The 550km strip covering eastern and southeast Iceland takes in a quarter of the country’s coastal fringe, plus some rugged highlands and a good chunk of Europe’s largest ice cap. Set on the Ringroad halfway around the country from Reykjavík, Egilsstaðir makes a good base for excursions around Lögurinn lake, where you’ll find some saga history, waterfalls and unusually extensive woodlands; or even for an assault on the highlands around Kárahnjúkar and Snæfell, the latter eastern Iceland’s tallest peak. The East Fjords feature a sprinkling of picturesque communities – including the port of Seyðisfjörður, with its weekly international ferry – 
though the main focus is the steep-sided hills and blue waters of the 
fjords themselves.

Below the East Fjords, southeast Iceland is dominated by the vastness of Vatnajökull, whose icy cap and host of outrunning glaciers sprawl west of the town of Höfn. With a largely infertile terrain of highland moors and coastal gravel deserts known as sandurs to contend with – not to mention a fair share of catastrophic volcanic events – the population centres here are few and far between, though you can explore the glacial fringes at the wild Lónsöræfi reserve, and at Skaftafell National Park, where there are plenty of marked tracks. Further west, the tiny settlement of Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the jumping-off point for several trips inland, the best of which takes you through the fallout from one of Iceland’s most disastrous eruptions.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Iceland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Hot tub happiness: the dos and don'ts of Icelandic spas

Hot tub happiness: the dos and don'ts of Icelandic spas

Going to a spa in Iceland can feel wonderfully alien. Against a backdrop of barren moonscapes and denuded hills, the waters are so preternaturally blue, so exag…

02 Mar 2018 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
Iceland: top 10 hot pools to take a dip

Iceland: top 10 hot pools to take a dip

An outdoor soak is an essential part of the Icelandic experience – a surreal way to spend a dark winter's day, or to unkink those muscles after a long day's h…

02 Mar 2018 • David Leffman insert_drive_file Article
Tackling overtourism: where next for Iceland?

Tackling overtourism: where next for Iceland?

Last year, there were six tourists in Iceland for every local. As overtourism becomes an increasingly hot topic, Keith Drew looks at the effects of Iceland’s …

01 Mar 2018 • Keith Drew local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right