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Great Escape EASTERN ICELAND

Uncover the beauty of Iceland’s most hidden corners, beginning in the remote arts and crafts community of Seyðisfjörður, before tracking trolls in the mountains of Borgarfjörður Eystri. Next, take a boat trip across an iceberg-filled lake at Jökulsárlón, then climb a glacier in Vatnajökull National Park.
A fishing boat lies at anchor in the village of Djúpivogur

Plan your trip

1 Discover Iceland’s most creative arts and crafts hub in Seyðisfjörður, a small former fishing community (p48).

2 Seek out elves and trolls, and possibly even a sea monster, in the mountains of Borgarfjörður Eystri (p50).

3 Hop in a Zodiac for a bucket-list trip across Jökulsárlón lagoon, a wilderness of ice caps, black sand beaches and seals (p52).

4 Glacier hikes and ice climbs await in Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe’s largest ice sheet (p54).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: YVETTE CARDOZO/ALAMY, STEPHEN J COHEN/GETTY, AF ARCHIVE/ALAMY, DEREPENTE/ISTOCK/GETTY, JONATHAN GREGSON

HOW TO GET THERE

Egilsstaðir Airport is the most useful entry point for this trip, with Discover the World offering return charter flights from London Gatwick on a seasonal basis. With most carriers, you’re looking at flying into Keflavík International Airport, Iceland’s main international hub, before transferring to Reykjavík Airport near the city centre (1hr by bus). Icelandair, easyJet, WOW air and British Airways fly direct to Keflavík (from £69 return; ba.com), with the onward internal flight to Egilsstaðir available with Air Iceland Connect (from £119 return; airicelandconnect.com).

HOW TO GET AROUND

Public transport is limited, so our suggestion for this itinerary is to hire a rental car in Egilsstaðir. Expect to pay upwards of £350 per week (europcar.co.uk). Unlike most European countries, Iceland’s roads are rudimentary and tarmac sometimes turns to gravel when you least expect it, but all cars are insured to drive these roads. If you plan to detour into the country’s mountainous centre, you’ll need a 4WD.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

Iceland is one of those countries that makes you wish you’d planned to stay for longer, and there are so many detours off Route 1 it’s hard not to get distracted. With that in mind, it’s possible to complete this route in just six days, but that would be an unnecessary rush. Consider 10 days to allow more time for activities such as hiking, biking, birdwatching, and – perhaps – a boozy night or two getting to know the locals.

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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the November issue… Explore the east of Iceland, further from the tourist hotspots, but no less scenic; trace Australia's past along the rainforest-clad coast of northern Queensland; discover unsung wonders in the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe; learn how to recreate some of France's most enduring recipes on a gastronomic tour; snuggle up in the finest selection of cosy cabins around the world; and much more