#forest

 

Mjóifjörður (The Narrow Fjord), is 18 km long and quite remote, even according to Icelandic standards. It is only possible to get there by car along a (not so good) gravel road during the summer; during winter, you can only get there by boat. Still, this isolated – and narrow – fjord clamped between high precipitous mountains between Norðfjörður and Seyðisfjörði is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, both Icelandic and foreign. And, it has a lot to offer.

Smjörvogur once served as a prison for Iceland

During the ages, there has been quite a lot going on in Mjóifjörður. The small inlet of Smjörvogur once served as a prison. With no way in and now way out without help it probably had an Alcatraz-ish feel about it. And what do you know, didn't this remote, isolated, narrow fjord once pride itself in having the largest whaling station in the world. It was built around 1900 at Aske by the Norwegians who hired 200 workers for the operation. Today there are only 40 inhabitants in Mjóifjörður, most of them living in Brekkuþorp, which claims to be the smallest village in Iceland.

A quite and beautiful place, ideal for relaxation

If truth be told, Mjóifjörður is an exceptionally beautiful and tranquil area. It has the impressive Prestagil (The Priest's Ravine) and the Hofsárgljúfur Canyon with delightful rivers and waterfalls. You will find spectacular cliffs – and due to the fjord's still weather it has lush hills and exceptionally rich flora lining its shores.

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
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Below is the location of Mjóifjörður on the map of Iceland

Mjóifjörður (The Narrow Fjord), is 18 km long and quite remote, even according to Icelandic standards.

 

In addition to elves, little people, trolls, ghosts and other unworldly creatures, Icelanders, of course, have a sea-monsters. Just like its neighboring Scotland has the Loch Ness monster, Iceland has the tongue-twisting Lagarfljótsormurinn. It has always been there, in Lake Lögurinn, or Lagarfljót. Even the Vikings were terrified. The monster has been a source of endless tales, verses, and rhymes across the centuries and was last sighted by a local farmer in 2012.

Located in the beautiful Fljótsdalshérað

The lake is located in Fljótsdalshérð with both Egilsstaðir town and the Hallmormsstaðaskógur forest on its banks. Its surface measures 53 square km, and it is 25 km long. The lake has a curiously brown color as the glacial river; Lagarfljót runs through it all the way from the majestic Vatnajökull ice cap in the south. If you drive over the mountain, pass Fjarðarheiði to Seyðisfjörður you can get an excellent view of the large lake. If you want to spent time on trying to spot the sea-monster a location by the bank of the lake is recommended.

Changes after the Kárahnúkar dam was built

The lake used to be good for laying nets for fishing, but angling has never been possible there. The reason is, of course, the limited visibility in the gray glacial waters. Then in the last quarter of the 20th century, the fish disappeared altogether after the Kárahnjúkar dam was built changing the river's ecology forever.  But, not all inhabitants of the animal kingdom were deterred. Further downriver, by the estuary, you will find seal breeding grounds and a short distance away you might even be able to spot whales frolicking in the sea. 

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Below is the location of Lagarfljót on the map of Iceland

The lake is located in Fljótsdalshérð with both Egilsstaðir town and the Hallmormsstaðaskógur forest on its banks.

 

One of the visitors to Iceland during the settlement era, over 1100 years ago, claimed the island to be covered in lush forest. His claim has always been mind-boggling to the Icelanders who can't help but wonder what happened to their trees. Some say the wind swept them away. Others claim the "bloody" sheep gnawed them away with the farmers turning their livestock into game roaming heaths and moors and mountains all summer long.

After our trees had disappeared a new plan was implemented

Whatever the reason, at the turn of the 19th century, trees were practically extinct in Iceland. So, a plan was launched. Forestation became the new rave. Trees were planted in crucial locations. One of them was Hallormsstaður.  It all started in 1899 when the Parliament passed a law aimed at protecting what little was left of forest in the area. The locals were instructed to shape up and plant trees. Today Hallormsstaðaskógur forest covers 760 hectares and is the largest forest in Iceland.

A great location for a forest

Hallormsstaðaskógur is perfectly located a little south of the town of Egilsstaðir. The climate in the area is quite fortunate. It is breezy rather than windy. Summers are usually warmer and sunnier than for the rest of the island. During winter, the snow covers the entire flora, sheltering the roots from any frost-damage.  Hollormstaðaskógur is a wonderful place to visit with many interesting hiking trails and a great camping site.  Here you can also see many samples of trees that grow in Iceland.

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Hallormstaðarskógur on the map of Iceland

Today Hallormsstaðaskógur forest covers 760 hectares and is the largest forest in Iceland.