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HELLA

Inhabitants in Rangárþing ytra (westen Rangárþing) are 1526 (year 2016). The borders of the district are by Ásahreppur district, from the river Þjórsá in the west, to the glacier Vatnajökull in the north. The south borders are from the glacier Mýrdaljökull to the river Eystri-Rangá. In Rangárþing ytra are extensive agricultural productions. In the area you can find many well known nature resources and historical places for example Hekla, Landmannalaugar and the sagatrail of Njáls saga. The district's most populated area is the town Hella with 823 inhabitants(year 2016). Hella's primary businesses are service for the agriculture, inhabitants and the tourism industry. At Hella you can find, a bank, a post office, a tourist information center, a hotel, guesthouses, camping sites, restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, a healthcare center, a sport center, a swimming pool, primary school, car services, rescue team, gas stations and other businesses and public services.

HELLA
GPS Points N63° 50' 7.814" W20° 23' 55.323"
Postal codes

850,851

Travel directory for HELLA

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Þjóðólfshagi
Day Tours
  • Þjóðólfshagi 1
  • 851 Hella
  • 898-3038
Buggy X-Treme
Day Tours
  • Fossalda 1
  • 850 Hella
  • 772-9922
Hekla Center
Hotels
  • Leirubakki
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8700, 893-5046
Hella Horse Rental
Day Tours
  • Gaddstaðaflatir
  • 850 Hella
  • 8645950
Horsetravel.is
Horse Activities
  • Hrólfsstaðahellir
  • 851 Hella
  • 862-8101
Toptours / Erlingur Gíslason
Day Tours
  • Þrúðvangur 36a
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5530, 861-1662
Hraun Hestar, Landmannalaugar Riding Tours
Horse Activities
  • Lýtingsstaðir
  • 851 Hella
  • 868-5577
Hotel Leirubakki
Hotels
  • Landsveit
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8700, 893-5046
Sagnagarður Visitor Centre
Museums
  • Gunnarsholt
  • 851 Hella
  • 488-3000
Hella Golf Club
Golf Courses
  • Strönd
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8208
MudShark.is
Day Tours
  • Freyvangur 22
  • 850 Hella
  • 6911849
Íslenskar hestaferðir ehf.
Travel Agency
  • Ás 1
  • 851 Hella
  • 897-3064

Others

Millhouse Riverbank
Guesthouses
  • Við Rangá
  • 851 Hella
  • 775-1333
Gaddstaðaflatir Camping Ground
Camping
  • Gaddastaðaflatir
  • 850 Hella
  • 776-0030
Laugaland Camping Side
Camping
  • Laugaland í Holtum
  • 851 Hella
  • 895-6543, 895-6543
Welcome Riverside Guesthouse
Apartments
  • Þrúðvangur 34
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-1212
Hotel Leirubakki
Hotels
  • Landsveit
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8700, 893-5046
Hotel Hella
Hotels
  • Þrúðvangur 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 4874800
Welcome Riverside Guesthouse
Apartments
  • Þrúðvangur 37
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-1212
Welcome Riverside Guesthouse
Apartments
  • Þrúðvangur 32
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-1212
Kanslarinn
Hotels
  • Dynskálum 10c
  • 850 Hella
  • 4875100
Hotel Selið
Hotels
  • Stokkalæk
  • 851 Hella
  • 8473533
Skinnhúfa
Cottages
  • Skinnhúfa
  • 851 Hella
  • 862-5555
Mið-Sel
Cottages
  • Mið-Sel
  • 851 Hella
Midholl Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Miðhóll
  • 851 Hella
  • 898-5828
Álfasteinn Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Þjóðólfshagi 25
  • 851 Hella
  • 772-8304
Loa's Nest
Guesthouses
  • Árbæjarvegur 271
  • 851 Hella
  • 8949151
Panorama Glass Lodge
Cottages
  • Austurkrókur L6B
  • 851 Hella
  • 7688821
Árhús
Guesthouses
  • Rangárbakkar 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 4875577
Afternoon Cottages
Cottages
  • Svínhagi SH-16
  • 851 Hella
  • 694-2717
Kaldbakur
Guesthouses
  • Kaldbakur
  • 851 Hella
  • 8621957
Hekla Center
Hotels
  • Leirubakki
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8700, 893-5046
Fagrabrekka
Guesthouses
  • Syðri-Rauðilækur
  • 851 Hella
  • 6966004, 487-5051
Snotra House
Guesthouses
  • Ásvegur 3
  • 851 Hella
  • 853-4600

Others

Almar Bakery
Cafés
  • Suðurlandsvegur
  • 850 Hella
  • 483-1919
Árhús
Guesthouses
  • Rangárbakkar 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 4875577
The icelandic chicken
Farm food direct
  • Landnámshænsnasetrið, Þykkvabæ
  • 851 Hella
  • 581-3348, 861-3348
Kaldbakur
Guesthouses
  • Kaldbakur
  • 851 Hella
  • 8621957
Kanslarinn
Hotels
  • Dynskálum 10c
  • 850 Hella
  • 4875100
Hotel Hella
Hotels
  • Þrúðvangur 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 4874800
Hotel Leirubakki
Hotels
  • Landsveit
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8700, 893-5046
Olis - Service Station
Diners
  • Þrúðvangur 2
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5180, 840-1806
Nature
Þjófafoss waterfall

Þjófafoss is in the river Þjórsá, to the east of Merkurhraun lava field. The name of the waterfall translates as "thieves' waterfall", as thieves used to be executed by drowning in its pool. The waterfall is one of the three main waterfalls in Þjórsá. The Þjórsá river forms the boundary between Rangárvallasýsla and Árnessýsla and is the longest river in Iceland.

Þjófafoss is to the south of Búrfell mountain, not far from the Búrfell Power Plant and somewhat lower down from Tröllkonuhlaup in Þjórsá. The flowrate in Þjófafoss is rather low during winter but greater during the summer. This is due to the power plants on the river, as a large proportion of the water is diverted past the falls. The river is dammed at Sultartangi, forming the Sultartangalón reservoir. The water is first channelled through Sultartangi Power Plant and then into the Bjarnarlón reservoir and through the Búrfell Power Plant. As a result, it is first and foremost when the Sultartangalón reservoir is full in late summer that the excess water can flow over Þjófafoss.

With the construction of the Búrfell Power Plant 2, water flow over Þjófafoss have decrease even more, both during summer and winter.

History and Culture
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.

Nature
Self guided walk in Hella

The archaeology app takes you on a self-guided tour in the village of Hella. Hella does not have a very long history but there has been a farm, Gaddstaðir, at Hella for few decades. The first inhabitant to move to Hella which didn 't have the goal to be a farmer was Þorsteinn Björnsson. He moved in in 1927, he opened a store which he named Hella. From that moment that village started to develop and the name Hella grew to the village. The app will take you for an approximately 1 1/2 hour walk around the village where you will get to know a lot more. To download the "wapp" app search in app store or google play, it's free.

Nature
Fossabrekkur

The uppermost falls in Ytri-Rangá river are called Fossabrekkur. The falls are just below the western source of the river just after entering the common land of the Landmannaafréttur. Fossabrekkur are a fertile oasis in the barren pumice landscape. It is necessary to drive to the location to see this gem, as it is well hidden. Fossabrekkur is a unique and beautiful location where the western arm of Ytri-Rangá fall off the rocks into the eastern arm and runs thereafter in a single channel almost all the way to the sea.

History and Culture
Strönd at Rangárvellir

Strönd at Rangárvellur is now best known for its 18-hole golf course, run by the Hella Golf Club, but there is also an excellent restaurant there, located in the golf club's club house. The restaurant is open to the public year-round, where the emphasis is on local produce.

The Hella Golf Club moved to Strönd in 1972 after operating for two decades at Gaddstaðaflatir at Hella. Since then, the club has put much work into improving and expanding the area, and it is now one of Iceland's best golf courses.

Strönd has a much longer history, however, and from 1933 to 1970, a boarding school for the district was located there. Strönd was also the district assembly site for Rangárvellir and had a post office, central telephone office and an assembly hall, where many of the district's biggest events were held.

Nature
Veidivotn Lakes

Veidivötn Lakes are a magnificent highland oasis. They are a friend in the desert, which no one should miss. The crater formations here are of a true extrarterrestrial character and environment something truly unique. The contrast between black sand and gin clear waters is very unique and many travelers find this to be the highlight of their visit.

This part of the country is among the youngest (1477) and wildest pearls of the central highlands. It comprises about 50 lakes of different sizes, most of which are so-called crater lakes. The area is about 20 km long and 5 km wide and has a southwest - northeast direction. The craters and the lakes lie in two rows. You have to ford the small river between the two Fossvotn lakes to get into the area. Most of the lakes are fed and discharged underground because the lava fields and the scoria are very permeable.

Some of the very best brown trout & arctic char fishing in Iceland (or anywhere) is found here. The lakes are rich in natural trout that are believed to be from one of the oldest stocks in Europe. They vary in size, 3-6 pounders being common, but they can occasionally reach up to incredible 25 lbs in size. They are known for their excellent taste, which many say is naturally spiced. Inquire about fishing here well in advance as the area is usually heavily booked.

The road from Veidivötn continues north to Jökulheimar on the west of Tungnaarjökull, one of the valley glaciers that "flows" from Vatnajökull. This is a destination that is still somewhat of a well-kept secret and undiscovered by foreign travelers. Usually the road here is open 15 June to the middle of October - only accesible by 4WD vehicles. This is a good place to "get away from it all" - the silence is often total, unbroken even by bird calls.

History and Culture
Hella

Hella is the municipality's main population centre, with over 800 residents. The economy of Hella consists mainly of services to the agricultural sector. The town hosts a slaughterhouse for large livestock, a meat processing plant, chicken slaughterhouse and adjacent processing plant, veterinary centre, incubation station, automobile workshop, electrical workshop, woodworking shop and various other smaller agricultural service providers.

Hella also has a grocery store, restaurants, hotel and guesthouses, nursing and retirement homes, swimming pool, laundry, healthcare centre, glass workshop, fish processing and seafood store, electrical appliance and gift store, bank, post office, camping ground, pharmacy, tyre shop, gas station, sports facilities, primary and nursery schools, as well as various other services and public bodies. In addition, the town hall and service centre for the municipality are located in Hella.

Hella's history began in 1927, when a shop was opened at the location. It was later replaced by the co-operative society Þór, and as the co-op grew and prospered, Hella became the main trading centre in the western part of the Rangárvallasýsla region, extending across the farmlands Gaddstaðir, Helluvað and Nes at Rangárvellir.

The village grew considerably in the sixties when many of the people working on the development of power plants in the area built homes and settled there. Growth slowed down after that, but since the turn of the century, Hella has grown steadily, with new apartments being constructed every year.

One of the best-known equine sports facilities in Iceland is located in Hella: Gaddstaðaflatir, also known as Rangárbakkar. The facilities include competition pitches for riding sports as well as an indoor riding arena. Five national meets have been held there, in 1986, 1994, 2004, 2008 and 2014, and the sixth is planned in 2021.

History and Culture
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.

Nature
Ytri Ranga river

Ytri-Rangá flows past Hella. Its source is to the north of Mount Hekla, in Rangárbotnar at Landmannafréttur, where it surfaces in several places from under the lava fields. The river is 55 km in length and one of the richest salmon fishing rivers in Iceland. The river is fed by run-off and springs.

There are several waterfalls along the river, Fossabrekkur, Gutlfoss, Árbæjarfoss and Ægissíðufoss. Approximately 10 km below Hella, Þverá joins the river and is called Hólmsá until it runs into the sea.

There has been considerable fish farming in the river for many years, which means that the river is more often than not at the top of the list of Icelandic salmon fishing rivers and is extremely popular as such. The farming operations in the river are in the hands of the Ytri-Rangá Fishing Association.

Nature
Ægissíðufoss waterfall

The Ægissíðufoss waterfall in Ytri-Rangá is a few kilometres further down the river from Hella. The waterfall is a well-known fishing location on the river and has a salmon ladder. The waterfall is magnificent all year round, as the flow is quite steady throughout the year given that Ytri-Rangá is a spring-fed river. Any changes to its flowrate can for the most part be attributed to spring thaws.

When thoughts turned to bridging the Ytri-Rangá river, Jón Þorláksson, the then Chief Civil Engineer and later Prime Minister, examined the option of building a bridge just above Ægissíðufoss. This construction did not materialise, and the bridge was ultimately built where the village of Hella stands today.

A popular hiking trail lies from Hella down to Ægissíðufoss along the Ytri-Rangá river and is much used by both locals and visitors.

Nature
Hellarnir að Hellum

At Hellar there are three caves from which the town gets its name. These caves are man-made, carved in sandstone, and one of them is the longest man-made cave in Iceland. It is not known exactly how old these caves are, but it is believed that they are possibly from before the actual settlement of Iceland and were made by the Popes, i.e. Irish monks who settled in this country before the time of the Vikings (about 900).

On the other hand, it can be said with full certainty that the caves are at least as old as the town name Hellar, as it is very unlikely to name this town if there were no caves in the area. The first written sources about the farm Hella in Landsveit are from the year 1332 and therefore the caves are at least 600 years old, although it is possible that they are even older.

Caves in caves are protected natural site.

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