Explore Egilsstadir

Explore Egilsstadir

Egilsstadir is the largest town in eastern Iceland…but don’t let the title fool you. This tiny town only has a population of 3000 people, and it’s seriously off the grid. Herein lies its charm, however. Egilsstadir is a perfect hub for exploring eastern Iceland, especially Lagarfljot, Iceland’s third largest lake. Lagarfljot is apparently home to some sea monsters that have been hanging around since Saga times, so who knows what you may encounter. This town’s been around for awhile – the nearby Eyvindara river is mentioned in the Saga of the Sons of Droplaug.

Egilsstadir is also home to Hallormsstaðaskógur, the largest forest in Iceland. Literary geeks may be interested in checking out the Skriðuklaustur mansion, where legendary author Gunnar Gunnarsson once resided. Nowadays it’s a museum. If you’re looking for a friendly little retreat off the beaten path in Iceland, this is the place to do it.

Places to Visit in Egilsstadir

  • Lagarfljot
  • Eyvindara River
  • The Hydropower Plant
  • Hallormsstaðaskógur forest
  • Hengifoss
  • Oxi Mountain
  • Skriðuklaustur mansion

Unique Things to See and Do in Egilsstadir

  • Visit the museum at Skriðuklaustur mansion
  • Take a horseback-riding trip in the countryside
  • Do some serious hiking
  • Ski at the Stafdalur ski area
  • Visit some highland farms
  • Walk the trails of Selskogur Forest along the Eyvindara River

Egilsstadir Culture

Despite the Egilsstadir area being mentioned thousands of years ago in Icelandic literature, the town itself is quite young. It was established in 1947 as a centre of service and trade in eastern Iceland, and is also home to an international airport. There are plenty of amenities to the average traveller: hotels, restaurants, and outdoor recreational facilities abound. If you’re looking to get acquainted with the culture and history of the area, there are several landmarks to help you do so.

At the East Iceland Heritage Museum, learn all about this region’s past. One of its many excellent exhibits includes a wild reindeer display. These animals are found in the east, but nowhere else in the country. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about rural homesteading in the east, including farm work, clothing, and preservation of food.

Another important site is Skriðuklaustur mansion, once an ancient monastery and then home to famous writer Gunnar Gunnarsson. When Gunnarsson bought the property, he built a large house designed by German architect Fritz Hoger. Nowadays you can tour its grounds. For something more immersive, visit Menningarmiðstöð Fljótsdalshéraðs (don’t worry – you can say MMF for short). It’s one of four culture centers in east Iceland and specializes in theatre and dance, as well as lectures, workshops, and exhibitions.

Getting Around Egilsstadir

You can get around most Icelandic attractions via tour operator, or by hiring a rental car. Otherwise, east Iceland can be a very remote and difficult place to access. There are regularly scheduled buses year-round between Akureyri and Egilsstadir, and there’s even a free shuttle service between Egilsstadir and Fellabaer. Also nearby is an international ferry harbor, Seyðisfjörður. Egilsstadir makes a great jumping off point for exploring Iceland and the rest of Europe.

Did you know…?

Egilsstadir is one of Iceland’s youngest townships, having only been established in 1947.

Did you ALSO know…?

The French once had a strong influence on east Iceland.

In Fáskrúðsfjörður, for example, you’ll see signs in both French and Icelandic.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Egilsstadir

Being able to travel around east Iceland comfortably is very much a weather-dependent prospect. Spring and summer months are obviously the choicest times to visit, thanks to warm temperatures and easy accessibility during the peak tourist season. However, this also means that things are much more expensive. Fortunately, things are still cheaper in east Iceland than around the well-trodden tourist path in west Iceland. Take note that you may be visiting during the Midnight Sun, where you’ll experience 24 hours of sunlight. For some, this is a challenging part of travel!

Between October and November is also an ideal time to visit. Temperatures aren’t too extreme, and snowfall doesn’t typically occur until later. Prices are also cheaper; however, some tourist destinations may be harder to access.

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