A s has often been mentioned here it is terribly sad how many of tourists visiting Iceland stay only long enough to visit the well publicized places and then leave none the wiser. Sad because this place is a mecca of natural beauty along with vastness and stillness not found in many spots on the planet anymore.
You may shrug and roll your eyes when hearing about vastness and stillness but as we have also written about before, almost without exception that is what travelers to this place remember most vividly when returning home. Most of us are so used to noise and the rather cramped space in large cities many have absolutely no idea what peace and quiet really feels like.
Now, those particular resources are certainly under threat in Iceland as more and more tourists roll in and if all the plans about more hotels, roads, dams and drains in the years ahead become reality there will be a scarcity of both vastness and stillness in just a decade or so.
Peace and quiet is something you will find most often in abundance on the five islands we are recommending. Islands that may not blow your mind from afar but their main attraction is not just being small and cuddly islands but what they give those that take it slow, lie down to soak it all up and get rewarded by hearing grass grow for the first time ever.
VIDEY As easily seen on the pic Videy island is quite the oasis in Reykjavik city. Perhaps not completely void of some noise from across the small strait and once in awhile large cruise ships float by but most often a real treat. Treat because you need to take a boat-ride to get here and locals either do not have the time or the will. The place is empty most days of the year. You may actually know Videy from pictures already. This is the site of Yoko Ono´s Peace tower in remembrance of the late John Lennon. It lights up in wintertime creating quite a column of light straight into the dark sky. There are only four buildings here, two of which are steeped in local history. One especially, Videy House, and its small but lovely church are undoubtedly worth some of your time. In summertime one can also buy snacks and food here. Daily boat trips from Sundahofn harbor, five minute sailing across.
ÆDEY There are two islands, or isles, of particular interest in the waters called Isafjardardjup in the Westfjords part of Iceland. The largest one is Æðey which translates as island of eidur as the place attracts quite a number of those seabirds all year along with those lovely puffins and various other bird species. Easy and quick to get to from the mainland and apart from one farm here you´ll also find a lighthouse dotting the landscape.
GRIMSEY The island of Grimsey is the home of the Arctic Circle in Iceland as it is the only place where the line marking the boundary crosses land in this country. It is also the furthest out from mainland Iceland and as a consequence the Northernmost spot in the country too. Bird life is varied here and there are people calling this place home. Flights are available from Akureyri and ferries make the crossing daily from Arskogssandur harbor close to the town of Dalvik.
PAPEY Make no mistake. Papey island is but a tiny rock but it is still our favorite of all the islands covered here. Reason being its pretty sheltered by the mountains and this is also the least visited island of those mentioned here. There are tours offered in summertime from Djupivogur village but sometimes it is possible to stay behind for a few hours. Since none do you could well have the isle to yourself. A lighthouse is here and also some old buildings. In fact, Papey was for a long time thought to be the very first place in Iceland ever settled but that theory has taken a hit lately.
FLATEY It seems small and inconsequential but Flatey islands was long ago one of the major centers in the country. One of the “countless” isles of Breidafjordur bay, the largest one and the only one with human population year round. Great church is here along with fabulously rebuilt old houses some of which are among the oldest in the country. Easy fishing here and bird life varied. Planting your ass here for a few hours will do for sights but to take it in a night here would be ideal. A guesthouse is run here in summertime if camping cramps your style. Get here by daily ferry from Stykkisholmur.