As towns in Iceland go the town of Egilsstadir holds its candle against the best of them. This is not to say that you will be overwhelmed by native culture or friendliness of the locals. You will not.
But there is a special kind of ambiance in the Egilsstadir air. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this town is pretty busy in summertime as it is roughly midway from Reykjavik for those driving the Ringroad. Or perhaps because it is pretty much the first real stop for those tourists coming to Iceland from the ferryport in Seydisfjordur. Then again, it could be the oozing coziness of seeing the typical farmer harvesting his crops a few meters from the local airport as if nothing was more natural.
In any case, there is really not much to keep you here for longer than filling your gas tank unless you use this as your base for exploring the many fine things you can find in the eastern part of Iceland. In which case the world is your oyster.
Egilsstadir town setting is pretty picturesque and the same goes for the neighboring miniscule town of Fellabaer across from the Lagarfljot river. Lagarfljot itself is a stuff of legends in Iceland. It is one of the longest rivers in Iceland, 140 kilometres in length, and has its origins in Vatnajokull glacier. But it´s not size that matters here but the fact that the only lake monster ever recorded in Icelandic history lives in Lagarfljot. It is known as the Lagarfljot worm and the Total Iceland team firmly believes it is still alive and kicking… or worming in this case.
Noteworthy things in Egilsstadir itself is the town church which stands tall on a small hill and can be seen from afar. A big rock next to the church is known as Galgaklettur, Hanging Rock, and was the place of some executions when that was the trend in town a few centuries ago.
Just east of the town is the river of Eyvindará, River of Eyvindur, which is a really nice place to let your hair down if you still have it. When the weather allows in summertime some brave local kids use the old abandoned bridge across to dive into the river from a height of twelve metres. It is refreshingly cold and wonderful and clear as the bluest skies. It is also possible to fish here.
There is only one museum in town. Minjasafn Austurlands, The East Iceland Heritage Museum, showcases Icelandic traditions from earlier times. It is fine if you have the slightest interest in old Icelandic stuff but its not gonna kickstart your sex life in any way.
There are two decent hotels to be found here year round (see map). Hotel Egilsstadir has seen better days and Icelandair owns the Hotel Herad which is much closer to Egilsstadir central. One more, Edda Hotel, takes over the local college to offer “hotel” rooms but only in summertime and prices are ridiculous.
The Total Iceland team would rather recommend some of the guesthouses here for comfort and closeness to locals. Those would be Lyngás Guesthouse, Guesthouse Eyvindará, Vinland Guesthouse in the town of Fellabaer, Skipalaekur Guesthouse and most of all Guesthouse Egilsstadir which lets you lay your head in the very place where the town was founded.
Egilsstadir central is pretty much not central in any noticeable way. In fact the central is on the outskirts of the town by the Ringroad. There is little of interest there except food shops, souvenir stores and the Egilsstadir camping ground is close. Services are often limited, especially in wintertime, early spring and late fall. Service attitude is often found lacking too at a number of places here. This relates to very poor wages in the service industry and is wholly understandable but only until you have to use those services yourself.