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Photo credit: Music Nature / Foter / CC BY
  • (worth a trip)
  • 5-10 km
  • Easy
  • Average
  • full day
  • 3 3

Neskaupstaður - the cultural hub of East Iceland region

Besides visiting such the largest of Icelandic towns – Reykjavik and Akureyri – I must say that I also enjoyed my time in smaller towns and villages. True, they are not nearly as diverse with cultural and entertainment opportunities as the biggest cities in the country; however they also have their own charm and atmosphere which somehow feels a bit warmer and more welcoming (maybe due to relatively small amount of inhabitants). As I was visiting East Iceland, I got to spend a bit of time in Neskaupstaður which I must admit is lovely, calm yet culturally more saturated town than you could expect from it taking into account its location and size. Only until 50 years ago the only way how to access the town was by sea but now a single lane tunnel through the Oddskard mountains makes the connection much easier.


As one of the must-sees in the town I shall name The Museum House (Safnahúsið) which you will easily find in the very center of the town. The house includes various exhibitions and they are not related only to one theme. Safnahúsið is a multifunctional establishment and it incorporates maritime museum, natural history museum and art gallery. In fact, when speaking about art or famous Icelandic artists, many times you will hear Neskaupstaður mentioned in the topic because this is the hometown of Tryggvi Ólafsson – one of the most notable of Icelandic modern artists.


During the summer time Neskaupstaður becomes a hub of music events paying particular attention to heavy metal and hard rock scene. If you prefer these genres, then surely do not miss out a chance and visit Eistnaflug festival which usually takes place in July. During this season the town also hosts something that can be called “ a concert a day” so keep your eyes and ears open, and surely ask locals more about the musical events going on in the town.


Of course, you probably would also like to spend some time out in the nature. If so, certainly do some small hiking trips around the area and include Páskahellir cave and Rauðubjörg cliffs. As pretty much everywhere around Iceland, also in in Neskaupstaður you fill find great horse rental which means you can also go around on horseback.

How to get there

There are several ways how to reach Eastern Iceland. The common one is simply by going by rented or private car and you can of course chose which way to go - northern or southern. It is also possible to reach Eastern region by taking a plane from Reykjavik to Egilsstaðir.