Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Local Recommendations

Visit East Iceland's lake monsters and forests

By Sara McMahon

  • Ívar Ingimarsson is the owner of Birta and Olga Guesthouse and a former professional football player. He recommends people go monster hunting with their children in lake Lagarfljót. Photo/Ívar Ingimarsson

  • Lagarfljót lake in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland. Photo/VIlhelm Gunnarsson

Ívar Ingimarsson is the owner of Birta and Olga Guesthouse and a former professional football player who played for eight years with English Championship team Reading. He now lives in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland, with his wife, Hrefna D. Arnardóttir, their two children, Íris Ósk (8 years old) and Víðir Freyr (10 years old) and the family cat Lilly.


What is your favourite restaurant in Egilsstaðir:
“We are lucky in Egilsstaðir to have a number of good restaurants. Café Nilsen is cosy and surrounded by trees, Egilsstaðir Guesthouse and Icelandair Hotel both have very good restaurants. But my favourite restaurant right now is Salt café and bistro. My son told me the other day when we were having lunch there that it was the best restaurant in East Iceland, so I have to go with that.”

Describe the perfect Sunday-drive from the town:
“Egilsstaðir is centrally located so we are spoiled for choice; one of my favourite Sunday drives is a trip to Borgarfjördur (71 km) to look at the puffins and have the fish soup at Álfakaffi.
“Another is a drive down to my hometown of Stöðvarfjörður (73 km) to visit Petra’s Stone Museum. I recommend you grab yourself a cup of coffee and wander through the garden to look at all the different rocks and plants.”

Mention three things people should absolutely not miss when visiting the area:
“Drive up to the top of Fjarðarheiði mountain road and enjoy the panoramic view of the nearby lake and its surroundings.
“Try the lamb-burger or the local beef straight from the farm at Guesthouse Egilsstaðir.
“Walk up to Hengifoss waterfall, the second highest waterfall in Iceland.”

 What would you do for a fun night out in Egilsstaðir:
“Start the evening off with some drinks at the Icelandair hotel bar and mingle with the locals before you attend one of many events held at the local culture centre, Sláturhúsið. They host some good live concerts and shows.”

 What would you recommend for those travelling with children to see/do?
“I would tell them the story about the lake monster that lives in Lagarfljót lake (the story can be found at the information centre in town). Then I’d take them for a drive around the lake and let them use the camera to snap a picture of it. After trying to find the monster I would head to the local swimming pool and let the children play a bit more while the parents relax in the hot tub.”

What’s the best place for some peace and quiet? 
“Take a walk in Selskógur forest, an outdoor area just at the edge of the town. It only takes ten minutes to walk there. The forest is mainly birch and has 3 kilometre long trails market with woodchips, that weave through the forests. Part of the trail runs next to Eyvindará, a beautiful peaceful river. If you want to go a bit further from town (15 minutes by car) then visit Hallormsstaðarskógur, Iceland’s largest forest, and experience the magic of it.”

 Below is a video of the lake monster:

Iceland's Loch Ness Monster, The Worm Monster Caught on Camera, by worldmediaus


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