Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest | The Largest Forest in Iceland


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  • Hallormsstaðaskógur is the largest national forest of Iceland.

Hallormsstaðaskógur is another gem from the wonder bag known as Iceland. Hallormsstaðaskógur is the largest national forest of Iceland, situated in East Iceland in the vicinity of Egilsstaðir. The forest stands on a massive area with trees covering 740 square kilometers. The forest is known for its hiking trails, collection of tree species, and beautiful wildlife. Since 1905, it has been a preserved site. The cultivation on a large scale began around 1950. Hallormsstaðaskógur is a natural lush forest that looks calm and serene. A nursing station was built at the beginning of the twentieth century where experiments were conducted that led to the planting of foreign tree species.

cabin in Hallormsstaðaskógur forest in East Iceland

Only 2% of the land of the country is covered with forest area. Iceland is one of the least forested countries on the continent. This makes Hallormsstaðaskógur forest a spectacle to experience. Around the time of settlement, the Vikings wiped out most of the forest land to create fuel. The citizens are becoming increasingly aware of forestation. The reforestation service of Iceland maintains 53 patches of public access land where trees are grown and cared for. Hallormsstaðaskógur is evidence of their success.

Hallormsstaðaskógur forest and Lake Lagarfljot in East Iceland

Getting to Know Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest

There are about 67 foreign tree species inside the lush forest in a unique arboretum. These tree species have arrived from 177 foreign locations. Most commonly found tree species include native dwarf birch and mountain birch. Enriched with flora and fauna, Hallormsstaðaskógur hosts many vibrant bird species. Redpolls, Goldcrests, and Ravens can be seen adorning the forest. These species safely nest here away from predators. In the summer months, the bird community is joined by red wings, snipes, and meadow pipits. To everyone’s amazement, the streams found inside the forest have perfectly drinkable spring water. Guttormslundur grove is the oldest larch grove in Hallormsstaðaskógur forest which dates back to 1938. The grove is named after Guttormur Pálsson, an Icelandic ranger.

Those interested in botany will find multiple things of interest in the Hallormsstaðaskógur forest. This is a great place for children, students, and researchers.

Hallormsstaðaskógur forest in East Iceland

Things to Do in the Forest

There are such beautiful hiking trails inside the forest that further add to the excitement of the trip. One of the hiking trails will take you to the beautiful waterfall Ljósárfoss. The waterfall is also known as Selfoss in the Ljósá River. Beautiful Atlavík cove is also there in Hallormsstaðaskógur woodland and is a favorite among locals. 

Skógardagurinn or Forest Day is celebrated in the forest in the month of June. Forest day is hosted on the weekend. Those who take part in it enjoy accordion music, active festivities, and competitions between the birch trees. You can relish on delicious local food such as grilled lamb by local farmers. There are art exhibitions, logging competitions, and even mini-marathons. This festival provides a good opportunity to learn about the country’s culture and less-visited areas. Skógardagurinn is also great to visit with children as there are many exciting activities and learning opportunities for them.

Hallormsstaðaskógur also consists of two camping sites. One of them is Atlavík, which is located in the inner-forest inside a tree cover. The other one is Höfðavík which provides a higher standard of service for visitors.

Hallormsstaðaskógur forest in East Iceland

Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest on a map

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