In the Footsteps of the Elves - Hiking in East Iceland

The extraordinary area around the village of Bakkagerði in the fjord Borgarfjörður, one of the most remote fjords of Eastern Iceland, has become a

In the Footsteps of the Elves – Hiking in East Iceland

The extraordinary area around the village of Bakkagerði in the fjord Borgarfjörður, one of the most remote fjords of Eastern Iceland, has become a paradise for hikers. The locals have marked numerous trails for hikers in the last decade from one bay to the next.

On this coastal trekking tour you enjoy the hospitality of the locals, their extensive knowledge of the area and its interesting culture. The area has a rich folklore heritage and many of the tales are about the elves and hidden people Icelander’s have lived side by side with throughout the centuries.

You stay at the newly built Álfheimar Guesthouse in the small fishing village Bakkagerði, where you enjoy fresh locally produced food and in a good day‘s hiking in the wonderful mountains you can relax at the local spa with its steaming hot tub and sauna. All rooms with private facilities.

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Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

Minimum number of participants: 1

Maximum number of participants: 12

Private departures can be arranged upon request for groups. Please contact us for prices and further information.

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Day 1, Saturday:              Arrival

Arrival at Keflavík International Airport and transfer to your hotel in Reykjavík. Depending on the time of arrival you have the day, afternoon or evening free to your disposal.

Day 2, Sunday:                 Flight to Egilsstaðir - Borgarfjörður Valley

Transfer to Reykjavík Domestic Airport where you catch the early morning flight from Reykjavík to Egilsstaðir in the East of Iceland. At the airport in Egilsstaðir, you‘ll meet our local representative, who drives you to the Bakkagerði village in the fjord Borgarfjörður. You spend the next five nights at the locally owned Álfheimar Guesthouse.

At noon the group meets and we will start our three hours hike in the village and it’s near surroundings.  Old turf house, old fish factory turned concert house, the local fish factory, rock turned to art workshop and many further interesting stops are on our way.  At this point we’ll have a light lunch before start our hike on unmarked trails in the Borgarfjörður. From the village we take sheep trails up to Dimmidalur (“Dark Valley”) and further to Jökuldalur (“Glacier Valley”) to see their rugged, beautiful landscape, towered by the local landmark Dyrfjöll (“Door Mountains”).

Not only do we walk through the elf community of Lobbuhraun lava field, but come to their home in Dimmidalur valley. When we return to Bakkagerði village, we walk through that area, noticing its many interesting aspects and of course we visit the queen of the elves at Álfaborg (“Elve’s castle”).

Info: Rather easy day, walking about 12 km / 7.5 mi and traversing 400 m / 1300 ft. of elevation. Lunch and dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 3, Monday:               From bay to bay – Stapavík to Njarðvík

Only 15 minutes’ drive from Borgarfjörður brings us to the Unaós farm, where we start our hike along the Selfljót River towards the coast and to the Stapavík cove, a former unloading place for ships. From Stapavík we start the rather easy hike along Gönguskörð pass mainly along an old riding trail. This war the main route between Borgarfjörður and Fljótsdalshérað valley for about 1000 years or until the road we crossed Vatnsskarð mountain pass on to get from Egilsstaðir to Bakkagerði the day before was finished in 1955. We will be picked up at the Njarðvík farm by our driver and taken back to Bakkagerði.

Info: About 11 km / 6.8 mi hike and traverses approx. 400 m / 1300 ft. of elevation. Picnic lunch during the hike and dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 4, Tuesday:               East Iceland’s best-kept secret - Stórurð (Boulder Hollow)

From Vatnsskarð pass (431 m / 1414 ft. a.s.l.), we start today’s hike by crossing the mountain Geldingafjall (640 m / 2100 ft.) and then continuing inland west of Súlur peaks. From there we have an excellent view over Njarðvík, Fljótsdalshérað valley, the black sand coastline of Héraðsflói bay and on a good day even to the eastern part of the central highlands with Europe’s largest glacier and the Mount Snæfell.

From there we walk down to the Stórurð area, an expanse of enormous rocks intersected by a small river. Calm turquoise- coloured basins of icy water lie hidden among the boulders, often with flat banks of short tender, green grass. Returning from this mysterious place, we can choose between the hiking route along the Dyrfjöll (“Door Mountains”) or the easy way down the valley below the Rjúpnafell peak.

Info: A somewhat difficult hike because of gravelly areas and screes on about 15% on the way. Approx. 16 km / 9.9 mi. Traverses 500 m / 1640 ft. of elevation. Picnic lunch during the hike and dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 5, Wednesday:  Beauties of Breiðavík

A driver takes us to Afrétt, where we begin our easy hike over moors and gravelly ground, including the light brown rhyolite around Lake Urðhólavatn and further on to Lake Area Gæsavötn and Víknaheiði, before reaching the Breiðavík inlet. The Rhyolite Mountains along the way display an incredible range of pastel colours. After a short stop on the black sands of the Breiðavík beach with its Siberian driftwood, we hike up to Gagnheiði ridge (479 m / 1571 ft.), which has a viewpoint indicator and a fantastic panoramic view. Then it’s back to Bakkagerði after an eventful day with wide views over many of the area’s amazing mountains.

Info: Easy hike of about 15 km / 9.3 mi. Traverses 400 m / 1300 ft. of elevation. Picnic lunch during the hike and dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 6, Thursday:   Brúnavík Bay

We start the day after the transport to Borgarfjörður’s harbour, Hafnarhólmi, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag Eco Label for Beaches and Marinas. Here we have a great opportunity to get close to the rare Puffins and other birds that nest here (June – Mid-August).

From here we hike up from the coast through vegetated mountain screes to the Brúnavík pass at 345 m / 1130 ft. a.s.l. and further down to Brúnavík inlet.

There we visit another black sand beach, where lots of beautiful minerals and pebbles can be found. After taking of shoes off to ford a small stream we enjoy a barefooted walk to the other end of the beach. On our way back we hike over Hofstrandarskarð pass (321 m / 1053 ft.) and walk beside the colourful Helgárgil canyon towards Bakkagerði village.

Afterwards we drive back to Egilsstaðir to catch the evening flight back to Reykjavík. Transfer to your hotel in Reykjavík for an overnight stay.

Info: Rather easy, hiking about 16 km / 9.9 mi. and traversing 700 m / 2296 ft. of elevation. Picnic lunch during the hike.

Day 7, Friday:  Departure

Transfer to Keflavík International Airport or prolong your stay in Reykjavík Information upon request.


- 6 nights including breakfast. Rooms with private facilities.
- Full board from day lunch two to dinner on day six. In Reykjavík only breakfast.
- Return airport transfers to Keflavík International Airport.
- Return airport transfers to Reykjavík Domestic Airport.
- A local professional English speaking guide from day two till day six.
- Entrance fees on the guided walk through Bakkagerði on day two.
- Transfers as described.
- VAT & Lodging Tax. 


Further information about flights, accommodation and rental cars available upon request.

Online Booking


Esja Travel

Bæjarhraun 2  |  220 Hafnarfjörður  |  Iceland  |  Tel: +354 560 2020  |  |  Id-Number: 550604-2050

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