Explore the Northeast of Iceland, the end of the Arctic Coast Way
The northeast of Iceland is home to some of the most exquisite nature on the island, without the crowds. The north is ideal for slow travel, to spend time basking in the beauty of the region, and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and birdwatching. The region offers sweeping landscapes with backdrops of looming mountains, narrow fjords, and curvaceous coastlines. If you’re looking for unspoiled beauty, it’s all here.
Báran Restaurant, Þórshöfn in Langanes
Báran Restaurant has earned the reputation as one of the best restaurants in northeast of Iceland. Specialising in fresh local meat and produce from nearby farms and fresh fish from the local boats, Báran is a delightful full-service restaurant in Þórshöfn.
Báran, which features a cosy, warm atmosphere, is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, something rare for this part of Iceland as the next full-service restaurant is about 150 kilometres away. Guests can enjoy options from a diverse menu, including lamb, fresh fish, burgers, soups, sandwiches, pasta and pizza. There’s something for everyone. And if the weather is good, guests can enjoy their meal on an outdoor deck overlooking the serene harbour. For those up for a drink, Báran has an impressive beer menu from local Icelandic breweries as well as imported beer.
Eyri in Hjalteyri
Nearby Hjalteyri, which is a small village on the western shores of Eyjafjörður, close to Akureyri, has transformed from a fishing town to an artist community. The old herring factory is frequently used as a venue for art exhibitions. Hungry travellers should stop by the Eyri Restaurant, a beautiful eatery with gorgeous fjord views. Eyri serves dishes derived from local meat and produce. In fact, all of the lamb served is from farms within 30 kilometres of the restaurant and the fish comes from Þórshöfn.
Hjalteyri has evolved into an attractive tourist destination over the past few years. There is a food co-op that sells fresh organic produce every two weeks; there’s live music on weekends and the hot tub is a hit with locals and tourists alike. Eyri is at the heart of it all with great food and a friendly atmosphere.
Hotel Skulagarður and Restaurant
Hótel Skúlagarður offers comfortable accommodation for travellers looking to explore two tourist routes–the Diamond Circle and the Arctic Coast Way. The hotel has 17 rooms, all with private bathrooms and, during the summer months, the hotel provides a reception area, restaurant and bar. The restaurant focuses on quality, local ingredients and offers an á la carte menu from June 1– September 1. The winter months have limited service.
Skúlagarður is located in Kelduhverfi and natural wonders can be found within walking distance of the hotel, including hiking trails, caves and lake Skálftavatn. The location is perfect for travellers exploring the Northeast and discovering some hidden gems along the way.
Sandur Guesthouse in Þórshöfn
Sandur Guesthouse offers charming accommodation in a historically significant house in the town of Þórshöfn. The renovated guesthouse offers an array of accommodation ranging from a single room to a 4-bed family room, all with private bathrooms. The guesthouse is perfectly situated along the Arctic Coast Way, with attractions nearby. The guesthouse owners also offer kayaking rentals and tours that allow you to explore the natural beauty of the area by water.
The Arctic Coast Way
The businesses above are located along the north-eastern corner of North Iceland’s newest tourist route, the Arctic Coast Way, which spans 900 kilometres from Hvammstangi in the northwest to Bakkafjörður in the northeast. This route leads travellers on a journey across 21 towns and villages, and along the way you will see spectacular landscapes of towering mountains, charming fishing villages, and glacial river deltas.
Northeast Iceland is often overlooked, but has some of the most pristine, untouched nature in Iceland. On your next trip to Iceland, make sure to spend some time hiking and photographing the Northeast coast. Even during the high season, there’s a good chance you won’t bump into many other tourists. The Northeast can be your own private treasure. -JG