Explore Northwest Iceland
The eastern shore of Eyjafjörður, covered in part by the Ringroad and then Route 83, offers something quite rare in Iceland: remote, uninhabited wilderness that is relatively accessible from a major town. North of the small village of Grenivík, now the only centre of population on the eastern side of the fjord, the perpetually snowcapped Látraströnd coastline is made up of some of the most rugged mountains in the north of Iceland, including the peak of Kaldbakur (1167m), which dominates any view of the eastern shore. Excellent and challenging hiking routes lead through the wilderness to abandoned farms which, until World War II, made up some of the country’s most remote and desolate communities, where life in this area of unforgiving Arctic fjordland, known as Í Fjörðum, was a constant struggle against the elements. The region’s other attraction, however, is not nearly so remote: the unusual five-gabled turf farmhouse and church at Laufás, 10km south of Grenivík and close to the Ringroad.
It’s 40km from Akureyri to Grenivík and, though no public transport runs this far, buses heading east from Akureyri to Mývatn or Húsavík can drop you at the start of Route 83, some 20km from town – you’ll have to rely on your own car, your legs or passing motorists beyond this point.Read More
Hiking from Grenivík to Gjögur
Hiking from Grenivík to Gjögur
A circular four- to five-day hike leads from Grenivík via the Látraströnd coast to the Gjögur headland, which guards the eastern entrance to Eyjafjörður, and then east through the coastal Í Fjörðum region to Hvalvatnsfjörður and the beginning of Route F839, which then returns towards Grenivík.
From Grenivík, follow the unnumbered road northwest from the village to the deserted Svínarnes farm, where the road ends and a track continues along the Látraströnd shoreline, passing several more abandoned farms, including Látur, which has been empty since 1942. The path then swings inland through the Uxaskarð pass (in order to avoid the Gjögur headland) and drops down through Keflavíkurdalur to reach the shore at Keflavík, one of Iceland’s remotest locations, a deserted farm that was regularly cut off from the rest of the country for months in the wintertime. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, people on the farm here were taken ill and died one by one as the harsh winter weather set in – all except for an 11-year-old girl, who remained alone here for ten weeks until people from the nearest farmstead finally managed to dig their way through the heavy snowdrifts to rescue her. Passing Þorgeirsfjörður, the path heads southwest for the next fjord, Hvalvatnsfjörður, and the beginning of the mountain road back over the hills up to the Leirdalsheiði plateau and finally down into Grenivík; there can often be snow along this route until the middle of July.
On certain dates in July it’s possible to do this hike in the opposite direction as part of an organized tour; the trip includes transport to Hvalvatnsfjörður and back from Svínarnes, breakfast and dinner – and most importantly horses to carry all your equipment. It’s likely to cost around 41,000kr; call t463 3236 or t861 6612 to sign up.