Picture by Bjarni Thorbjornsson

Flateyjarskagi

One of the most inaccessible corners of all Iceland is the mountainous Flateyjarskagi. This peninsula stands right in front of Húsavík, across Skjáfandi bay, at its West and the remoteness of this area makes it a tempting destination. The mountains of Flateyjarskagi raise from the arctic waters up to 1200mt and the snow on the peaks never melt, not even in summer. A long, narrow and green valley, Flateyjardalur, crosses the peninsula North to South from the northeastern shores. The mountains east of the valley are called the “Bay mountains”, Víknafjöll, which steeply fall over the sea in Skjáfandi bay creating astonishing and hypnotic cliffs that seem to be shaped by an invisible hand.

South-West of Flateyjardalur is the closest town, Grenivík, situated on the western shore of Flateyjarskagi, on Eyjafjörður, few kilometers North of Laufás, where an enchanting turf-house museum shows some 500 years old pieces. At short distance is mount Kaldbakur and several more peaks, from easier to more challenging ones to climb. At the base of Flateyjarskagi, in the South, is the second largest forest of Iceland, Vaglaskógur. You might also have been told Iceland is not truly famous for wide forests. So we should maybe say Vaglaskógur is the second least small forest of Iceland.

Picture by Chris Zielecki

Grenivík is one of the points of access to Flateyjarskagi. The other one is Húsavík of course. Sailing from there to West you can land at Rauðavík, Naustavík or Eyrarvík. This last option give you the chance to make a stop in Flatey, the “Flat island” while Naustavík and Rauðavík show you the location of one of the very first settlements of Iceland thanks to the “He who travels at night”, Náttfari. Close to Rauðavík, moreover, is a very special house, white walls and red roof, built in a so steep slope which seems to start sliding down and crushing on the beach at any moment.

The peninsula is uninhabited since the second half of last century. Only few people lay their eyes on this sketch of land, rocky and lush at the same time. Make sure to be one of the few. The hiking routes and a few cabins give a great chance to experience the nature at its core in a wildly beautiful area. Some winter activities reveal an even more peaceful and lonely side of Flateyjarskagi.

How to get there and around:
If you’re coming from Akureyri, get to Grenivík following road n.1 for 20km direction East until the junction with road n.83. It will take 22km more to get to the town on a gravel road.
If you’re coming from the East (Húsavík, Mývatn,…) follow road n.1 direction West until the junction with road n.835, 18km after Goðafoss. From here it’s 30km to Grenivík. As an alternative follow road n.1 until the junction with road n.83, 32 km after Goðafoss. From the junction it’s 22km to Grenivík.
If you want to sail from Húsavík to the eastern shores of Flateyjarskagi you need to look for a boat. The whale-watching companies are a good start. The sailing will take 30 minutes to 1 hour with chances to spot whales on the way.
There are two tracks across the peninsula. One crosses Flateyjardalur from road n.835 and leads to Eyrarvík, the other one starts from road n.83, between Grenivík and Laufás, and crossing Leirdalsheiði valley leads to Hvalvafnsfjörður. Both the tracks require a 4×4 vehicle.

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Bjarni Thorbjornsson
Mid text picture by Chris Zielecki

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