Bjarnarey (Bear Island) is situated off the headland Kollumuli between the bays Vopnafjordur and Heradsfloi in the eastern part of the country. Its name most probably is derived from an appearance of polar bears in the past. The lighthouse on the island was originally built in 1917 and renovated in 1946.
The island is well vegetated and richly fertilized by the myriad of birds nesting there.
The island was occasionally inhabited. In 1703, there lived two families on the island, altogether 10 people. Bird catching and egg picking were practiced on the island until the late 20th century. There were fishing outfits for shark and regular fish species on the island during the centuries.
East Iceland saga Trail