Have you heard the joke about Icelandic forests? It is a saying that if you get lost in an Icelandic forest, just stand up to find your way out. Well, this joke is pretty much true and does apply for typical Icelandic forests – with one exception, Hallormsstadur Forest.
Hallormsstaður National Forest is considered to be Iceland’s largest forest and is located 25 km from Egilsstadir. It covers an area of 740 hectors, around 70% native birch, and 30% imported trees of various species. The forest is beautiful with numerous large trees, earthy smells and picturesque sights.
Since 1905, the forest has been the site of large-scale trials of exotic species, however in 1938, the first Larch was planted, demonstrating that wood cultivation was possible in Iceland. In late summer the area is full of berries and mushrooms ready to be picked.
The forest is a popular recreational area featuring over 40 km of marked hiking trails and a unique arboretum that represents over 80 tree species from northern countries. It offers several other activities whilst there, aside from the hikes and bird-watching. For example, you can rent a horse and go horseback riding in the forest. There are two campsites in the forest, the more famous of the two being Atlavík, a favorite among travelling Icelanders.
As the forest lies on the banks of Lagarfljót river, there are beaches at the edge of the forest where you can rent boats or just frolic water. Around summer solstice, the National Forest Day is celebrated in the forest with food and fun for the family.