preserved old buildings lend a distinctive character to Djúpivogur, once the main trading post in the region, and boat trips to the now uninhabited island of Papey are a must for bird lovers.

Few places in Iceland can match the wealth of contrasts found at Skaftafell National Park, where grenn woodlands and black mountains converge with the sheer glacier in the shadow of the country´s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur (2.119 m). A more secret treasure tucked away off the main road is Lónsöræfi, with its breathtaking mountains, approachable only using a good 4WD or strong hikers´ boots.

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