The northeastern region of Iceland, beyond Vopnafjörður, is often forgotten by tourists. Discover this wild side of Iceland with a very photogenic coastline, a place with some truly beautiful hiking trails like the Fuglabjagarnes trail.
The entire north-east coastline is a truly wild place, the dark beach sand strewn with driftwood straight from the forests of Siberia. These shores are sometimes impressively steep, with surprising basalt formations rising up out of the sea, as you can see along the Raudanes hiking trail.
The region is not very touristy, and even in the middle of summer you're likely to have the place to yourself while hiking. As for the wildlife, you can't miss all the sheep in the green meadows and on the shores of Fuglabjagarnes's beaches. There is also a huge population of birds: Arctic terns, of course, but also seagulls, fulmars, cormorants, and magpies.
Getting to Fuglabjagarnes is quite simple. From Vopnafjörður, take Road 85 north for 10 km before turning right onto the 913 towards the coast and Strandhöfn. Continue down the small dirt road for about 4 km until you find the small Fuglabjagarnes car park on the right (marked Hiking Trail 178).
The light is superb in Fuglabjagarnes, whether it's the pale early morning for travelers staying overnight in Vopnafjörður or in the warm tones of evening. In summer, the sun hides behind the Steinsöxl and Fuglabjagahaeðir mountains, stretching the day out with magnificent crepuscule colors.
The hike itself is very easy-going, a family-friendly affair. It takes about 1.5 hours to complete the 5.5 km loop along the beach. The path is narrow and sometimes a bit muddy but well marked by small yellow pegs.
From the car park, it winds down to the beach for about 800 meters along the small Fugla river and to its mouth, flowing into the sea down a small waterfall just a few meters tall.
The walk continues along and then across the beach, the sand dotted with driftwood, and only the sound of Arctic terns breaking the silence. We then reach the end of Fuglabjagarnes and the sand gives way to more rocky landscapes. The small steep cliffs rising in the distance face off with the basalt columns that rise dramatically from the sea, reminiscent of those seen in Raudinupur.
Numerous birds nest in these parts and you can definitely hear them make an impressive amount of noise. At this end of the hiking loop we can see the pretty town of Vopnafjörður in the distance and the beautiful snowy mountain of Smjörfjöll on the horizon.
The road back passes through meadows that sometimes get a bit swampy before heading back to the beach. You'll then get a chance to spot the impressive herd of sheep living in the Fuglabjagarnes meadows before arriving at the car park.