by Janis / 11 comments

Day Five, The Rugged Coastline

As we head out of Höfn back onto the Ring Road. You can immediately tell that this is where most tourists have turned around and headed back along the south of Iceland.

The roads weren’t too busy prior to this; now our Icelandic Ring Road adventure was going to be even more cherished.

Today’s planned route should be a distance of around 158miles/255km. Which is once again predominately along the Ring Road, but with of course our regular viewpoint stops to soak up the landscape.

For our overnight accommodation in Egilsstaðir; we stayed at Hótel Valaskjálf, which had ample parking and included breakfast.

The pin image for our post - 'Höfn to Egilsstaðir: Iceland’s road less travelled'
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(You can pick-up any part of our Iceland Road Trip at the bottom of this post, along with a map of our route and the 'Highlight of the Day' for each of us.)

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A different day in Iceland

Honest, there were Reindeer
A new day on our Iceland road trip, and we were more or less hugging the coastline today, and no sooner we had left Höfn, the seascape opened out before us.
A rock formation at then end of a dirt track leading from Hvalnes
The view from Hvalnes Lighthouse
We were now even seeing signs for ‘reindeer crossing’, and lo and behold we saw some. But not too close, to be perfectly honest when we pulled over to take some photos they were unsure of us and walked in the opposite direction.
Three reindeer roaming in the dried grass near the Hvalnes lighthouse in eastern Iceland
Reindeers in Iceland

Where to stay in Egilsstaðir

In Egilsstaðir we chose to stay at the Hótel Valaskjálf.

We had a few essential requirements from each of our overnight stays in Iceland, which were:

Breakfast included or available nearby.
Scooby snacks along the way can be expensive.
Parking is a requirement, as this is a road trip after all.
Nearby cafés/eateries, or onsite restaurant for the evening.
Preferably a close-by fuel station; they can be few and far between en route.
Booking.com

Exploring eastern Iceland

Hvalnes Lighthouse
A short hop along Iceland's quiet Ring Road of about 50km (31 miles) from Höfn, we came across Hvalnes lighthouse on a craggy outcrop.
The orange Hvalnes lighthouse at the end of a dirt track in eastern Iceland
Hvalnes Lighthouse
Along this coastline, there are so many inlets and unforgiving rocks.  It’s no wonder Iceland has its fair share of lighthouses.

Our Advice

Go for a 4×4 for the reasonable ground clearance it affords you. You can, of course, hire a 2-wheel drive vehicle, but you are not permitted to drive on ‘F’ roads and other tracks.

Our experience was that even access to certain Points of Interest along roads a regular 2-wheel drive wouldn’t get you there. Trust us.

Our advice for an Icelandic Road Trip

Take your time
Waves crashing against the coastline of eastern Iceland alongside route one on a bright day
The Eastern Iceland Coastline
As we tour across the spectacular landscape we see tiny villages which are so isolated, it amazes me that there are communities living in these harsh surroundings. You'll spot tiny tranquil bays and remote harbour towns.
A lone rock pillar on a black beach in eastern Iceland on a bright day
The coastline of Eastern Iceland, looking south.
The deserted route one weaving its way through the landscape of eastern Iceland
Route One in Eastern Iceland
Some places are so isolated, and it amazes me that there are people living in these surroundings. Tiny tranquil bays and remote harbour towns.
Isolated homes perched on a rocky landscape next to a fjord in Eastern Iceland
Teigarhorn Natural Monument and Nature Preserve, Iceland
A sweeping bay of dark pebbles in the Teigarhorn Natural Monument and Nature Preserve, Eastern Iceland
The bay at Teigarhorn Natural Monument and Nature Preserve

Useful tips for driving in Iceland

If you are planning a road trip around Iceland particularly over the winter months you need to be very aware of the ever-changing road and weather conditions.  During winter, parts of the Ring Road may be impassable, and you may not get to areas of the country you intended to.

Regularly check the conditions by using these useful websites and apps, believe me, they will come in handy.

We have also written a post packed with tips for driving in Iceland based on our research and experience than may be worth checking out.

Our first waterfall of the day

Sveinsstekksfoss

We found the waterfall we were looking for Sveinsstekksfoss. However, it was a bit obscured from view, so there was only one thing for it, launch the drone…..

Also, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

A few good ideas for your Icelandic trip

Here are a few things we picked up ahead of our trip to make things a little smoother for us.  Simple stuff that may be helpful on your travels.  All from Amazon.
A good old paper map
A USB car charger
A USB rechargable tourch
A USB power bank
A water bottle

    Another drone flight over Iceland

    Up and away
    Iceland's route one crossing a spit of land, with water on both sides, towards ice-capped mountains
    Just outside Breiðdalsvík

    As this area of Iceland was so quiet and very few people were around, we decided to fly the drone again.

    It gives an incredible perspective of the scenery.

    Planning your trip to Iceland

    So you're planning a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice? There is so much to see and do in Iceland that you'll wish you were staying longer. To ensure you make the most out of your visit, head over to the official website of Visit Iceland for a little help and guidance.

    Have fun!

    Create your own Icelandic adventure

    A little detour
    Our timing was going well for today's route of our Iceland road trip, so we decided to take a little detour onto the 955 around the peninsula by the village of Fáskrúðsfjörður. Before heading, on we grabbed some sustenance from a supermarket and sat and admired the view across the bay.
    A fjord against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains Eastern Iceland
    Fáskrúðsfjörður

    While here we found out that this village was also an outpost for French seaman fishing in Iceland during the late 19th and early 20th century.

    Unfortunately, this was an unforgiving occupation, and a little French Cemetery is dedicated to the seaman who lost their lives.

    A view of the gravel route 955 and the blue ocean lapping against Eastern Iceland
    Route 955 in Eastern Iceland

    Our Advice

    It’s your adventure, include whatever takes your fancy. Stop as often as you like, but obviously use a layby or a car park. Don’t just stop on the side of the road, be considerate and be aware of your surroundings.

    Peaceful Iceland

    Where is everyone?
    So, we left the Iceland's Ring Road for a gravel road bypass, once again the backdrop was breath-taking.
    The gravel route 955 leading towards a lighthouse against a backdrop of Icelandic mountains
    Heading around Vattarnes on route 955
    Before we took the detour, we saw signs for falling rocks. So, expecting to see small rocks or stones along the way, but no these were boulders in the road. Keep moving was the name of the game, perhaps we could outrun them.
    An orange lighthouse at the entrance to a ford in Eastern Iceland
    The view over the entrance to Reyðarfjörður

    In search of the Northern Lights

    If you are Northern Light hunting, you need to be aware of the sunset & darkness times and the KP Index for the evening. It also requires dark and partly clear skies.

    KP Index scale ranges from 0 to 9;
    0-2: Low
    2-3: Moderate
    4-6: A big solar storm is coming
    7-9: Highly unusual

    You can monitor this via the Icelandic Met Office which is updated around 6 pm.

    Your own road trip through Iceland

    Taking a mountain pass
    After our 30 miles’ detour, we were back on the Iceland's rote 1 again and heading to the town of Egilsstaðir, our base for the evening.
    A tarmac stretch of route one weaving its way between snow-capped mountains in Eastern Iceland
    Route One just outside Egilsstaðir
    However, as we still had time to discover more of eastern Iceland we took the 93 towards Seyðisfjörður (I haven’t got a clue how to pronounce that).
    Route 93 weaving its way between snow-capped mountains in Eastern Iceland
    Route 93 towards Seydisfjordur
    Heading high over mountains we now have bright skies and the sun glistening on the snow. We weave our way into town passing skiers and snowmobiles.

    If you're tempted to tour the Land of Fire and Ice and would love to discover the whole country, then take a look at this  DK Eyewitness book. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide is invaluable, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

    You can now grab the revised copy.

    Discovering Iceland

    What a find
    We arrive at Seyðisfjörður, and it such a delightful town, nestled at the mouth of a fjord of the same name.
    A mirror reflection of lakeside homes against a backdrop of mountains in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
    The view over the bay at Seydisfjordur
    The small fishing port has such character, the beautifully kept homes and shops encircle the fjord and create such a picturesque sight.
    Homes and the mountains behind reflected in a lake in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
    Reflections at Seydisfjordur

    Finding the right car for your Icelandic Road Trip

    Discover Iceland’s enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself.

    If you want to explore Iceland's F-Roads, you must have a 4x4, but we'd recommend one anyway for the improved driving position, and if the weather turns, you have a touch of added protection.

    We recommend Rental Cars as they search multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

    Our Iceland Road Trip

    The route
    The route that we took today was once again predominantly along the Ring Road, with a few detours and stops along the way. So, in total, our journey was about 343km (213 miles) and with all the stops took us about 8 hours.

    Where we stayed in Egilsstaðir

    Our stopover

    For the one night, we were based in Egilsstaðir; we stayed at Hótel Valaskjálf. It wasn’t quite as we’d hoped as we were informed on arrival that we couldn’t use their in-house restaurant, as they were catering for a conference. We were directed elsewhere in town, which wasn’t ideal as we had just had a long day driving.

    Since our return, I have contacted the hotel and explained my displeasure and they said we should have reserved a table in advance.  Is that acceptable?  Still it was only one night.

    Tomorrow we will be discovering more of eastern Iceland.

    The journey will be a mere 105 miles/168 km but wether permitting there will be a couple of detours along the way.

    Highlight of the Day

    Every trip Gary and I go on, whether it’s a mini-break near or far or a road trip we chose a ‘Highlight of the Day’, here they are for day 5.
    Janis; The whole route today was beautiful. However, I particularly enjoyed the little harbour towns and villages along the way.
    Gary; Now this is difficult. On one hand it has to be getting the drone airborne to capture some different views of the beautiful landscape, but I think the detour from Egilsstaðir to Seyðisfjörður was stunning.

    Trips to try in Iceland

    Something from Get Your Guide?
    Why not check out what else is on offer through Get Your Guide.

    The Complete Icelandic Journey

    Why not take a look through our entire 12-day Iceland tour? Staring as we left Kevflavik and continued anti-clockwise around Iceland

    * This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

    Share this post

    1. Whoa those mountain peaks are impressive! Haven’t seen a post about this part of Iceland before! I’d love to pin it but still having difficulty as it says your site doesn’t allow pinning. #CityTripping

      1. The scenery in eastern Iceland is incredible, less people tour this part of Iceland, so, it makes it even more special coming across these views.

        Thanks for letting us know about the Pinterest issue, it was resolved, but obviously temporarily, another ticket raised with Pinterest.

      2. Pinterest have once again said they have solved the problem, so fingers crossed, you should now be able to pin our images.

        We’ll keep an eye on it, but once again thanks for letting us know.

    2. This is my favourite of your Iceland posts so far. It does look as though you were the only people there and that you were following the path less travelled. And that photo of the fishing village across the water is just fabulous. I feel very inspired now to visit the Iceland you’ve seen. Thanks so much for sharing on #FarawayFiles

      1. Thanks very much for your kind compliments.

        Sometimes when I look at the photos I can’t believe we were there, the landscape was truly breath-taking. We hadn’t originally planned to go to Seyðisfjörður (the fishing village), but I am so glad we did, it was picture postcard.

    3. I sincerely hope that you plan to make a book out of all these amazing photos because they are STUNNING! I’ve truly loved reading about your Iceland adventures! #farawayfiles

      1. Thanks for your comments Hilary, they are really appreciated.

        I’ll let Gary know, that you loved his photos, I’ll get him to work on the book.

    4. The landscape is absolutely stunning, love your pics! My sister travelled to Iceland two years ago and she had a fantastic time too. She and her friend had rented a car to explore the various places and at one point they had decided to quickly move on to the next destination before it gets dark instead of stopping every now and then for photos, lol! #FarawayFiles

      1. Glad to hear that your sister also enjoyed Iceland, did she tour the Ring Road or keep to the south of Iceland? There is so much to see around the south it can keep you occupied for days.

        Thanks for the kind words.

    5. What is the grocery and gas situation like on the southeast side of Iceland? Your pictures are breathtakingly beautiful. thanks for sharing!

      1. Author

        Hi, thanks very much for your kind comments.

        Travelling along the south section of the Ring Road isn’t too bad as it is reasonably popular around Selfoss and Vik. There are groceries and fuel in Hofn too, in the far southeast.

        Our next stop from Hofn was further east to Egilsstaðir, continuing on the Ring Road, and they also had fuel stations and grocery stores.

        I hope this helps, just shout if you need anymore info, have a fantastic time.

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