To spend a lot of time in the Eastfjords, Seyðisfjörður is your best option. Not only is the main ferry terminal that shuttles passengers to and from continental Europe here, along with some great places to stay, but the hiking is stupendous. You’ll also find plenty of other outdoor fun to have.
There are quite a few trails in Seyðisfjörður to choose from; they range from easy to more challenging. Hiking maps are available at the town’s tourist information center.
For an easy lowland hike, start from the parking area by Austdalsa River and head to the nature reserve Skalanes, where there is a guesthouse and museum. This hike includes views of the gorgeous Skalanesbjarg bird cliffs, where you can see nesting eider ducks May-July. Please be mindful of nests and eggs and be careful where you step along the way. It’s about a 90-minute hike and a distance of 4.5 kilometers.
A more challenging trail starts from Skalanes and goes up along the edge of the cliffs to the Skollaskard pass, which is steep. You continue on into a valley, Afrettadalur. The landscape is breathtaking, but be careful to monitor weather conditions. The hike is about four hours and the total distance is 8.5 kilometers.
The hike through Brimnes is another gem of a trek. Brimnes is on the north shore of Seyðisfjörður and was for centuries one of the major fishing villages in East Iceland. Start at the Selsstadir farm, 10 kilometers from the center of town, and you’ll find ruins of old buildings and a small orange lighthouse. A walk out to Brimnes in good weather with good visibility is memorable and worth it. Be sure to have your camera ready. The moderately difficult hike is about two hours and a distance of 5.5 kilometers.
Experienced climbers with endurance should check out the historical trail that leads from the Austdalsa parking area, up past the abandoned farmstead Austdalur. It’s extremely important to follow the trail posts down into the Brekkugja opening, as well as to be careful when crossing the snowbanks above it, before continuing down Brekkudalur valley to the Brekka settlement, a historic village. The seven-hour, 12-kilometer hike has some steep climbs; make sure you head out in good weather. Check the forecast.
More Outdoor Activities in Seyðisfjörður
You have the option to camp close to the town center at the Seyðisfjörður Campsite (Ranargata 5, tel. 354/472-1521, May-Sept., 1,250ISK per adult, free for children under 14), in a facility that has showers, hot and cold running water, and shared kitchen facilities. There’s also a free Internet connection. The campsite accommodates tents and RVs, and hookups are available.
Sea Angling Seyðisfjörður (at the marina, tel. 354/471-3060) is a company operated by local fisherman Haraldur Arnason, who will take you out to fish, observe bird settlements, and enjoy the open sea. You can have your catch prepared at Hótel Aldan’s restaurant for a fee. The tour is available all year but is dependent on the weather conditions. Call for the schedule and rates, as they vary depending on the time of year.
The Stafdalur Ski Area (tel. 354/898-2798, May-Dec.) is nine kilometers southwest from Seyðisfjörður and has a 1,000-meter ski lift, as well as a lift for children. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are possible from the ski area because there is excellent access for snowmobiles from the ski area to magnificent mountains, deserted fjords, and the famous Dyrfjoll mountains. Lift tickets are 4,000ISK.
The town swimming pool, Sundhöll Seyðisfjarðar (Suðurgata 5, tel. 354/472-1414, 10am-7pm daily, 500ISK) is small, but it’s frequented by locals and their children. If the weather is bad, a dip in one of the hot tubs is divine.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Iceland.