Exploring the Eastfjords of Iceland
Between May and September camping is available in Seyðisfjörður, and the local hostel is open from April to mid-October to coincide with the ferry's sailing months. The pick of the town's lodgings, though, is boutique Hótel Aldan, spread across three timber buildings. The reception shares space with the cafe-restaurant, serving coffee and homemade cakes all day, then stepping things up at night when traditional Icelandic ingredients such as lamb, langoustine, reindeer and fish come with a polished contemporary touch. Also do not miss Skaftfell, an artsy bistro with an upstairs gallery space where you can snack and meet the locals to a suitably cool soundtrack.
Exploring the Eastfjords
Despite (mostly) surfaced roads, the concertina coastline of the Eastfjords region seems remote, even by Icelandic standards. It is a feeling enhanced by immense, dramatic mountainsides and the tiny working fishing villages that nestle under them.
About 90km to the north is the township of Borgarfjörður Eystri, where the selling points include more puffin-watching, legends of hidden elves and hiking trails among ethereal rhyolite peaks. If you really want to get away from it all, the ultra-remote fjord Mjóifjörður lies 66km to the south, accessible by a rough unsealed road. The village here, Brekkuþorp, is Iceland's smallest (population 35).
Egilsstaðir (population 2,300), 27km inland from Seyðisfjörður, is the service town for east Iceland and the regional transport hub. It lies on the Ring Road (Route 1), the main 1,339km-long route that circles Iceland, with buses passing through regularly and an airport for domestic flights to and from Reykjavík (660km to the west).
Egilsstaðir is located on the shore of Lagarfljót, a large lake that is home to the Icelandic version of the Loch Ness monster, the serpentine Lagarfljótsormur, or Worm, which has allegedly been spotted since Viking times. All amenities are clustered near the central crossroads, including the regional tourist office, whose website is a font of information.
The most common way for visitors to get around Iceland is by car. The majority of people taking the ferry from Denmark to Seyðisfjörður bring their own vehicle, often 4WD and kitted up for outdoor adventure, to save on the cost of hiring a car in Iceland – an expensive exercise in peak summer.
Ferry fares vary widely, depending on when you travel, your vehicle and what cabin you choose. Sample one-way fares for a car and two passengers in high season (mid-June to mid-August) is 738 euros, before cabin choice is factored in. For a solo traveller (without vehicle), the one-way base fare is 203 euros. High-season cabin prices start at 58 euros per person for a dorm-style “couchette”, 92 euros for a berth in a four-berth cabin. The ferry offers stopover packages for travellers wishing to explore the Faroe Islands.