The East Fjords
It is easy to wax lyrical about the beauty of Iceland, so in this particular article you're going to have to take a leap of faith and accept the contention that landscapes don't come any grander or more awe inspiring than the ones in the East fjords of Iceland (would we lie to you?).
The East fjords are not their own region like the Westfjords are; they are rather (apologies if this is too glaringly obvious) just the fjords and fjord-side villages of East Iceland.
The East fjords themselves tend to be long, narrow and edged by very tall, very steep mountains. Therein lies their beauty. It is the getting there and away again that inspires the poetic recesses of the mind and causes ceaseless photograph taking.
Start with a little test. Drive from the East Iceland regional centre of Egilsstaðir over the mountains to the village and fjord of Seyðisfjörður. If the journey there doesn't absolutely blow you away, then you are probably safe to leave the region and explore somewhere else. If, on the other hand, you think it was a drive you'll never forget, you can revel in the fact that there is better to come!
Seyðisfjörður is a remarkable town for its pretty wooden houses, its international ferry port, its renowned artistic flair, its Dieter Roth cultural centre (the great man had a house and studio there) and for having the only cinemas in East Iceland – so they say.
The drive down to Mjóifjörður is even more spectacular – and certainly more spectacular than the sleepy village of 35 people waiting at your destination. But destinations are precisely what the East fjords are not about. The pleasure is in the journey and the destination is all along the way. Every time you see a cascading waterfall or an interesting cliff, that is your destination. Every time you see a mountaintop that looks like a slice of pizza, or a patch of stubborn snow with a cow's face, that is your destination. Of course there are more options open to you than these probably-a-bit-too-specific examples…
In the summertime you will find all the roads open and you can dart along the narrow gravel strips with only 159% concentration on not falling off the edge. In the winter things can sometimes get a little trickier. We would not recommend exploring some of the smaller villages in a small car in wintertime and we would always recommend checking on the road conditions before setting off. In the cold season it is a good idea to ask a professional local guide (possibly at the tourist office in Egilsstaðir) to help you plan your trip. That way you will get to see the most fjord for your buck while putting yourself in the least inadvertent danger. That has to be a good thing!
The East fjords are geologically one of the oldest places in Iceland and are therefore unusually cold on the geothermal energy front. This means a lack of natural hot pots around the place – but most of the towns and villages have excellent, clean, cheap swimming pools. The one in Neskaupstaður (on the shores of Norðfjörður) comes particularly highly recommended – especially due to its totally bodacious (that's still a word, right?) water slides.