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A Bucket List of 15 Things To Do in East Iceland

East Iceland, a hidden gem tucked away from the bustling tourist trails, has pristine landscapes and untouched beauty. With its expansive fjords, quaint fishing hamlets, and breathtaking natural spectacles, it remains one of the country's best-kept secrets.


For those seeking an authentic Icelandic experience, look no further. Dive into our curated list of the best things to do in East Iceland and embark on an unforgettable journey.



things to do in East Iceland


1. Witness Vesturöræfi's Wild Wonders


One of the most exhilarating things to do in East Iceland is to witness the wild wonders of Vesturöræfi. This vast and untamed region is a testament to Iceland's raw beauty, where nature thrives in its purest form.


From rolling hills to serene lakes, Vesturöræfi offers a dramatic and serene landscape. But what truly sets it apart is its rich biodiversity. For those eager to see wildlife in Iceland, Vesturöræfi is a sanctuary.


Here, you might glimpse reindeer grazing, arctic foxes darting between rocks, or even the majestic sea eagles soaring above. Every visit promises a unique encounter, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a genuine connection with Iceland's wilderness.



things to do in east iceland

2. Uncover Secrets at the East Iceland Heritage Museum


Unearth hidden treasures at the East Iceland Heritage Museum, a gem among the top East Iceland attractions. Delve into the unique culture shaped by the majestic reindeer of East Iceland.


Learn about their captivating lifestyle, the challenges they face, and their profound influence on local history. The museum also transports you back in time to the self-sufficient rural households of old, showcasing artifacts that tell tales of survival, craftsmanship, and beauty.


This one undoubtedly deserves a spot for those compiling a list of the most interesting museums in Iceland. Whether you're a history enthusiast or simply seeking an enriching experience, embark on a journey of discovery and immerse yourself in the tales of East Iceland.





3. Delve Into the Crystal Ice Caves


Among the mesmerizing things to see in eastern Iceland, delving into the Crystal Ice Caves is a surreal experience. These ethereal chambers, adorned with thick, translucent blue glacial ice ceilings, play with natural light to create a dreamscape that leaves visitors in awe.


Formed naturally, these caves have become a magnet for global photographers eager to capture their otherworldly beauty. The most renowned of these is nestled within the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe's largest.


Its vast expanse can comfortably welcome up to 100 awestruck explorers. For those yearning to witness the magic of Ice caves in Iceland firsthand, the Crystal Ice Caves offer an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature's artistry.


Crystal Ice Caves


4. Gallop Across Egilsstaðir's Landscapes


Among the myriad things to do in East Iceland, galloping across the pristine landscapes of Egilsstaðir is an experience that stands out. Travel East Iceland offers a remarkable tour that takes riders to the abandoned farm, Kleif.


Here, participants can revel in the tranquility of the surroundings and even challenge themselves with a traditional cableway crossing over the Jökulsá River. The iconic Icelandic horse's unique gait and sturdy build makes Iceland horseback riding an adventure like no other.


Each horse, handpicked for both safety and rider enjoyment, ensures an unforgettable experience. And as a fitting conclusion to this adventure, riders are treated to a delightful buffet at the Wilderness Center's kitchen. This tour is a harmonious blend of nature, thrill, and culinary delight.



 Egilsstaðir


5. Trek Vatnajökull's Majestic Terrain


One of the most iconic places to visit in East Iceland is the vast and awe-inspiring terrain of Vatnajökull National Park. This iconic gem within the national parks of Iceland, established in 2008, covers a staggering 13% of the country, ranking it among Europe's most expansive parks.


But it's not just its size that captivates visitors. Vatnajökull is a marvel of nature's interplay. It's a trekker's dream, from the icy stretches of Europe's largest glacier to the dynamic dance of volcanic and glacial landscapes. The park's diverse terrains, sculpted by rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic forces, offer a trek filled with wonder.


Intriguingly, Vatnajökull holds so much water that the Icelandic river with the greatest flow, Ölfusá, would require over 200 years to transport it all to the sea. For those searching for adventure and awe, Vatnajökull's majestic terrain beckons.



Vatnajökull


6. Marvel at Jökulsárlón's Icy Lagoon


Jökulsárlón's Icy Lagoon is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking things to see in East Iceland. This glacial wonder, often dubbed the crown jewel of Icelandic landscapes, offers a mesmerizing display of massive icebergs breaking off from the Vatnajökull glacier and drifting serenely on the lagoon's chilly waters.


The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is the deepest in Iceland, plunging over 248 meters (814 feet), and is surrounded by some of the country's most iconic scenery, including Hvannadalshnjúkur, its tallest mountain.


For an immersive experience, we highly recommend taking the Jökulsárlón Glacial boat tour, where you can sail amidst these ancient ice giants, some of which are 1000-1500 years old. This tour also offers stops at the renowned Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls.


east iceland attractions


7. Discover the Basalt Columns of Svartifoss


One of the standout eastern Iceland attractions is the mesmerizing Basalt Columns of Svartifoss. Nestled within the Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park, Svartifoss, or 'Black Falls,' is famed for its dramatic backdrop of geometrically perfect basalt columns resembling an organ's pipes.


These columns result from lava cooling slowly, causing crystallization and unique hexagonal patterns. The contrast of the dark basalt columns against the cascading white waters of the waterfall creates a visual spectacle that has inspired many Icelandic architects, most notably in the design of Reykjavík's Hallgrímskirkja church.


Venturing to Svartifoss offers a visual treat and a lesson in geology, making it a must-visit for those keen to delve deeper into Iceland's natural wonders.


things to do in East Iceland

8. Navigate East Iceland Via The Iconic Ring Road


One of the quintessential things to do in East Iceland is to drive along the iconic Ring Road. Officially known as Route 1, the Ring Road encircles the entire country, serving as a gateway to its most captivating sights.


In East Iceland, this route offers a tapestry of landscapes and attractions. Seyðisfjörður, a charming town adorned with colorful houses, beckons with its artistic allure. The Stokksnes peninsula's commanding views of Vestrahorn Mountain is a photographer's dream.


The geometric basalt columns of Svartifoss and the tranquil waters of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon are also easily accessible from this main artery. Navigating the Ring Road in East Iceland provides a sense of the region's vastness and its diverse and unparalleled beauty.


camper rental Iceland


9. Go Beer Tasting at Ölverk's Icelandic Beer Haven


Embark on a unique gastronomic journey at Ölverk Pizza & Brewery, one of the best things to do in east Iceland. Nestled in the heart of Hveragerði, Ölverk offers an unparalleled experience for beer and food lovers.


Dive deep into the world of Icelandic craft beer, brewed using geothermal energy, a testament to Iceland's innovative spirit. Pair your beer tasting with their signature wood-fired pizzas, capturing the essence of Icelandic flavors.


Whether you're a seasoned beer enthusiast or a curious traveler, Ölverk promises an unforgettable experience. For those keen on exploring the broader beer landscape of the country, don't miss our comprehensive guide to beer in Iceland.





10. Wander Hallormsstaðaskógar's Forested Trails


Embarking on a journey through Hallormsstaðaskógar's forested trails is undeniably one of the most magical things to do in eastern Iceland. Unlike the typical icy landscapes, Iceland is known for, Hallormsstaðaskógar, the country's largest forest, unveils a world of verdant wonder.


Here, ancient birch trees whisper tales of old, while hidden glades open up to reveal shimmering lakes and secret waterfalls. As you tread along some of the best Iceland hiking trails, every step invites you to discover a new mystery.


The air, filled with the scent of wildflowers and the distant call of native birds, adds to the forest's enchantment. Venturing into Hallormsstaðaskógar isn't just a hike; it's a voyage into a fairy-tale realm, waiting to captivate the heart and soul of every explorer.



Hallormsstaðaskógar


11. Capturing the Beauty of Vestrahorn


Vestrahorn, perched on the Stokksnes Peninsula, is a visual masterpiece and an east Iceland must-see for every traveler. The jagged peaks and pristine tidal lagoons create a mesmerizing canvas for photographers.


Whether it's the mountain's saw-tooth ridge silhouetted against a fiery sunset or its reflection shimmering in the calm waters of Kirkjusandur, Vestrahorn offers endless opportunities to capture nature's grandeur.


Adjacent Brunnhorn, famously dubbed the 'Batman Mountain,' adds another layer of intrigue to this scenic locale. Our comprehensive guide to photography can be invaluable for those keen on immortalizing Iceland's raw beauty through their lenses.



Vestrahorn


12. Island-Hop to Mystical Papey


The Mystical Papey Island is a hidden gem among the things to do in east Iceland. Nestled off the coast near Djúpivogur village, Papey is a testament to Iceland's rich history and natural splendor.


Once a refuge for Irish monks escaping Norse settlers, this island whispers tales of bygone eras. Spanning just 2 square kilometers, Papey is a mosaic of tiny islands, skerries, and ocean rocks, each with its own story. As you wander its landscapes, you'll be greeted by diverse birdlife, including the iconic puffin.


And while you're there, don't miss the island's smallest church, a quaint structure built in 1904, and the remnants of homes that once thrived here. With its blend of history, nature, and serenity, visiting Papey is a journey back in time and a must-experience for every traveler in east Iceland.



things to see in east iceland


13. Roam Seyðisfjörður's Quaint Streets


Stroll through the quaint streets of Seyðisfjörður, a jewel among the things to see in east Iceland. Tucked between towering mountains, this town sparkles like a gem in a crown, radiating history, culture, and nature's allure.


The vibrant timber houses, echoing Norway's architectural legacy from the 20th century, paint a vivid canvas of colors. Dive deep into the Icelandic culture as you embrace Seyðisfjörður's bohemian spirit, where every alley whispers tales of yesteryears. Unique dining spots beckon with the promise of local flavors, while boutique shops offer treasures waiting to be unearthed.


Beyond its charming streets, Seyðisfjörður unfolds a world of outdoor adventures and cultural delights. Here, every moment feels like a page from a captivating storybook, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in the magic of East Iceland.


Seyðisfjörður

14. Soak in Vök Baths' Thermal Bliss


Dive into the thermal bliss of Vök Baths, a standout among the places to visit in east Iceland. Nestled by the serene Urriðavatn, this haven offers a unique blend of relaxation and Icelandic authenticity.


The 'vakir' – two floating pools in the lake – promise a soak like no other, with waters so pure they've been certified drinkable. As you immerse yourself, the nourishing algae, known for its skin-softening properties, adds a touch of luxury.


Beyond the baths, the Vök Bistro tempts with local delicacies, ensuring a holistic experience. For those seeking the best Iceland hot springs, Vök Baths is a must-visit, merging nature's wonders with modern comforts and offering a rejuvenating escape from the everyday.





15. Climb to Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss' Cascades


Set off on an adventure to Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss, two of the most captivating eastern Iceland attractions. Situated in the scenic landscapes of East Iceland, this trail offers hikers an immersive experience of the country's geological tapestry.


Hengifoss, with its impressive 128-meter (420 feet) drop, is a visual spectacle and a geological marvel. Its distinct red clay layers, interspersed between dark basaltic formations, tell tales of Iceland's ancient volcanic episodes. Halfway through the hike, Litlanesfoss awaits, framed by hexagonal basalt columns due to rapidly cooling lava flows from eons ago.


The trail, though just 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) one way, is a journey through time, revealing nature's artistry at every turn. With cascading waterfalls, unique rock formations, and panoramic vistas, this hike is a testament to the unparalleled beauty and history of eastern Iceland.


Hengifoss

Embracing The Best Things To Do In East Iceland


Discovering the myriad things to do in East Iceland becomes an unparalleled adventure when you choose to rent a campervan in Iceland. This mode of travel not only grants you the freedom to explore at your own rhythm and offers the unique advantage of waking up to ever-changing, breathtaking vistas.


Think of the savings on accommodation and the luxury of having a cozy space wherever you go. Imagine sipping your morning coffee with Vestrahorn in the backdrop, or parking beside a serene lagoon for the night.


With a campervan, every moment in East Iceland becomes an intimate part of your journey, merging comfort with the wild beauty of the land.


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