Álftafjörður fjord a place to find relaxation
Updated: Apr 3
On some of the routes in Iceland, there aren’t many natural wonders such as waterfalls, hot springs, or glacier lagoons that you can stop by, enjoy, and photograph. On the other hand, you will find interesting mountains, rivers, streams, and valleys that make these routes quite scenic. First and foremost, these routes are pleasant drives with fascinating stops where you can enjoy spectacular surroundings rather than one particular or specific place. On this note, the Álftafjörður fjord located in the eastern region of Iceland is one such place. It opens on the Ring Road, Road Nr. 1 in Iceland, soon after you pass the fascinating Eystrahorn coming from the southern region. Interestingly, this portion of the road by the coast did not open until the eighties when it replaced an old mountain path or a dirt road in between the mountains. The fjord is a spectacular geological phenomenon, and it is most certainly a joy to drive, an ideal place to stop by for a picnic, and a great place for short relaxing hikes and photography.
Wander in the middle of a natural wonder
One could say that the fjord is a natural wonder. It is part of an old caldera that is partly underwater by the shoreline. The west side of the caldera is above sea level forming the grounds for Road Nr. 1. So when you are driving, you are actually within an old volcano. The Álftafjörður fjord and the surrounding mountains, which form spectacular peaks and valleys, constitute the oldest geological part of the island. The fjord is quite shallow with its sand bottom, sand reef, and small islands protecting it from the forces of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you can observe how the sediment that the rivers and glaciers have carried to the coastline over millions of years form the landscapes. Additionally, the shallow and often calm water in the fjord makes it a perfect resting location and living habitat for large birds such as the Icelandic Whooper Swan. This is probably the reason why the fjord is named Álftafjörður or The Whoopers Swan Fjord. Moreover, the fjord has a lowland on the south side that is perfect for a short hike. You can park your car by a short dirt road or in a small parking lot close to the small Blátjörn lake to your right and wander out toward the shore.
The calmness of nature
Here, you will most likely find the kind of peace and quiet anyone traveling to Iceland should look for—especially if you are not in a rush to visit all the natural wonders from your checklist. In this regard, Álftafjörður is more like a place to find relaxation and nourishment for the soul. Indeed, it is a vast natural wonder encased in an old volcano where you can wander around and contemplate rather than merely view and document it with one camera shot or a selfie. Although the fjord is impressively photogenic with its beautiful landscapes, it is a place more suitable for the mind in particular. Moreover, in the fjord, it is possible to spot many species of birds, wandering sheep, reindeer, and possibly arctic foxes. Overall, it is a significant contrast to the rush of any big city.
West of the fjord in the mountains surrounding the four valleys
Toward the west, at the bottom of the fjord, there are two valleys named Hofsdalur Valley and Geithelladalur Valley, and Hofsdalur Valley also splits into two other valleys. So, there is a lot to see and sense in addition to the spectacular view at the shore. Furthermore, the fjord is also surrounded by many stunning mountains, some of which are accessible and provide a better view, especially on the southern side. The mountains on the northern side are all quite high, steep, and fascinating. Indeed, it is a beautiful drive from Eystrahorn to the Hamarsfjörður fjord as you head for the spectacular drive towards the East Fjords.