Egilsstaðir is the largest town in East Iceland, with a population of 2464 people as of 2018. It is located on the banks of the river Lagarfljót in the wide valley of the fertile Fljótsdalshérað district.
Egilsstaðir is the main centre for service, transportation and administration in East Iceland. It is, therefore, an ideal place for those who are travelling around the Ring Road of the country to refresh and rest. It has excellent connections to remote and little-travelled East Fjords, and to Vatnajökull National Park.
Egilsstaðir provides all basic services for travellers, with a supermarket, souvenir shops, hotels, an information centre, restaurants and tour operators. It also boasts a quaint and popular Heritage Museum, which has several remodelled turf-houses, replicas of the homes Icelanders lived in for centuries.
The town also features an airport which is mostly used for domestic flights, although an increasing number of international airlines are beginning to fly there. The town also boasts a college and a health centre.
Egilsstaðir also has an annual electronic music festival, Hringrás; the Orsteiti Town Festival; and a jazz festival.
Hallormsstaðaskógur covers 740 hectares, and is composed of over eighty different species of tree from all over the world; the rate it has grown at is astonishing, considering that in 1910 it was simply a copse in a protected paddock.
It is a favourite destination for hikers and bikers, with over 40 kilometres (25 miles) of marked paths. It is also a favoured spot for birdwatchers, due to the dozens of species indigenous to the area.
Lagarfjlót, however, has more appeal to the superstitious. Since the 14th Century, there have been many reports of a great wyrm living in its depths, and sightings of this mythical beast continue to this day.
A little further afield from Egilsstaðir, you will reach the magnificent East Fjords. Like the Westfjords, this is one of the most remote places in the country, and as you wind around the giant mountains and look across the sparkling bays, there will often be no other soul in sight.
Those travelling the East Fjords should be sure to soak up the culture of the fishing villages, the magnificent views, and the extensive wildlife.
Looking towards the sea cliffs will provide plentiful opportunities to see many species of nesting bird; on the shores you may see colonies of seals; and out amongst the waves, perhaps even the breaking fin of a whale or dolphin.
This is also the only place in the country where reindeer can be found. Brought over initially to be farmed for meat, the industry was never as lucrative as sheep and horse farming, so the animals have roamed in their herds ever since.
Travelling north from Egilsstaðir on the Ring Road takes you into the Highlands of Vatnajökull National Park. In this region, you can find features such as Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon, home to the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss.
If driving around the Ring Road of Iceland yourself in a clockwise direction, and you are planning to stay the night in Egilsstaðir, the most convenient and beautiful places to spend the night or two before that would be either in the towns of Akureyri or Húsavík, or the Lake Mývatn Area.