Frequently Asked Questions
Fjarðabyggð is the easternmost municipalty in Iceland. Comprising six fjords in central East Iceland, the name of the municipality can be viewed as a very fitting one, meaning the "people of the fjords" or "the settlment of the fjords". The legendary Gerpir Area is a part of the Great Outdoors of Fjarðabyggð.
What are the names of the fjords and towns in Fjarðabyggð?
The names of the six fjords in Fjarðabyggðar are Mjóifjörður, Norðfjörður, Eskifjörður, Reyðarfjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður.
The towns and villages take their names from the adjacent fjords, expect in Norðfjörður, the home fjord to Neskaupstaður Town. Another exception is Brekkuþorp, the small village of Mjóifjörður, but it's not common in use, most people referring to it by the name of the fjord.
The population of Fjarðabyggð is in total 4,800, varying from one fjord to the other. About 1,500 residents are in Neskaupstaður (Norðfjörður), 1,100 in Eskifjörður, 1,300 in Reyðarfjörður and 700 in Fáskrúðsfjörður. Stöðvarfjörður has a little less than 200 residents and in Mjóifjörður there are nearly 30 residents.
How can I get to Fjarðabyggð?
It's easy. You can get to Fjarðabyggð either by domestic flight or by car. From Europe you can also get to East Iceland, the home region of Fjarðabyggð, by Norröna car and passenger ferry. Norröna sails from Hirtshals in Danemark to Seyðisfjörður a neighbouring fjord to Fjarðabyggð, once a week all year around. It takes about 45 min. to drive from Seyðisfjörður to Reyðarfjörður in Fjarðabyggð Central.
How can I get to Fjarðabyggð by car?
Stay on the National Route 1 (ring road) and simply head east. From Reykjavík the easiest way would be to take the scenic drive along the south coast of the country. The distance to Stöðvarfjörður in Fjarðabyggð South is roughly 630 km (390 mi). To get to Fjarðabyggð South from the NR 1, just keep to the coast line, following "Neskaupstaður" or "Reyðarfjörður". When reaching Breiðdalsvík, take the NR 96 and in a short while you'll be arriving in Stöðvarfjörður.
How can I get to Fjarðabyggð by car from Akureyri?
You can also get to Fjarðabyggð from the north region of Iceland. The drive from Akureyri takes app. 3,5 - 4 hours (app. 300 km/186 mi) and goes for the most part across the magnificent highlands that are between North and East Iceland.
Simply take the National Route 1 (ring road) and follow "Egilsstaðir". From Egilsstaðir follow "Reyðarfjörður" on the Natinal Route 92", which will lead you to Reyðarfjörður Town in Central Fjarðabyggð.
How can I get to Fjarðabyggð by car from Egilsstaðir?
From Egilsstaðir there are 33 km (20,5 mi) or an app. 20 min. drive to Fjarðabyggð. Simply follow "Reyðarfjörður" on the National Route 92, which will take you along Fagridalur, a valley that cuts through the highland surrounding the fjords of Fjarðabyggð. Fagridalur actually stands for "beautiful valley" in Icelandic, a somewhat fair description of this scenic route where sheeps can be seen grassing in the summer and reindeers snooping for something edible in the winter.
How can I get around in Fjarðabyggð?
The national routes crossing Fjarðabyggð, NR 92 and NR 96, meet in Reyðarfjörður, placing Reyðarfjörður Town as the central point of Fjarðabyggð.
The NR 92 goes actually all the way from Egilsstaðir, the regional center of East Iceland, to Neskaupstaður Town (Norðfjörður), crossing first Reyðarfjörður Town and then Eskifjörður Town before reaching Norðfjörður, the home fjord to Neskaupstaður.
The NR 96 skirts, on the other hand, the east coast connecting Fáskrúðsfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður with Reyðarfjörður and other towns and villages up north.
The road to Mjóifjörður, Fjarðabyggðs northernmost fjord, is NR 953. To get there, follow the NR 92 from Reyðarfjörður Town or Egilsstaðir Town. The road is only open in the summer. A small passenger ferry connects Mjóifjörður to Neskaupstaður.
What is the distance between towns and villages in Fjarðabyggð?
- Reyðarfjörður - Eskifjörður (NR 92) = 15 km (9 mi)
- Eskifjörður - Norðfjörður (NR 92) = 24 km (15 mi)*
- Reyðarfjörður - Fáskrúðsfjörður (NR 96) = 21 km (13 mi)**
- Fáskrúðsfjörður - Stöðvarfjörður (NR 96) = 27.5 km (16.7 mi)
- Reyðarfjörður - Mjófjörður (NR 92/ NR 953) = 56 km (35 mi)
* There of a 700m (0.4mi) tunnel.
** There of a 6 km (3.7 mi) road tunnel.
Is there a public transportation system I can use to get to Fjarðabyggð?
SVAust is the public bus transportation system in East Iceland, run by local bus operators in cooperation with businesses and municipalities within the region. The system was formally taken into use in 2013, after a trial period of two years and is still in development. Please note that you can pay for a single fair only in the fly bus from Egilsstaðir Airport. In other cases you need to buy a minimum of ten tickets. You need one ticket for each pay zone you cross. In Fjarðabyggð there are two pay zones.
The ferry connecting Mjóifjörður við Norðfjörður during winter is a part of the system, but the NR 953 to Mjóifjörður is only open summer, usually from mid May to late September depending on the weather.
Is there a public transportation system I can use to get to Fjarðabyggð?
Strætó goes to Egilsstaðir Town in East Iceland, basically connecting the west and north regions of Iceland to the east region. From Egilsstaðir you can get to most towns and villages in East Iceland by using SVAust, the public bus system of the region. SVAust is run by local bus operators in East Iceland and is not a part of Strætó, the public bus transportation in Iceland.
Can I see the northern lights in Fjarðabyggð?
The northern lights (aurora borealis) are a part of the everyday life in Fjarðabyggð during the short winter days from October to May.
Peak visibility is usually from December to February. Fjord Fáskrúðsfjörður has actually been for some time the scene of spectacular sightings.
However, as it is a natural phenomenon, sightings cannot be guaranteed, even if your tour is operated. The northern lights are the result of charged particles from solar flares colliding with the earth's atmosphere. They can only be viewed in the darkness of night when there are no clouds blocking your view to the sky.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office keeps a website in English where you can amongst other things get a forecast for cloud cover.
Auroras Iceland in Fáskrúðsfjörður is the home of the northern lights in Fjarðabyggð. In this impressive exhibition, photographs by Jónína G. Óskarsdóttir and Jóhanna K. Hauksdóttir display the multiform shapes and colours of northern lights "strutting" across the night sky.
Is fog more common in the eastern part of Iceland?
Advection Fogs are a common natural phenomenon by the northern and eastern coast of Iceland. In the Eastern Fjords, the advection fog can commonly be seen as beautiful if not dramatic clouds formations in the moutain slopes. Sometimes, this kind of fog can also be brougt by calm winds into the deep fjords of the eastern coast, where it accumulates filling the respective fjords. When that happens, the fog usually lies realatively low in the cone-shaped fjords, making it possible for mountaineers to make the climb up and above the fog and see how it literally fills the fjord. The Icelandic Fogcenter displays impressive photographs of the "East Fjord Fog", as the advection fog is somtimes called by locals om East Iceland, in the handicraft market run by Salthússmarkaðurinn in Stöðvarfjörður.
Do I need to make a reservation when going out dining in Fjarðabyggð?
It is always good to plan ahead, especially during the busy season, but feel free to just drop in and if there is an empty table it will be yours if it suits you. You can find more information on restaurants and contact details in the section “Where to dine”.
Are there any car rentals in Fjarðabyggð?
All major car rentals in Iceland are stationed in Egilsstaðir Airport. The distance from Egilsstaðir to Reyðarfjörður in central Fjarðbyggð is 33 km (20.5 mi).
Europcar has a service agent stationed in Neskaupstaður (Norfjörður).
Can I find any gift or designer stores in Fjarðabyggð?
There are no typical tourist souvenir stores in Fjarðabyggð, but there are some pretty impressive arts and handicrafts markets as Gallery Kolfreyja and Frú Anna in Fáskrúðsfjörður and Salthússmarkaðurinn in Stöðvarfjörður. In Stöðvarfjörður you can also enjoy visiting Gallery Snærós, a family driven and internationally renowned art gallery and the HERE Creative Center. In Norðfjörður, the holiday farm and horse ranch Skorrastaðir is also the home to Gallery Thea and in Eskifjörður there is Kata's Workshop, a small gallery run by Kata, a local glas and sliversmith.
What about shopping in Fjarðabyggð?
Your daily shopping for groceries and other everyday necessities can be done in any town or village in Fjarðabyggð. The minimarkets or grocery stores are open seven days a week, except for Fáskrúðsfjörður. The minimarket there is closed on Sundays. Krónan, a supermarket chain store can be found in Molinn shopping mall in Reyðarfjörður.
Where can I find a pharmacy in Fjarðabyggð?
You can find a Lyfja pharmacy/drugstore in Neskaupstaður Town, Eskifjörður Town and in Reyðarfjörður Town. In Reyðarfjörður the drugstore is on the ground floor of Molinn shopping mall. The stores are open weekdays.
Is it true that Fortitude is in Fjarðabyggð?
Yes, the Sky Atlantic/Starz series Fortitude are in fact shot on locations in Fjarðabyggð. Over 6 million film and TV lovers watched the series when when it was aired in the beginning of 2015 and a follow up to that success is in the making. All outdoor scenes and even some of the indoor scenes are shot in Eskifjörður Town and Reyðarfjörður Town. It can be revealed that Samkaup Strax in Eskifjörður has the proud role of of the supermarket in Fortitude and the pub Blue Fox is in fact standing next to Tærgesen Guesthouse in Reyðarfjörður Town, quickly becoming one of the most popular selfie-spots in East Iceland.
Will currency exchange be a problem for me?
You can find either banks or ATM automats in every town or village in Fjarðabyggð with the one exception of Mjóifjörður. The banks are open workdays, but the ATM's accept withdrawals in Icelandic currency on all major credit or payment cards. So do service providors in general, in case you should find yourself out of ISK - Icelandic kronas.
What is the climate like in Fjarðabyggð?
Summers are usually warm in Iceland, the east part of the country being no exception from that general rule. The climate is a dry one, so temperatures running from 15°C and upwards are in fact much warmer than they look. The same goes for the other end of the scale. Low numbers as 5°C or even -3°C are not as cold as you might expect, provided that it's not windy, the wind being in fact a much larger factor than the actual temperature. In general there's only one promise to be made on the weather in Iceland - it changes constantly. That is why Icelanders have this saying, that there's no such thing as bad weather, there's only bad clothing. So be sure to take the right clothing with you before traveling to Iceland and your visit will be an enjoyable one, no matter the weather. The natural forces you need to be prepared for are rain and wind in a mix with hot days - sometimes you'll even have to deal with all three elements in one day. During winter you can add to this snow and wind chill. The Icelandic Meteorological Office keeps a website in English.