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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Borgarfjörður eystri, Bakkagerði village in east Iceland

Updated: May 13

Bakkagerði, Borgarfjörður eystri in east Iceland
The mountains around Bakkafjörður are spectacular

Borgarfjörður Eystri is a small village in eastern Iceland. Its cluster of houses by the charming shoreline is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and stunning mountains. If you are interested in hiking and enjoying spectacular natural wonders, you should take the time to visit this village, which is one of the smallest communities in Iceland. The drive takes you through a beautiful mountain pass, Vatnsskarð Eystri, with a view of the grand mountains of Dyrfjöll. It is only an hour's drive from Egilsstaðir, a popular overnight town, if you are traveling the ring road.

Although isolated, the village was a trading place

Borgarfjörður eystri is a small village in the east part of Iceland
Borgarfjörður eystri village in east part of Iceland

Although isolated, the village was a trading center. In the late 19th century, a small trading company opened an annex,with the merchants Örum & Wollf, from the nearby village of Vopnafjörður. At the same time, another entrepreneur started a small trading establishment and a fish processing venture in Borgarfjörður Eystri. Although a tiny village, both companies remained in operation until the thirties. In the 20th century, most of the livelihood and development in the village was based on fishing and fish processing. Then, in the sixties, a herring plant was built at the end of the herring frenzy in Iceland. One might have expected that all this activity would launch growth and development, but it never amounted to much, and the village remained small and isolated. After the herring stock collapsed and disappeared, so did the economic base for the herring factory. If you visit Borgarfjörður eystri, you will notice that most houses are relatively old, and not many homes were built in the last decades of the 20th century, not to mention the 21st century.

A struggling community with limited resources

The charming village Borgarfjörður eystri
Old houses in the village Borgarfjörður eystri

Today, this community with limited resources is struggling to provide services and livelihood to the 100 residents still living in the village. The economy is still based on fishing, although tourism has provided a new basis for employment, development and optimism. The town has a small pre-school, a primary and a secondary school, a church, a community center, and essential facilities for modern living.

In addition, this tiny village offers several suitable accommodations like our favorite, Blábjörg, with its excellent restaurant. The village also has other cafés, restaurants, a gas station, and a camping site during the summer months. Thus, it offers a convenient stay for visitors.

The tiny village of Borgarfjörður eystri, remote but attractive

The altarpiece in the little church in the village Borgarfjörður eystri.
Kjarvals' paintings the altarpiece in the little church in the village.

Borgarfjörður Eystri is a remote yet attractive destination. Iceland's most renowned painter, Jóhannes Kjarval, grew up near this village in the fjord of Borgarfjörður Eystri. You can see one of Kjarvals' paintings, if you visit the little church in the village and view the altarpiece.

From the village Borgarfjörður eysri, Bakkagerði
Houses in the village Borgarfjörur eystri

Further, anyone visiting Borgarfjörður Eystri or Bakkagerði, as the village is officially named, should take time to hikethrough some of the beautiful trails in the neighborhood. Borgarfjörður Eystri and the neighboring fjords, stunning coves and beautiful mountains are a paradise for hikers during the summer months. Viknaslóðir is a collection of fascinating trails. You can actually spend days hiking the beautiful trails by the shoreline, the valleys, and the mountains with a fascinating, diverse geology. And finally, Borgarfjörður Eystri is probably one of the best places in Iceland to view and photograph the puffins.

Thus, the small village of Borgarfjörður Eystri is remote yet impressive. For anyone visiting the eastern region of Iceland, taking the 150 km loop to this village, from the continuous ring road, is definitely worth it!


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