Whichever direction you’ve come from, arrival at EGILSSTAÐIR is a bit of an anticlimax. This crossroads town dates only to the late 1940s, when a supermarket, a vet, a hospital and a telephone exchange chose to set up shop on a narrow strip of moorland between the glacier-fed Lagarfljöt river and the back of the East Fjord fells, bringing the first services into this remote corner of the country. Today Egilsstaðir has grown to fill a couple of dozen streets but remains an unadorned service and supply centre, important to the regional economy but containing neither a proper centre nor much in the way of essential viewing.
Egilsstaðir is, however, a major transportation hub; the airport has flights to Reykjavík, the international port of Seyðisfjörður is nearby, and anyone travelling by bus has to stop here for at least as long as it takes to change services. It’s also a springboard to the estuarine grasslands of Héraðsfloí, as well as the adjacent Lögurinn lake and highland plateau around Snæfell and Kárahnjúkar, and the northern East Fjords.