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Iceland Recap: Seydisfjordur, Eastern Fjords & Jokulsarlon

Deciding to visit the Eastern fjords of Iceland was a bit of a risky move simply because our time in Iceland was fleeting. Squeezing in the excursion was something we debated quite a bit because we knew we'd be in the car for a good chunk of two days. We both decided to go for it because we really wanted to see Seydisfjordur (where parts of Walter Mitty were filmed) and also, we wanted to drive the coastline through the fjords because we had read that they were incredible, and also, far less crowded. And so, we were off!

I will say, on our way there, we had our doubts that we made the wrong choice. We did most of the drive from Vik to Seydisfjordur after sunset, and our GPS took us on the shorter route to save time. But in actuality, this drive probably took the same amount of time as the longer option because it was a gravel road filled with pot holes and hairpin turns, and we were doing it in the pitch black night. We had to go so slow, and worried the whole time we would get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere without cell service. We got into Seydisfjordur really late and exhausted wondering if it was worth it because that stretch of road was miles of pure stress. And, we also almost hit some sheep crossing the road (don't worry, sheep were fine - it was certainly an adventure).

The next day, we woke up and got to see the town in daylight, and we knew we had made the right choice. It's a very, very small little town, but because of that, it felt special. Seydisfjordur is surrounded by mountains with a little water enclave that highlights all its beautiful architecture, including the famous Blue Church. And along all the mountains, you can see little waterfalls everywhere you look. We just walked around early that morning after such a stressful drive and were so happy we put the effort into getting there.

This was pretty much the entire town, and I loved it. 

Around the entire town, there were waterfalls in the mountains.
You could see them from everywhere and it was incredible.

I went a little crazy trying to take photos of the mini mountain waterfalls. Can you spot one?

The most famous building in Seydisfjordur - the blue church.

To add to the charm, there's only one place in town that offers breakfast, and in order to find out where that place was, you had to ask someone, or go deep into TripAdvisor forums and reviews to figure out yourself. The Hotel Aldan is the only place you can get breakfast, and it's served buffet style for about 2200ISK/$18USD. It was kind of pricey, and to be honest, it wasn't the greatest breakfast buffet we had during our trip (pretty much on par with all the free ones we had during our hotel stays), but it was free for hotel guests. But, the ambience inside the hotel was wonderful. Each table had lit taper candles, and it was just so cozy.

Just outside the main town is Gufufoss waterfall (you can see it from the road as you drive by. And as much as we loved this little waterfall, we'll always remember it as the place where I was was certain I lost my drone. I flew it up to try and get some footage of the smaller waterfalls on the sides of the mountains, and it lost connection (which never happens to me) and I completely lost site of it. Long story short, Josh had to climb up and over the waterfall (which was high), take off his boots and socks, wade through a river, just to be able to walk over to where I think I lost it. After about 20 minutes of walking around hoping for the best, he was about to give up when he found it just hanging out in the grass. Another adventure for the books!

Gufufoss waterfall. 

Josh's pants all wet from going on his drone-finding adventure. 

So many mini waterfalls!

After spending all morning in Seydisfjordur, we began our drive back down the coastline and through the Eastern fjords. This is when we were absolutely sure our efforts to get to this area of the country were completely worth it. The drive along the coastline (which we didn't do on our way there to save time), was breathtaking. I honestly wish we had one more day for this trip because we both would have spent it in one of the smaller towns in this area. There were plenty of designated pull-off areas to park your car and take in the views. The waves crashing on the shore were so powerful and fierce reminding you that this country can also be very dangerous. But seeing them was such an experience.

I can't say enough how this drive was such a highlight for me.

This was a random pull-over stop during the drive, and we loved this particular landscape.

There were smaller waterfalls like this pretty much every 10-15 along the drive. 

You will see sheep ev.ery.where. If it's something you want to experience, don't worry, you'll stumble upon them. 

I sound like a broken record, but the waves - they were huge. I wish I could have captured their scale in photos better.

We also found the cutest little orange lighthouse called Hafnarnes, and we spent quite a bit of time without anyone else around to experience the views. Every second of this drive was epic and it was one of the more memorable parts of the trip.

After an incredible drive through the Eastern side of the island, we made our way to Jokulsarlon to see the Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach. This is also where we experienced our only major disappointment during our trip. We booked a tour on a zodiac boat through the lagoon to get up close to the glacier and possibly see some wildlife. We were so excited about it because it was such a unique experience unlike anything we've had the chance to do before. When we finally arrived after driving all day, we were told it was cancelled due to high winds (which we thought was funny because we hadn't experienced any winds at all that day). So with that news, we just decided to make the best of it, and walk around the viewing areas of the lagoon, and take in the shoreline of diamond beach.

Even though our tour was cancelled, it was still pretty amazing to see chunks of glaciers floating in the waters nearby. The sun had also begun its descent for the day, making the backdrop of the sky extra beautiful. I can't even imagine how amazing the boat tour would have been, but these memories are still pretty great.

Right across the street from the Glacier Lagoon is Diamond Beach. It's also a black sand beach, and it's known for chunks of ice from glaciers washing ashore, making it look like the coast is covered in diamonds. The amount of ice pieces you can find along the shore varies, but even in the summer months, you'll see them.

You can't tell in the photos, but the waves, as per usual, were enormous. 

Our final destination for the night was back to Vik, and on the way, we stopped at a restaurant called Systrakaffi, which we both loved.

That night, we stayed right in the town of Vik, and chose the Hotel Kria. It's a newer hotel that's a bit more upscale than what we were looking to do for the night. But we still thought for the updated and modern atmosphere, it was a good price, and we decided to go for it as a nice reward for all the driving we did that day. And it was our second favorite hotel during our trip. It's home to Dranger restaurant, which is the most highly-rated dining experience in Vik (but we didn't eat there because we got in so late). And the rooms were amazing. Each room had floor to ceiling windows along one wall so you could take in the views, and we were so lucky that during our stay that night, we saw the Northern Lights for the first time. We literally just had to look out our window around 10p, and there they were. It was such an experience. This hotel also had one of the better breakfast buffets, included in the rate. Sadly, the hotel is no longer that new, and word is getting out so it's about twice the price we paid. I'm glad we got to stay when we did while it was still affordable.

The next day, we were on our way to visit a glacier and see all the waterfalls.

A full packing list is coming soon! Link will be provided once it's live.

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