Best Things to Do on Iceland’s East Fjords

Are you looking to get off the beaten path on your trip to the Land of Fire and Ice? Look no further than Iceland’s east coast! On the opposite side of our island home from Reykjavik, and a long drive from the famous sights of the Golden Circle, the eastern reaches are often overlooked by visitors.

But at Ice Guardians, we’re huge fans of Iceland’s east coast and have spent countless hours exploring its villages and natural wonders. So, after you’ve visited us for your fix of Iceland adventure activities, be sure to continue along Route 1 and immerse yourself in the solitude and rugged beauty of this incredible region.

Looking for local tips to help plan your trip? Scroll down to find our picks for the best things to do on Iceland’s east coast. And if you have any questions for the Ice Guardians team, please feel free to contact us.

Visit Nature’s Wonderland: Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull National Park is so huge that parts of its area are in Iceland’s south, southeast, east, north, and central regions. But this is hardly a surprise when it’s home to Europe’s largest glacier by volume!

We have previously created the Vatnajökull National Park Guide and the Adventurer’s Guide to Vatnajökull National Park to try and cover this stunning place and the incredible things you can see and do here, so be sure to check them out!

With a diverse range of landscapes, this park is a testament to the raw power and breathtaking beauty of Mother Nature. If you have a thirst for adventure, you can jump into iconic Iceland glacier hikes, ice climbing trips, and ice cave tours! Around the park’s perimeter in the summer, you can also feel the thrill of our Iceland canyoning experiences.

Watch Icebergs Dance at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

We know that Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon isn’t really on Iceland’s east coast (it’s more southeast), but you have to drive past it to get there! The unique mix of peace and power is truly mesmerising, so we strongly recommend stopping off.

Freezing runoff from the Vatnajökull Glacier feeds the glacial lake here, allowing icebergs of all sizes to float around for extended periods. Some of them are truly huge! The silent dance of these giants — some of which are pale blue, others streaked with veins of black sediment — is enchanting.

And if your timing is right, you may see (and hear) one of these icy formations split in two. Stay alert for the loud crunching sound of ice calving, followed by a splash! Be sure to head to nearby Diamond Beach too. Most of the crystal-clear, icy remnants wash up on this black sand beach when they’re small enough to leave the lagoon.

Hit the Heights with a Hike in Seyðisfjörður

The small, vibrant town of Seyðisfjörður is a hidden gem cradled in a fjord surrounded by mountains. It is known for its beautiful early-19th-century timber houses, unique dining experiences, wonderful cultural activities, and the picturesque Blue Church (Seyðisfjarðarkirkja).

But given it’s location nestled deep within the Seyðisfjörður (the fjord has the same name as the town), it’s no exaggeration to say that the scenery here is breathtaking. And best of all, these landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for fun-filled outdoor activities.

There are numerous hiking trails in the area that allow you to connect with nature and the heart of East Iceland.
Read our Complete Guide to Hiking in Iceland if you plan to hit as many trails as possible while you’re here!

Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss: Two of East Iceland’s Best Waterfalls

In the eastern reaches of Vatnajökull National Park, you can find Iceland’s third-tallest waterfall — Hengifoss. Translated into English as “Hanging Falls”, Hengifoss cascades 128 metres (420 feet) over a sheer cliff of dark basalt rock cut through with thin layers of red clay.

It takes around an hour to hike to Hengifoss, and along the way you will pass another stunning, albeit smaller, waterfall called Litlanesfoss. This is another geological wonder as the tumbling water is framed by dramatic basalt columns.

The closest town to both waterfalls is Egilsstadir, East Iceland’s largest. It’s also the region’s primary hub on the Ring Road.

If you’re planning to chase our country’s many jaw-dropping waterfalls on your trip, we think you’ll love our choices for the most scenic waterfalls in Iceland.


See the Seven Steps to Waterfall Heaven at Klifbrekkufossar

For those seeking the road less travelled, Klifbrekkufossar awaits! Tucked away in a remote corner of East Iceland, this hidden cascade offers a serene retreat. But you should note, you have to drive a 16 km-long gravel road to get here, and it’s only accessible during the summer. As such, you must have the appropriate vehicle!

The waterfall itself cascades down seven steps, creating a remarkable zig-zag pattern running down the mountainside. This hidden gem may not be as famous as other falls, but it’s certainly one of the most unique in Iceland.
Looking for more off-the-beaten-path wonders? Check out our recommendations for 20 hidden gems in Iceland.


Step Back in Time in Stöðvarfjörður and Fáskrúðsfjörður

The historic fishing villages of Stöðvarfjörður and Fáskrúðsfjörður provide a unique opportunity to sample some Icelandic history. Stöðvarfjörður, a village of less than 200 inhabitants, once had an economy based around East Iceland’s prosperous fishing grounds. The preserved buildings and rich maritime heritage offer a glimpse into this faded seafaring past.

Around 25 minutes north by car you will find Fáskrúðsfjörður, a slightly larger village with French connections. French fishermen settled here in their search for bountiful fishing grounds. This shared heritage is reflected in sign posts written in Icelandic and French, as well as the former French hospital, which has since been renovated into a museum and hotel.

Both villages are surrounded by the region’s famous Fjord landscapes. If you have the time, head up some of the walking trails for awe-inspiring views.

Marvel at Búlandstindur, the Pyramid-Shaped Peak

Rising like a guardian over the East Fjords, Bulandstindur is a majestic mountain that demands attention. Located between the bays of Hamarsfjörður and Berufjörður, around 10 minutes from Djúpivogur, this famous pyramid-shaped peak stands at 1,069 metres above sea level.

There is a roughly marked trail from the trailhead at the bridge in the car park, using the map at the bridge is crucial., but experienced hikers should be able to handle the challenge. Just be sure to check the weather forecast, wear appropriate clothing, and bring the necessary supplies! In the winter, this is an alpine mountain that requires basic mountaineering knowledge and equipment at a minimum.

Búlandstindur’s unusual shape makes it one of the most striking sights in all of Iceland.

Are you debating whether to visit Iceland in winter? Our blog How Challenging is Iceland in Winter? will help your decision-making process.

Visit Vestrahorn, Iceland’s Most Photogenic Mountain!

Located on the Stokksnes Peninsula, the magnificent, sharp peaks of Vestrahorn are a must-see in East Iceland. When you set eyes on this geological wonder, you will soon see why it is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland.
A viking village was built for a movie shoot here, but the film was never made. However, the set was later used in the Netflix series The Witcher. You can visit the village, Viking Cafe, and the beach that provides access to Vestrahorn, but because everything here is on private land, you have to pay an entrance fee. But it is absolutely worthwhile!

Start Planning Your Iceland Adventure Activities!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our picks for the best things to do on Iceland’s east coast. Remember, these are only the highlights! There’s plenty more to see and do in this incredible region.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the best Vatnajökull National Park experiences by booking your place on our Iceland adventure activities. Our excursions are led by passionate, knowledgeable guides who can help you make the most of your time in the Land of Fire and Ice.

If you have any pre-booking questions for us, please get in touch for the answers you need.

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