Not only has the weather this summer been WAY better in the eastern fjords of Iceland than in southwestern Reykjavik, but the east has tons to offer curious travelers. Here's a few villages, hikes and local peculiarities to consider.
You will definitely drive though Egilsstaðir at some point on your trip, the eastern "capital" of Iceland with a booming population of 2300. Although the town has lots to offer, you should make your way to the idyllic fishing villages towards the coast, like Seyðisfjörður and Stöðvarfjörður. Don't miss them just because they're not on the main road. That being said, Egilsstaðir does sport Iceland's biggest forest and a lovely lake. If you feel like camping, you could check out Atlavík campsite or others nearby. Since you're in town you might as well try the local reindeer, every resident's favorite delicacy.
From there it gets much better. Outdoorsy visitors will want to consider making their way to eastern Borgarfjörður, not to be confused with a western town by the same name, and hike to see the scenic bouldery region of Stórurð. A day in the area, and you will want to use a whole day, is your scenic all-in-one. Mountains, meadows, ponds, and big ol' boulders all around.
For the dedicated outdoorsmen...
More dedicated outdoorsmen will dare explore the northeastern part of Iceland's central highlands. Amongst other beauties you will find is a hot waterfall heating a natural pool, where hikers can enjoy a soak under the highland sun. The journey is a bit more complicated than your average hike, and you will need a 4x4 vehicle to get there. Further north, Dettifoss waterfall is a well-known must-see.
...or the artsy types
The beforementioned Stöðvarfjörður is only one of our favorite coastal villages in the area, but all of them have their charm. Geology enthusiasts on their way through town might be interested in the quirky little stone museum in the town, founded by local stone collector Petra and her eighty years of obsessive stone collecting. If you are feeling artsy, you will also want to see if the Fish Factory has anything going on. Once an abandoned factory, it's now a creative center with artists in residence, workshops, and concerts.
Seyðisfjörður, again, is another one of the east's super cute towns, with nice little hikes and waterfalls all around. It's nestled within mountains so once you've driven down the fjord and into town, you will hardly see the horizon. If this feels claustrophobic to you, you can get a kayak tour to sneak a peak of the horizon as you row out of town. It's also one of Iceland's most artistic villages, with art festivals, outside sculptures and the east's center for visual arts all in one place.