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.