What better way to get to know the nature of Iceland than to explore it on your own two feet? Seeing landscapes passing by from a car window can never be more than a quick overview while walking and hiking is the full deal, using all your senses to appreciate every detail and slight nuance. Some of the best hiking paths and trails happen to be in the East of Iceland and no other part of the country can boast of as many marked walking trails. Whether you’re looking for majestic landscapes, fjords, birds, reindeer, seals, folklore, forests, glaciers, historical sites or the tranquillity of isolated fishing towns, East-Iceland will deliver.
The region is renowned for interesting and diverse routes ranging from day hikes to longer trails for trekking. Good hiking maps of the whole region are available at the tourist information centres and a number of the paths have been marked for to safer hiking and optimal enjoyment. Birdwatchers are in for a treat with several marked trails giving you the opportunity to see various species of ducks, skuas, eider birds, swans, geese, falcons, puffins, waders, scoters and many, many more. Land of the Hidden People
One of the best day hikes is without a doubt are to be found in Víknarslóðir (Desert Inlets) in the East-Borgarfjörður area, which was selected as one of the 25 best hiking trails in the world by National Geographic in 2005. The trail takes you to one of Iceland’s best kept secrets – the monumental Stórurð, a labyrinth of enormous rocks through which a little river winds its way and calm turquoise ponds of icy water lie hidden among the huge boulders, lined by flat banks of short, green grass.
The 150 km marked paths on the Víknaslóðir enable you to have views of beautiful coastlines, mountain ridges, abandoned farmhouses, birdlife, arctic fauna and with a little luck maybe even reindeer. The area is known for colourful mountains and semi precious stones, as well as one of the best places to watch puffins. Fascinating Fjords
Great hiking tra
ils are also to be found in the eastern Fjords. The great variety in coasts is phenomenal. Brightly coloured pebble beaches, black sand beaches, awsome sheer cliffs and bird cliffs with puffins and eiderducks, old ruins of ancient farmsteds and the occaisional reindeer herd in deserted coves give you an out of this world feeling of freedom and eternity. Glaciers and Ancient Volcanos
For those with a little more time on their hands the Snæfell-Lónsöræfi trail is the way to go. This 3-7 day trek takes you across magnificent landscape, glaciers, volcanoes and rivers with interesting flora and great views in the Vatnajökull National park. You can climb the dormant volcano Snæfell with some of the best views in Iceland , you’ll scale glaciers, visit the home of Trolls and perhaps most importantly get a chance to be alone with nature’s awesome powers. The vicinty of Snæfell is also the prime area to view reindeer. The Snæfell hut can easily be reached by car and the climb of the mountain makes a great day. Forest Walks
A common riddle in Iceland is “What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?” The answer is simply “stand up”. This is not entirely true as Hallormsstaður-Woods, the largest “forest” in Iceland is in fact quite large and extremely pleasant. It is a lovely arctic birch forest, characterized by a lush forest floor of flowers and berries and in the late summer an abundance of mushrooms. There are several well-marked trails throughout much of the surrounding woodland, shown on a clear map published by the Forest Service. There you will also find the world’s northernmost arboretum, comprising a collection of around 70 tree species.
Information on hiking in east Iceland on the website www.east.is