East Iceland coastline

Vattarnes East Iceland Coastline

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Eastfjords of Iceland

A trip around the East Fjords of Iceland can be rewarding for the photographer, with many coastal scenes and gentle mountains inland.  It is not a great place for drivers in a hurry.  Every road is winding, and going in and out of the fjords takes some time. 

Most fjords have towns on their northern shores.  I guess this is to get sunlight during the shorter winter days.  Maybe it also protects against the Norwegian winds coming from the north.


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About half way up the east coast is Fáskrúðsfjörður.  Most visitors to the area will welcome the tunnel, which takes you through to Reyðarfjörður in about 15 minutes, but if you want the best from the area, avoid the tunnel and continue through Fáskrúðsfjörður.   

The fishing village has an old connection with France, and you will see French and Icelandic flags fluttering together.  The streets have both French and Icelandic names.

East Iceland Coast
Facing South at the end of the Fáskrúðsfjörður Coastline

Shortly after leaving Fáskrúðsfjörður Village, you will find some opportunities to get close to the coast before the road goes uphill.  The volcanic coastline bears the scars of both glaciers and the ocean.  After driving up a hill, there is a chance to stop at a viewpoint. 

There is a nice view from here across to the mountains of the fjords north and south and out to the several islands that sit in the ocean like sunken mountains.  The most prominent island is Skrúður, which is home to large puffin colonies. On the tip of the peninsula, the road becomes quite high with a steep drop as it winds its way around the cliff edge. 

After the cliffs, the road goes downhill with a view of distant mountainous landscapes to the north.

When you reach a plateau, you will see some large boulders which you can hike through to the sea cliffs.  The cliffs here are about 20 meters and this is probably the best view of Skrúður (the volcanic island that sits 1 km off shore).

Vattarnes Coastline
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This little bit of Iceland has a fabulous coastline in the Eastfjords.  The land divides Reyðarfjörður and Fáskrúðsfjörður.  Reyðarfjörður is an even more beautiful fjord, but unfortunately the town of the same name is large and neighbours one of Iceland’s big aluminium smelters. 

The huge aluminium plant is quite shocking to see after so much untouched natural scenery.  The Smelter is powered by hydroelectric power that is so abundant in this part of Iceland. 

Because of the industry, Reyðarfjörður has grown to be the largest town on the East coast.  There is a grill, pizza restaurant and luxury hotel in the town and a good road to Egilstadir (the Capital of East Iceland).

Reyðarfjörður  coast on a summer evening.

Despite the metal works deep in the Fjord, Reyðarfjörður still offers plenty of opportunities for landscape and nature photography.  There are interesting geological features and even waterfalls along the coast, as well as a perfect winding road.  This can all be photographed before the Aluminium Smelter comes into view.

The next view is from the tip of Vattarnes towards the North.   Sea mist covers the land across Reyðarfjörður .There is a tiny lighthouse in the picture.  The lighthouse is on private property and cannot be accessed.

Reyðarfjörður sunset
Reyðarfjörður sunset

Accommodation Near Vattarnes


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