Neskaupstaður is a town in East Iceland, located in the fjord Nordfjordur, with 1500 inhabitants. When you visit this town in Reyðarfjörður, go to the Gerpir area, it’s a real paradise for hikers, kayakers, and nature lovers. The Ferðafélag Fjarðamanna association has made vital efforts to create marked trails in the area. You can find a detailed map of walks and hikes in shops or at the Gerpir tourist office.
Gerpir is in East Iceland along with the 661 meters high Gerpir mountain, the oldest mountain in Iceland. Around twelve million years old, dating back to the stone age and the discovery of basalt. This place delights geologists because it’s full of stones and majestic rocks with cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean. The areas north, south, and inland towards the west are completely uninhabited today and popular for hiking.
Beautiful Vöðlavík Creek, with its white sand beach (a rarity in Iceland!), where once farms stood is now abandoned land today, many travelers like to walk through who wish to get away from daily life. To get there, you take the track leading from Reyðarfjörður. Note that only 4×4 vehicles can take that route. Not far away, south of the mountain Gerpir, the traveler’s association east of Iceland has a hut in Karlsstaðir, it is possible to spend the night there (with reservation and payment, of course). The hut is only a few steps from the beach, and if it’s too chilly to swim in the ocean, you will find the nearby river at a more pleasant temperature.
Gerpir has some interesting tales surrounding it. Legend has it that the Creek Vöðlavík was the scene of dramatic events when a ship was stranded there in December 1993. Fortunately, everyone on board was rescued. In January 1994, during a storm, a boat trying to save another ship ran aground near the creek and one person drowned. A US military helicopter from the base at Keflavík Airport rescued the remaining crew, and later the mission was considered one of Iceland’s bravest rescue missions. That day, when the wind was incredibly strong with minimum visibility, the crew of the wrecked ship was pulled up in the US military helicopter and taken to the nearby town of Neskaupstaður. The landing took place in a parking lot in the middle of the city.
You can go to the beautiful bay of Sandvík through the neck of Sandvíkurskarð; there’s a marked path that starts from Stuðlar, that takes three hours walking. Sandvík Bay north of the Gerpir area is abandoned today, once sheltered Iceland’s easternmost settlement and is home to the famous ghost Glæsir. Also nicknamed “the elegant elephant”, Glæsir is recognizable by his clothes and neat appearance, good manners, and politeness. They say he greets everyone he meets on his way by politely removing his head as you would a hat.
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