Iceland road trip Day 4: Vagnsstaðir to Faskrudsfjordur: Hofn and the Eastern Fjords
Leaving the oft-visited Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón behind, the ring road continues to Hofn, the last town before the isolated Eastern Fjords. We took the opportunity to stock up on food in the Hofn supermarket, then followed the coast along the south-eastern corner of Iceland. Steep mountainsides descend directly into the sea, with the ring road picking its way above the cliffs and past gravel beaches.
Having previously skipped the puffin watching destination of Heimaey, we spotted a poster at the Vagnsstaðir hostel for boat trips to the small, puffin-inhabited, island of Papey from Djupivogur harbour (details here), so planned to arrive there in time for the daily 1pm departure. Timeliness, however, was not our strong point, and it was only midway through a leisurely lunch overlooking the sea that we realised we had left it too late to get to Djupivogur for the trip. There was a biting cold north-Atlantic wind, so perhaps it was a blessing not to be out in a small boat, but puffins were not to feature today afterall.
After the fjord north of Djupivogur, the Highway 1 ring road heads inland and we opted to stick to the coast on the more minor road 96. Winding in and out, along the sides of the fjords, the 96 took us to Faskrudsfjordur. While light on 'attractions', this stretch of coast is certainly dramatic, and still had snow on the mountain tops towering up above the road.
Hotel Bjarg provided a comfortable overnight stop and its friendly owner was a great host. Faskrudsfjordur doesn't have a wealth of eateries to choose from, so we drove out along the fjord a little further and had an evening picnic by the ocean. Not a single car passed in the hour we were parked there; it's definitely a place for people who embrace the quiet life.