Interesting places Central of South Iceland

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Interesting places

There are many interesting places in Árborg and Flóahreppur.
First and foremost is our local waterfall Urriðafoss which is just a short drive away from Selfoss and the route to Vík.
There are a lot of historical buildings in Árborg and Flóahreppur, which can be found in Stokkseyri, Eyrarbakki and the Selfoss area.The beautiful beach in Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki as well as the bird reserve in the area.The light house (Knarrarósviti) on the coast near Stokkseyri is always a nice place to visit. The Kaldaðarnes airfield was occupied in WWII and is full of history and deserves a visit. So everybody can find something of interest in this beautiful area. 

Ásavegur - trail

The trail Ásavegur used to be an important highway through the South of Iceland. This centuries-old man-made route would be used by people from different directions to go fishing, for example, or to collect their sheep and cattle from the mountains. Between Orrustudal and Hnaus is a marked hiking trail along the old Ásavegur trail which is about a 6 km. walk. On this trail is the highest point of Flóahreppur with breathtaking views in all directions. Information signs on Orrustudalur (The Valley of Battles), Skotmannshóll (Archer's Hill) and Mannabeinsmelur (The Human Bone Field) are located at different points during the hike. These locations are a great part of Icelandic history. Here is the stage of Flóamanna-Saga, two big battles were fought in Orrustudalur valley and from Skotmannshóll or Archer's Hill came one of the greatest bowshots in the saga

The Icelandic Farmhouse

At Austur-Meðalholt is the Icelandic Turf House exhibition and where one of Iceland's best preserved turf farms can be found. It is a great example of houses built using natural materials, a subtle and almost seamless extension of nature itself. The farmhouse tradition embodies an important element of Icelandic history and the Icelandic way of life over the centuries.

Baugstadir Creamery

The creamery was established by local farmers in 1905 and operated until 1952. Its products were butter and cheese. The Baugsstaðir creamery was powered by a water wheel and is the only one of Iceland's creameries that still retains its original equipment. A little to the west are the ruins of the creamery's storage, which was an icehouse and used to store products before they were transported to market. The creamery's main markets were in England as well as in Iceland.

Drepstokkshóll

West of the village Eyrarbakki and close to Ölfusá River is the homestead of the medieval farm Drepstokkur and birthplace of Bjarni Herjólfsson the seafarer. There is a hill called Drepstokkshóll which is believed to be where Bjarni stood when he decided to sail for America and in 985 AD he was the first European to reach the American continent. His journey was recorded in the Greenlanders Saga on the vellum pages of Flatey Book in the 14th century. His discovery influenced later explorations to America, including those of Leifur "the lucky" Eiríksson. The voyages of Icelanders to Vinland and other lands west of Greenland were known in Europe long before the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Some scholars believe Columbus' idea for his famous journey to America sprang from a visit to Iceland.

Dælarétt

Dælarétt is a centuries-old sheep pen surrounded by beautiful landscape, built from rocks of the great Þjórsárhraun lava field. Dælarétt is considered to be the oldest sheep pen in the country and has now been preserved. Close by are earthquake fissure; use caution around the fissures.

Einbúi, Oddgeirshólar

A beautiful sports and outdoor recreational area on the banks of Hvítá River. The area is owned by the Youth Association Baldur.

Ferjunes

A medieval ferry dock for crossing Þjórsá River.

Fljótshólar

Believed to be the greatest panoramic site in all of Iceland.

Flóaáveita - canals

Flóaáveitan are canals that run through the entire Flói region, from Ölfusá in the west to Þjórsá River in the east. This monumental construction consisted of 300 km long canals and 900 km of embankments. The Flói irrigation system reached over 12 thousand hectares of land and became a major transition in farming and production in the area at the time. The construction of Flói irrigation system began in 1922 and irrigation began its activities in 1927. When the irrigation was inaugurated in 1927 it was one of the greatest structures in Europe and to this day it plays an important role in transferring water between farms. Beside the sluice gate you will find an information board with more details about the Flói irrigation system. To the east of the sluice gate is a marked hiking trail along Hvítá (about 4,4 km, one way).

Gaulverjabaer church

Gaulverjabær has been a church site and manor since early settlement. Loftur Gamli from Norway was Gaulverjabær's first settler and named the place after people from Gaular in Norway, which is a province of Sogn and Fjordane. In 1930 a significant collection of 360 silver coins from the first century of Icelandic settlement was discovered at this site. The current church was built in 1909 and has now been preserved.

Hraungerdi church

Hraungerði is a church manor and former assembly site. The land once belonged to Hróðgerður the Wise, one of the first settlers and progenitor of the clan Oddverjar. The first mention of a church in Hraungerði is in Bishop Páll's records from around 1200 AD and since then there have been numerous churches built in Hraungerði. The current church, established in 1902, was designed by architect Eiríkur Gíslason from Bitra and is now preserved.

Kambur

A notorious robbery, called Kambsrán, was committed at this spot in 1827. Four men broke into the farm at night, tied up the farmer Hjörtur Jónsson as well as the members of his household and ransacked the house in search of money. They ended up stealing about 1000 state dollars. The thieves left behind some evidence and it was the famous sea captain Þuríður Einarsdóttir who finally solved the case.

Kolsgarður

Kolsgarður is a path made from turf believed to be from the 10th century. Kolur from Kolsholt made this path so he could meet a woman called Ragnheiður from Ragnheiðarstaðir since swamps were between their two farms and Kolur did not want to meet Ragnheiður all wet and muddy. To this day the path can be spotted in the landscape.

Laugardælir

Laugardælir is a small hamlet near the town of Selfoss. Laugardælir was one of Iceland's busiest ferry sites until a bridge was built across Ölfusá in Selfoss in 1891. The church at Laugardælir was built in 1965 using mainly concrete and it is 300 m2 in total. In the church cemetery is the burial site of former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer (1943-2008).

Loftsstaðir

Loftstaðir is a medieval fishing station. A great sorcerer called Galdra-Ögmundur lived there around 1600. On a hill nearby, called Loftstaðahóll, is a huge and age-old stone cairn.

Rútsstaða-Suðurkot

The birthplace of the great Icelandic artist and painter Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876-1956). He was a pioneer of Icelandic visual art and the first Icelander to become a professional painter. Ásgrímur studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen between 1900 and 1903.

Skagaás grove

Skagás is a beautiful grove in serene surroundings. It's easily accessible and open for everyone but please take care not to leave any litter behind. Barbequing is allowed only in a specially designated area due to fire hazard.

Stóri-Hellir cave in Hellisskógur

The cave was formed at a latter glacial period by sea erosion. Sea levels have been higher than now several times and signs of sea erosion can be seen on more cliffs in the area which are made of around 0, 7 - 3, 1 million year old basalt. The cave was previously used to store hay in the back and as a sheepcote in the front. It was once believed that the cave was haunted by a ghost wearing a blue scarf. The story tells of a young man who was broken hearted and hung himself in the cave using a long blue scarf.

Þingdalur

Þingdalur was formally established in the 16th century but was an assembly site ever since the settlement of Iceland and last used in 1947. Þingdalur is located inside a forest close to the farm and has beautiful panoramic views in all directions. It is also the last known residence of the ghost Kampholts-Móri; in the 18th century a young boy drowned after having been denied shelter at a farm from severe weather conditions outside. Before he died he is said to have sworn to haunt the farmer's family for 9 generations.

Eyrarbakkakirkja - church

The wooden church in Eyrarbakki was built in 1890 and one of the first churches in Iceland to have two floors. The altarpiece is a famous artifact and was painted by Queen Louise of Denmark, wife of King Christian IX.

Selfosskirkja - church

Selfoss Church was built from 1952 to 1956 and consecrated on Palm Sunday, 25 March 1956. It was designed by the headmaster of the Technical College in Selfoss, Bjarni Pálsson (1912-1987). The building was expanded between 1978 and 1984; a tower, porch and congregation hall with a kitchen and facilities, which now serve the purpose of a convention center, was added to the structure.

The coastline between Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki

The coastline between the rivers Þjórsá and Ölfusá (25 km/15 mi) forms the outskirt of the great Þjórsárhraun lava field. Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri provide easy access to the coastline as well as a path between the two villages where you can see the Atlantic Ocean and marvel at the fact the South Pole is directly to the south. This spot has a great view of both the ocean and mountains. Information signs can be found in both villages as well as an observation platform in Stokkseyri.

Thjorsarhraun

Þjórsárhraun is the result from the greatest lava flow on earth since the end of the last Ice Age. The lava came from an enormous eruption around 6700 B.C. possibly in Heljargjá canyon in the Veiðivötn region, in Iceland´s highlands. The lava's extreme temperature and fluidity contributed to its flow being at least 140 kilometres (87 mi) until it was stopped by the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean. The lava is well visible by Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki's coastline. The great Þjórsárhraun lava is approx. 975 square km (376 sq. miles) and its volume is 25 cubic km (6 cubic miles).

Knarrarósviti - lighthous

Built in 1938-1939, the lighthouse was the first one in Iceland to be built out of reinforced concrete. The lighthouse is the tallest building in South Iceland, 26,2 metres (86 feet) high. It was designed by the engineer Axel Sveinsson as a blend of functionalism and art nouveau (jugendstil).

Timburhóll - Grove

Timburhóll is a beautiful grove where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings. You could even barbecue using the barbecue facilities provided but use caution with the fire and make sure not to leave any litter. This is also a memorial site of the great Icelandic artist and painter Ásgrímur Jónsson as well as the farmers Guðfinna Guðmundsdóttir and Stefán Jasonarson.

Urridafoss Waterfall

Urriðafoss is a waterfall in Þjórsá River. Þjórsá is Iceland's longest river, 230 km, and Urriðafoss is the most voluminous waterfall in the country. This mighty river drops down (360 m3/sec) by the edge of Þjórsárhraun lava field in beautiful and serene surroundings. Þjórsárhraun lava field is the result of the greatest lava flow on earth since the Ice Age. Located right off highway 1.

Villingaholt church

A church and farm site and home to the great 17th century saga writer Jón Erlendsson; thanks to his work many of the Icelandic Sagas were preserved that would otherwise have been lost. Later the home of Jón Gestsson (1863-1945) craftsman and farmer who designed and constructed the current church in 1910-1911. The church has a tower, choir loft and seats for 100 people. A little further to the south is a hill next to the school which used to be where the church and farm were located. Due to frequent sandstorms and heavy damage from earthquakes in 1784 they were moved to the current location.

Tjorsa river

Þjórsá is the longest river in Iceland, 230 km, and has a catchment area of 8000 km². Þjórsá is a glacier river and its source is Hofsjökull glacier. On its way to the sea it falls off some cliffs in many places and there forms beautiful waterfalls. Some of these waterfalls are well-known, but some others are unknown pearls to discover, especially those in the highlands. The waterfall Thjofafoss in Thjorsá south of the hill Búrfell is well known and easy to reach.

In winter the river can gather up huge quantities of ice that had settled at its bottom and in spring, when the ice melts in Þjórsá canyons below Urriðafoss waterfall, the river breaks through the ice which is a magnificent sight to behold.

Olfusa river

The river is the most voluminous river in Iceland with the average flow of 423 m³/sec. Three large floods occurred in the 20th century and beside the restaurant Tryggvaskáli are lines that show the height of each flood. All the floods occurred during wintertime due to heavy rains and high temperatures which caused the snow to melt unusually fast. Ölfusá River is rather short, about 25 km (14 miles) long. About 6 km (4 mi) north of Selfoss are two rivers, Sogið and Hvítá, and combined they form Ölfusá.

Ölfusárbrú - suspension bridge

A suspension bridge over Ölfusá River was first built in 1891 and became the largest bridge in Iceland at the time. In September 1944, when the bridge had been in use for 53 years, the eastern bearing cables broke due to the weight of two trucks. A new suspension bridge was built in 1945 which only took five and a half months but while it was being constructed the old bridge had been fixed for temporary use. The bridge is 84 meters long and is in the town Selfoss.

Thuridar cottage

Þuríðarbúð was erected in 1949 in memory of Þuríður Einarsdóttir and old working procedures.

SELFOSS

Selfoss, pop 6.926 is the largest town in South Iceland, and the main service centre of trade and industry. The distance from the capital is 57 km. Varied options are offered, for anyone who wants to stay in this friendly town. Diverse restaurants and cafés are situated in the heart of town, along with various kind of shops. Furthermore, the town has an outdoor swimming pool with sauna and hot tubs. North of Selfoss, the woodland of Hellisskógur can be found with interesting footpaths alongside Ölfusá river. On the far side bank of that same river you can also find a nine-hole golf course. All types of accommodation is available. Further information is given at The Tourist Information Centre, located at Eyravegur 3

EYRARBAKKI

Eyrarbakki, pop 526, is a friendly village that, in earlier times, used to be the largest commercial community and the main harbor on the South Coast of Iceland. A large number of preserved houses from the period 1890-1920 are situated in Eyrarbakki and therefore a visit is like reveriting a 100 years back in time. Other popular tourist attractions are The Eyrabakka Martime Museum and the Árnessýsla Folk Museum, located at legendary "The House" in Eyrarbakki, built in 1765. A fine campsite, hostel, guesthouses and restaurant, are also in Eyrarbakki. On the rocky shoreline you can witness an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as watching the surf break. It is an ideal spot for hiking and bird watching. The Flói Bird Reserve lies northwest of Eyrabakki. It is an important nesting area, especially for wetland birds and is listed in The Bird Life International Association.

STOKKSEYRI

The small village of Stokkseyri is renowned for its beautiful seashore, breaking waves and birdlife. Rich handicraft and cultural life is held in high esteem in Stokkseyri. Workshops and galleries, a Ghost Center and the Elves, Trolls Stokkseyri, pop. 497 is a charming village which is renowned foru its beautiful seashore, breaking waves and birdlife. Rich handcraft and cultural life is held in high esteem in Stokkseyri. Workshops and galleries, Ghost Center and the Elves and Northern Lights Museum are all situated in a Cultural Center, - an old fish processing factory that has found a new role due to changes in the fishing industry. The Wildlife Museum is dedicated to hunting and wildlife, it contains a large number of mammals and birds, and the bunkhouse Þuríðarbúð shows an excellent example of how fishermen had to make use of what nature provided. Stokkseyri also offers a splendid seafood restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, kayak sailing tours and a campsite. Further east form Stokkseyri si the Knarraósviti lighthouse, whose architectural design is an interesting blend of functionalism and art nouveau.

The Flói Bird Reserve

Northwest to the town of Eyrarbakki, is a wetland area rich in birdlife. The reserve has walking paths and a bird hide, and idel spot for bird watching. The Flói Bird Reserve is listed in the Bird Life international Association.

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South Iceland

Towns & Villages

The south of Iceland has several towns and villages, each with its own style, charm and points of interest. Selfoss is the largest town and has a variety of shops, services, many restaurants and fast food places. Most towns are close to the main route, making them accessible and enjoyable.

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Map Höfn Kirkjubæjarklaustur Vík Vestmannaeyjar Hvolsvöllur Flúðir Laugarvatn Reykholt Laugarás Borg Brautarholt Hveragerði Árnes Selfoss Hella Stokkseyri Eyrarbakki Þykkvibær Þórlákshöfn