Home > Blog > The 20 Best Things to Do & See in East Iceland

The 20 Best Things to Do & See in East Iceland


Things to do in east Iceland

East Iceland is a stunning region filled with breathtaking landscapes, picturesque villages, and countless natural wonders. In this guide, we'll explore the top things to do in East Iceland, covering a variety of attractions that cater to every type of traveler.

From waterfalls and hiking trails to museums and cultural experiences, there's no shortage of adventure awaiting you in this lesser-known part of the country. So, buckle up and let's dive into the best things to do in eastern Iceland!

1. Explore Seydisfjordur: A Picturesque Village in East Iceland

Seydisfjordur, a charming village nestled among the fjords, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in East Iceland. Its colorful wooden houses, quaint harbor, and vibrant art scene make it an ideal destination for photographers in Iceland and culture enthusiasts. Don't forget to check out the iconic blue church and hike to the Tvísöngur sound sculpture, offering panoramic views of the village and surrounding landscape.

Things to do in East Iceland

2. Witness the Mighty Dettifoss: The Largest Waterfall in North East Iceland

Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, is a must-see East Iceland attraction. The thunderous roar of the water cascading down the 45-meter drop is a breathtaking experience.

There are two viewpoints, one on the east bank and another on the west bank of the river. For the best experience, visit both sides, as each offers a unique perspective of this natural wonder. A visit to Dettifoss should be on everyone's list of things to do in northeast Iceland.

Dettifoss waterfall

3. Discover Petra's Stone Collection

Petra's Stone Collection is a fascinating museum showcasing one of the most extensive private rock and mineral collections in the world. It's the result of a lifelong passion for collecting stones by local resident Petra Sveinsdóttir.

A visit to this museum is an excellent opportunity to learn about Iceland's geology and admire the colorful and diverse mineral specimens. Don't miss this unique eastern Iceland attraction when exploring the region.

Petra Stone collection

4. Hike Around the Majestic Stuðlagil Canyon

Stuðlagil Canyon, a hidden gem in the Jökuldalur valley, is known for its striking basalt columns and crystal-clear glacial river. A hike to the canyon is one of the best things to do in East Iceland for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

The hike is moderately challenging and offers picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. The enchanting beauty of Stuðlagil Canyon makes it one of the east Iceland must-see spots.

Studlagil canyon east Iceland

5. Unwind in the Egilsstaðir Geothermal Pool

After a long day of exploring, relax and rejuvenate at the Egilsstaðir Geothermal Pool. This family-friendly facility features several hot tubs with varying temperatures, a steam bath, a sauna, and a heated outdoor pool. Soaking in the mineral-rich waters is a quintessential Icelandic experience and a perfect way to unwind.

East Iceland geothermal baths

6. Visit the Scenic Hengifoss Waterfall

Hengifoss, Iceland's third-highest waterfall, is a spectacular sight to behold. The 128-meter cascade plunges into a striking basalt gorge adorned with colorful red claystripes. A hike to Hengifoss is among the best things to do in east Iceland and rewards visitors with amazing views of the waterfall and surrounding valley.

The trail is moderately challenging, but the breathtaking scenery makes the effort worthwhile. Don't miss this stunning east Iceland attraction on your journey.

Hengifoss Waterfall

7. Go Whale Watching in Husavik

Husavik, often referred to as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, offers an unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts. With a high probability of spotting humpback whales, minke whales, and even orcas, it's one of the top things to do in north east Iceland.

Combine your whale-watching tour with a visit to the fascinating Husavik Whale Museum for a comprehensive understanding of these magnificent creatures and their habitat.

Husavik, Iceland

8. Tour the Hallormsstaður National Forest: A Lush Oasis in East Iceland 

Hallormsstaður National Forest, the largest forest in Iceland, is a true oasis in the rugged East Iceland landscape. With diverse flora and fauna, this lush woodland offers excellent opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and picnicking.

Don't miss the 30-meter high Skógafoss waterfall hidden within the forest, adding to the list of things to see in eastern Iceland. A visit to Hallormsstaður is a perfect escape into nature for families and nature lovers alike.

East Iceland forest

9. Experience the Papey Island Puffin Colony

Papey Island, a small island off the coast of East Iceland, is home to a large puffin colony during the summer months. A boat trip to Papey offers a chance to observe these adorable seabirds up close, making it one of the top things to do in eastern Iceland for wildlife enthusiasts. While on the island, explore the charming wooden church and the remains of the last farmstead, offering a glimpse into the island's history.

Papey Island, East Iceland

10. Explore the Vatnajokull Glacier National Park

Vatnajokull Glacier National Park, encompassing a large part of East Iceland, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an essential stop on any itinerary. With its massive ice cap, stunning glacial lagoons, and dramatic landscapes, it's no wonder this park is considered one of the east Iceland must-see destinations.

Experience ice cave tours, glacier hikes, and boat tours on the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon for a truly unforgettable experience in this unique landscape.

Vatnajokull, Iceland

11. Visit the Skalanes Nature Reserve: A Hidden Gem in Eastern Iceland

Skalanes Nature Reserve, a 1,250-hectare area on the easternmost point of Iceland, is a haven for birdwatching, hiking, and Icelandic wildlife spotting. Home to over 50 bird species and a variety of flora and fauna, Skalanes offers a serene escape into nature.

Learn about the reserve's research and conservation projects and discover the rich cultural history of the area. A visit to Skalanes is a perfect addition to your list of things to do in eastern Iceland.

East Iceland Nature reserve

12. Take a Scenic Drive on the East Fjords

The East Fjords, a series of stunning coastal inlets, offer some of the most breathtaking views and picturesque landscapes in Iceland. A scenic drive along the coastal road is one of the top things to do in east Iceland, providing an opportunity to admire the dramatic cliffs, idyllic fishing villages, and abundant wildlife.

Make sure to stop at some of the charming villages like Fáskrúðsfjörður and Neskaupstaður to soak in the local culture and history. This unforgettable drive is a must for anyone exploring the eastern Iceland attractions.

East Fjords, Iceland

13. Explore the Wilderness at Borgarfjörður Eystri

Borgarfjörður Eystri, a remote and rugged region in East Iceland, is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. With its dramatic landscapes, towering mountains, and scenic coastline, it offers a true off-the-beaten-path experience.

Don't miss the renowned puffin colony at Hafnarhólmi and the picturesque Álfaborg, a rock formation believed to be home to Iceland's "hidden people." Exploring Borgarfjörður Eystri is one of the most authentic things to do in eastern Iceland.

Borgarfjordur Eystri

14. Discover the Cultural Heritage of the East Iceland Maritime Museum

The East Iceland Maritime Museum, located in Eskifjörður, showcases the region's rich maritime history and cultural heritage. With exhibits featuring historic fishing boats, equipment, and artifacts, the museum offers an insightful look into the lives of Icelandic fishermen and their families.

A visit to the East Iceland Maritime Museum is an excellent way to learn about the importance of the fishing industry to Iceland's history and an engaging addition to your east Iceland attractions itinerary.

Iceland's museums

15. Wander Through the Quaint Fishing Village of Djúpivogur 

Djúpivogur, a charming fishing village on the southeastern coast, is a perfect stop on your East Iceland journey. Stroll through the picturesque harbor, admire the local artwork, and explore the fascinating history at the Langabúð cultural center.

The village is also an excellent base for visiting the nearby Papey Island and the spectacular Vatnajokull Glacier National Park. Djúpivogur's charm and relaxed atmosphere make it one of the top places to visit in east Iceland.

Djupivogur, Iceland

16. Experience the Serenity of the Rjukandi Waterfall

Rjukandi Waterfall, a series of cascades along the Jökulsá á Dal river, is a hidden gem among the things to see in eastern Iceland. The waterfall's serene beauty and easily accessible viewing platform make it a perfect stop on a scenic drive through the East Fjords. Take a short walk from the parking area to admire this stunning waterfall up close, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere at this lesser-known north east Iceland attraction.

Rjukandi waterfall

17. Delve into Icelandic History at the Skaftfell Center for Visual Art 

Located in Seydisfjordur, The Skaftfell Center for Visual Art is a hub for contemporary art and cultural events in East Iceland. The center features exhibitions, workshops, and artist residencies, providing a platform for artistic expression and cultural exchange.

Dive into the vibrant art scene and learn about Iceland's creative heritage at this dynamic cultural institution. A visit to Skaftfell is an enriching and inspiring addition to your list of things to do in east Iceland.

Skaftfell Center

18. Explore the Fardagafoss Waterfall: A Top East Iceland Attraction 

Fardagafoss, a hidden gem located close to the town of Egilsstaðir, is a stunning waterfall that offers a picturesque and serene experience. A moderately challenging hike through lush vegetation leads you to this beautiful cascade, providing an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Fardagafoss is an ideal addition to your list of things to do in east Iceland and a must-visit for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

Fardagafoss waterfall

19. Enjoy the Panoramic Views from the Búlandstindur Mountain

Búlandstindur, a distinctive pyramid-shaped mountain near Djúpivogur, offers panoramic views of the East Fjords and the surrounding landscape. A hike to the summit is a challenging but rewarding experience for adventure enthusiasts.

According to local folklore, Búlandstindur is an "energy center" that grants wishes. Whether you believe in the legends or not, the breathtaking vistas from the summit make this hike one of the most memorable things to see in eastern Iceland.

East Iceland attractions

20. Admire the Unique Icelandic Wildlife at the East Iceland Natural History Museum

The East Iceland Natural History Museum, located in Neskaupstaður, showcases the region's diverse flora and fauna through a vast collection of specimens and exhibits. Learn about the unique wildlife that inhabits the area, including birds, marine mammals, and insects, as well as the importance of conservation and environmental preservation.

A visit to the East Iceland Natural History Museum is both educational and engaging, making it a perfect stop for families and nature lovers exploring east Iceland attractions.

Puffins in East Iceland

Embrace the Beauty and Adventure of East Iceland 

With its incredible landscapes, charming villages, and endless opportunities for adventure, East Iceland is a destination that should not be overlooked.

From breathtaking waterfalls and glaciers to hot springs and cultural experiences, there's something for everyone in this captivating region. We hope this guide inspires you to embark on your own unforgettable journey and discover all the amazing things to do in east Iceland with your Iceland car rental.