Running up Eyjafjörður’s western flank from Akureyri, Route 82 affords stunning views over icy waters to the glacier-formed mountains which serve as a protective wall all around the fjord. If you have time, it’s well worth making the trip from Akureyri to see not only the mountains but also the rich farmland hereabouts, which is heavily grazed during the summer by cattle and sheep. The long hours of daylight in this part of Iceland, coupled with mild temperatures, make excellent growing conditions for various crops, and the small white dots you’ll see in the fields are barrel-shaped bundles of hay, neatly packaged in white plastic, to provide the animals with much needed food during the long months of winter. Noted for its hundreds of wild ptarmigan, the highlight of any trip up the fjord is the island of Hrísey, near the mouth of Eyjafjörður and overlooked by the fishing village of Dalvík, itself the starting point for some excellent hiking and whale-watching tours. Beyond here, a dark tunnel slices through the exposed headland, Ólafsfjarðarmúli, to reach the isolated village of Ólafsfjörður, another notable place from which to see whales. Two new tunnels now link the village with Siglufjörður, now just 17km away, making it possible to continue your journey via the north coast south to Varmahlíð and the Ringroad.

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