Skip to content
The Women's Book Lounge
The Women's Book Lounge, established in April of 2013, is an educational museum dedicated to Icelandic female writers. The lounge's objective is to preserve written works by Icelandic women; to introduce the authors and their works in Iceland and abroad, and to make the texts and information about the authors available to the public. Opening hours: Arranged upon request. Our facebook page
Árnessýsla Heritage Museum in Eyrarbakki
The Merchants House in Eyrarbakki, was built in 1765 when Danish merchants began to overwinter in Iceland. Merchant families lived in the House for two centuries and over that period the House was the center for art and European culture in Iceland; fashion, music and litterature spreading from there throughout the country. Eyrarbakki was at that time one of the largest harbours and trading palces in the country, serving people of South-Iceland.  Very interesting exhibitons in the center of Eyrarbakki village: The Mercants House, Egg House and Kirkjubær.  Opening hours:Open every day at summers 11-18 and by arrangement.
Eyrarbakki Maritime Museum
The Maritime museum in Eyrarbakki offers a unique trip back in time, where you can see numerous items from the time when sailors, living on the south coast, rowed out to sea every day. A large twelve-rower, Farsæll, is the largest item of the museum, built 1915. Hours of Operation: May 1st - September 30th: Daily 11.00-18.00 Winter: By arrangement 
Þingvellir
Þingvellir (Icelandic "Þing": parliament, "vellir": plains) is a place in the southwest of Iceland near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area.It is famous for two reasons:As one of the most important places in Icelandic history. In the year 930 the Alþingi, one of the oldest parliamentary institutions of the world, was founded. The Alþingi met yearly, where the Lawspeaker recited the law to all of the gathered people and decided disputes as well. In the year 999 or 1000, the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After the conversion, it is said that, upon returning from the Alþingi, Þorgeir then threw his statues of the old Norse gods into the waterfall that is now named Goðafoss ("Waterfall of the Gods"). At this historical place, the independence of the Republic of Iceland was proclaimed on June 17, 1944.As a national park (since 1928) because of the special tectonic and volcanic environment. The continental drift can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which are traversing the region, the biggest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. This causes also the often measurable earthquakes in the area.Þingvellir is situated on the northern shore of Þingvallavatn, the biggest lake of Iceland. The river Öxará traverses the national park and is forming a waterfall at the Almannagjá, called Öxaráfoss Together with the waterfall Gullfoss and the Geysir of Haukadalur, Þingvellir is part of the most famous sights of Iceland, the Golden Circle.Þingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritage SiteThingvellir, 50 km (31 miles) to the east of Reykjavík, is the national shrine of Iceland. Iceland's most historic site, and one of its most beautiful places, is also part of The Golden Circle tour. The oldest existing parliament in the world first met here in AD930. The Alþing met here every year to enact laws, including the law passed in AD1000 to introduce Christianity into the island. It has always been the focal point for the country, and whenever a major event is to be celebrated, thousands of people come here. At the celebration of the 1,100th anniversary of the first settlement in 1974, more than 60,000 people packed into Thingvellir.Nearby Lögberg is the cliff overlooking the place where the Alþing (assembly) met, and speakers stood to address the gatherings from this point. Nearby is Drekkingarhylur (The Drowning Pool), where mothers of illegitimate children were drowned. It is sited in the river Öxará in Almannagjá, a lava gorge, which with the Öxarárfoss waterfall, is an impressive sight.Peningagjá (The Money Chasm) is a deep fissure filled with crystal clear spring water; people throw coins into it from the bridge that lies across. The coins give off strange reflections as they drop through the water, it is said that if you can follow the coin all the way down until it comes to rest on the bottom, your wish will come true. Scubadiving and snorkeling in wet suits are becoming increasingly popular here.There is an old church at Thingvellir. Beside the church is the national burial ground.Thingvallavatn is the largest lake in Iceland, 83sq km (32sq miles) and over 100m (328ft) deep. The only outflow from lake Thingvallavatn is the river Sog, a famous salmon river with beautiful blue water. The lake's catchment area is 90% underground and the water from the thousands of cold springs has a constant temperature of 3-4°C the whole year-round.The anglers, who use boats for their fishing, have to be careful and watch out for changes in the weather. The lake becomes a boiling pot when the wind starts blowing. The catch in the lake has always been a necessary part of the survival of the farming families on the lake. They have netted the lake traditionally for centuries. Angling permits are sold in the little shop and visitors center in the camping area or at Hotel Valholl. The catch consists of brown trout and lake char.It is said that these fish became isolated in the lake in the wake of the last ice age when the terrain rose at the south end of Þingvallavatn. These two species are a living testimony to how the evolution of species occurs in nature, as over a period of 10,000 years they have adapted themselves to various habitats in the lake. The constant, regular influx of groundwater into Lake Þingvallavatn, together with a very varied habitat, has created good conditions for fish and other life forms in the lake, to which they have adapted even more. This has resulted in the fact that both the brown trout and char in Thingvallavatn are amongst the largest to be found in the world. The trout are said to be as big as over 20 kg (max weight) and the char over 10 kg (max weight), which is at the max of both species size range.The lake is part of the Þingvellir National Park. The volcanic origin of the islands in the lake is clearly visible. The fissures around it - the famous Almannagjá is the biggest of them - indicate that here the tectonic plates of Europe and The Americas are in a conflict. In this lake, with the large quantity of sulfur and salt, the lake is extremely light and the water seems to be in less weight than other lakes.
Skálholt
Skálholtsskóli - the center for education, culture and dialogue of church and society - welcomes individuals and families as well as larger groups of different kinds for a longer or shorter stay all year round, offering housing accomodation and restaurant service.In the summer Skálholt is a much visited place for tourists of many nationalities, some only looking around for a while or staying for a good meal or a cup of coffee in the restaurant. But Skálholtsskóli is also an ideal place for meetings, conferences and similar events during the winter. Skálholt is 93 km from Reykjavík, very close to Geysir, Gullfoss, Thingvellir and other key tourist attractions.We offer excellent facilities for conferences, workshops, retreats and educational and cultural tourism. Full accommodation is provided for up to 44 people in single and double rooms with and without private bath. An adjacent camp within short walking distance (4-5 min.) can accommodate 33 people in simpler housing at lower rates. The dining hall can serve 120 people and offers, among other things, traditional Icelandic food made by recipes from the 12th century.The conference room seats 60-70 people and can be divided into three smaller rooms. Today, Skálholt is visited for the new cathedral, the tomb of bishops, the museum and thirteen century tunnel leading out to the excavations of the old bishopric and school. The Cathedral is also renowned for its Summer Music Festival starting in 1975 and attracting many skilled musicians and lots of music lovers. Besides, many choirs,  Icelandic and foreign visit Skálholt to perform in the Cathedral because of its excellent acoustics and artistic surroundings. The Skálholt Center (Skálholtsskóli) is a cultural and educational center and offers excellent facilities for seminars, conferences and cultural tourism. It is also a place for retreats, sometimes silent, during the peaceful winter time. In the summer it is becoming again a place of pilgrimage with a center of pilgrimage all year round. The Center offers accommodation and food for visitors and tourists.
Stong, Commonwealth Settlement
Some early settlers of Iceland chose the fertile valley of Thjorsádal as the site for their farmsteads. They were unaware of the fact that the tranquil-looking, snow-capped mountain towering on the south was an active volcano. In 1104, there was a massive eruption in Mt. Hekla, and In 1939 Scandinavian archaeologists excavated Stöng and revealed what was left of the smothered Saga-age farm. The findings provided fresh data about the design and construction of Viking long-houses and their evolution up to the 12th century and other valuable information about the period known as the Commonwealth.the settlement in Thjorsádal was buried under tons of volcanic debris and ash. In 1974, on the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland, architect Hordur Agustsson and a team of historians pieced together the available data and meticulously constructed a replica of Stöng at Skeljastadir, a few kilometers down the valley. The reconstructed farm is called Thjodveldisbaer (Commonwealth Farm), and is perhaps the best representation of Icelandic medieval dwelling. What is actually left of the original farm at Stöng are some stone foundations, now covered by a large protective wooden shelter. Stöng is also known for being the home of the prominent farmer and warrior Gaukur Trandilsson, who according to a brief account in Njáls Saga, was killed by Asgrimur Ellida-Grimsson, his foster-brother, in a duel of honor apparently over Gaukur's affair with a kinswoman of Grimsson. In the 19th century some old bones were discovered in a steep cliff on the north bank of Thjorsá River, further down the valley, supposed to be those of Gaukur from Stöng. The place is called Gaukshofdi (Gaukur's bluff).
Oddi church
Oddi at Rangárvellir is a historic church site, farm and vicarage. In earlier times, Oddi was one of the most important seats of chieftains and education, with Snorri Sturluson being one notable figure who grew up there. Oddi stands quite far down in the Rangárvellir region, just between Ytri- and Eystri-Rangá, with the river Þverá flowing just below Oddatorfa. Oddi was a major farm for a number of centuries and was blessed with rich pastures. The farm controlled numerous smallholdings and had enormous influence. One of the more famous pastors who served at Oddi was poet Matthías Jochumsson, author of Iceland’s National Anthem, whose poetry includes glowing descriptions of the surrounding landscape. It is believed that a church has stood at Oddi since Icelanders first adopted the Christian faith. The current church is a timber church from 1924 and seats around 100. The church was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, the State Architect of Iceland. The church was renovated, painted and decorated in 1953 by Gréta and Jón Björnsson and re-consecrated the same year. Among the most important items owned by the church are a silver chalice believed to be from around 1300, an altarpiece from 1895 showing Christ in the garden of Gethsemane and a baptismal font carved and painted by carpenter Ámundi Jónsson. During the Commonwealth Era, Oddi was the ancestral home of the Oddverjar clan, one of the most powerful family clans of the period. The most famous member of the family was Sæmundur the Learned Sigfússon. Sæmundur the Learned studied at the Black School (the Sorbonne) in Paris. He was probably one of the first Icelandic historians to write a history of the Kings of Norway, although the manuscript is now lost. The grandson of Sæmundur the Learned was Jón Loftsson, who was one of the most powerful chieftains in Iceland and was, moreover, one of the most respected of them all, the most peaceful and beloved. Jón fostered Snorri Sturluson and educated him. Six pastors serving in Oddi have become the Bishop of Iceland: Ólafur Rögnvaldsson, Björn Þorleifsson, Ólafur Gíslason, Árni Þórarinsson, Steingrímur Jónsson and Helgi G. Thordarsen. The Oddi Association (Oddafélagið) was established in 1990. One of the main objectives of the Association is to re-establish the seat of learning at Oddi in Rangárvellir. Members currently number 200, and the patron of the Association is Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former President of Iceland. The Association holds the Oddastefna (Oddi conference) each year, where numerous lectures are given on the importance and history of Oddi. The current pastor of Oddi is Elína Hrund Kristjánsdóttir.
Keldur at Rangárvellir
Keldur is a historic settlement where Jón Loftsson, the chief of the Oddaverjar clan, lived during the last years of his life. Keldur also had a Catholic monastery. There is a medieval-type turf farm at the site, the only large turf farm that has been preserved in South Iceland. There is an underground tunnel leading from the hall, thought to date from the 12th or 13th century, which was probably built as an escape during a time of conflict. Although most of the houses date from the 19th century, the oldest part of the farm building is the oldest preserved part of a turf farm in Iceland. A number of outhouses have also been preserved at the farm. There is also a church there, built by constable Guðmundur Brynjólfsson in 1875. The church is built of timber and clad with iron. The pulpit, altar and candle arms were built by Hjörtur Oddsson, joiner and farmer at Eystri-Kirkjubær. The altarpiece illustrates the Last Supper and is by Ámundi Jónsson, joiner in Syðra-Langholt. The church underwent repairs in 1956–1957. Gréta and Jón Björnsson painted and decorated the church, like they did with the church at Oddi. Keldur derives its name from the springs that can be found in the farmland. The farm and its occupants are mentioned in many works of medieval literature, including Njal’s Saga, Sturlunga Saga and the Saga of Saint Thorlákur. The old farm at Keldur is managed by the National Museum of Iceland and can be visited daily during the summer.
POWERING THE FUTURE
Landsvirkjun's energy exhibition is located in Ljósafoss Power Station, and is about a 50 minute drive from Reykjavík.  The exhiberition is intactive with an emphasis on play and experience. It offers guests a glimpse into the world of electricity as well as being introduced to the renewable and sustainable energy generation methods used by Landsvirkjun.  Open every day in the summer from 10:00-17:00, free admission. 
Artists from South Iceland
Many famous Icelandic artists come from Southern Iceland, including painter Jóhannes S. Kjarval, who was born at Efri-Ey in Meðalland, writer Þórbergur Þórðarson, born at Hali in Suðursveit, composer and cathedral organist Páll Ísólfsson, born at Símonarhús in Stokkseyri, painter Ásgrímur Jónsson, born at Rútsstaðir in Flói, sculptor Sigurjón Ólafsson, born at Eyrarbakki, sculptor Nína Sæmundsson, born in Fljótshlíð, sculptor Einar Jónsson, born at Galtafell in Hrunamannahreppur and painter Júlíana Sveinsdóttir, born in Vestmannaeyjar. The artist Erró grew up in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Hveragerði – the town of artists When Hveragerði was developing, it was a popular spot for writers, composers, painters and other artists. It was home to writers such as Gunnar Benediktsson, Helgi Sveinsson, Jóhannes úr Kötlum, Kristján frá Djúpalæk, Kristmann Guðmundsson and Valdís Halldórsdóttir, artists such as Gunnlaugur Scheving, Ríkarður Jónsson, Höskuldur Björnsson and Kristinn Pétursson and the composer Ingunn Bjarnadóttir. The artists mainly settled in three streets in the west of the village: Laufskógar was the street where the composers lived, Frumskógar was the street of the poets and the artists based themselves in Bláskógar. You can find out information on these artists at the places they lived and in the town’s park.
The Culture Map of South Iceland
The southern part of Iceland is rich in history, art and cultural events. In the local museums and exhibitions you can find information on volcanoes, glaciers and the Icelandic biological diversity, literature and poets, Icelandic seafarers‘ history and marine biology, fishing, chess, rocks, and moss, in addition to the diverse history of various towns and villages in South Iceland. Learn about environmentally friendly hydro-power plants, the practical use of geothermal energy, and get familiar with what it is like to live in a geo-thermally active area. Explore local art, architecture, or maybe drop by the last cave-dwellers of Iceland. The Culture Map of South Iceland contains an image of South Iceland and useful information about local museums and exhibitions. You can get the culture map at the local museums and exhibitions.  
The emergence of towns and villages
Skálholt – a religious and cultural centre Skálholt became an episcopal see in 1056 and became the nation’s main settlement, an honour it shared with Bessastaðir. Reykjavík was granted trading rights in 1786, but it was the establishment of Iceland’s first limited company around 1750 which laid the foundations for the development of a town. After a large earthquake in Southern Iceland in 1784, the episcopal see and the Latin school in Skálholt were closed and moved to Reykjavík several years later. The growth of other villages In the Middle Ages, when Skálholt was Iceland’s main settlement, Eyrarbakki was its main port. However, a village did not began to develop in Eyrarbakki, or indeed elsewhere in Iceland, until the 19th century. Eyrarbakki had its heyday from the mid-19th century until the first few decades of the 20th century. Eyrarbakki was one of the largest farms in Iceland and was in fact much bigger than Reykjavík, and for a time it appeared that it might become Iceland’s capital. Around the same time, a village began to develop at Stokkseyri and soon afterwards at Vík í Mýrdal and Höfn í Hornafirði, and in mid-century Þorlákshöfn. Journalist Árni Óla called Þykkvabær a thousand year old country village and it is probably one of the oldest villages in the country. Vestmannaeyjar was granted trading rights at the same time as Reykjavík, 1786.
The Icelandic Horse
Many horse lovers are particularly fond of the Icelandic horse and its attraction is such that a few erstwhile tourists have decided to establish residence here, some permanently, to pursue their interest in and dedication to this unique breed. Small herds were first brought to Iceland by the first settlers from Norway some thousand years ago. No more horses from foreign parts have been allowed on the island since that time, resulting in a truly Icelandic horse. The Icelandic horse is even tempered and hardy and renowned for its ability to master diverse gaits, notably the famous tolt. The Icelandic horse has always been a part of the culture and well into the previous century, an integral part of the workforce, utilized for transport and as a pack and draft animal. In the last few decades however, it´s primarily used for breeding and many own the horses merely for the sheer pleasure of caring for and riding such a fine specimen. There are several horse farms open to visitors and horses are available for rental through various agencies.

Other (1)

Stöng, Viking-era Long house Þjórsárdalur 801 Selfoss 847-8723