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HVOLSVOLLUR

Hvolsvöllur - Rangárþing eystra with a population of about 1800, is a vast district in central South Iceland and ranges from the highlands to the sea. It boasts a great number of geological wonders, a fact which led the area to be a part of Katla UNESCO Global Geopark along with two other districts to the east; Mýrdalshreppur and Skaftárhreppur. Rangárþing eystra is known for its many beautiful nature scenes like the waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, Þórsmörk which is a paradise for hikers and the famous volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

The district's most densely populated area is the town Hvolsvöllur with about 900 inhabitants. Hvolsvöllur's primary businesses are services for the agriculture, their surrounding areas and the tourism industry. Hvolsvöllur is in fact the only town in Iceland which has not been established by the sea or a river, but entirely as a center of service for the area. Only about 100 km from Reykjavík, Hvolsvöllur is an excellent location from which to base for exploration of South Iceland. Its central location makes it ideal for day trips in the region and then back for a good night's sleep in one of the area's many types of accommodation. You can find a lovely green area in the center of town where you can stretch your legs, let your kids play and enjoy a picnic and each summer you find there an outdoor exhibition by local area photographers. Only 30 minutes from Hvolsvöllur you can find Landeyjahöfn from where you take the ferry to Vestmannaeyjar.

At Hvolsvöllur you can find the Njál's Saga Center which is fitting since all around town is the scene of action for one of the most famous Icelandic Saga, The story of burnt Njal. Also you can visit The LAVA centre, opened in 2017, which is an interactive, high-tech educational exhibition depicting volcanic activity, earthquakes and the creation of Iceland.

At Hvolsvöllur there is a bank, a post office, a tourist information center, a hotel, guesthouses, camping sites, restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, a healthcare center, a fully equipped sports center, a swimming pool, car services, a rescue team, gas stations and other businesses and public services.

HVOLSVOLLUR
GPS Points N63° 45' 2.919" W20° 13' 25.831"
Postal codes

860,861

Travel directory for HVOLSVOLLUR

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Eldstó Art Café/ Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Austurvegur 2
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 7815900, 691-3033
Ytri-Skógar Horse Rental
Day Tours
  • Ytri-Skógar 3
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8832, 851-1995, 844-7132
Southcoast Adventure
Travel Agency
  • Ormsvöllur 23
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 867-3535
Outdoor Activity
Day Tour Provider
  • Skálakot
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 782-1460
Njál's Saga Centre
Exhibitions
  • Hlíðarvegur 14
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 6989007, 618-6143
Guðrún Inga Sveinsdóttir
Day Tour Provider
  • Skógar Fosstún
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 846-0781
Keldur, Rangárvellir
Museums
  • Rangárvellir
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 530-2200
Stóra-Mörk 3
Sleeping bag accommodation
  • Stóra-Mörk III
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8903, 866-7587
Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel
Guesthouses
  • Skálakot
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8953, 866-4891
Seljaland TAXI
Day Tour Provider
  • Eystra Seljaland
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 894-1595
AtvTravel.is
Snowmobile & Snowcat Tours
  • Lambalækur
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 661-2503, 661-2504

Others

Kornhóll Cottage
Cottages
  • Sámsstaðir 1 - lóð nr. 4
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 892-7478
Hotel Fljótshlíð
Guesthouses
  • Smáratún
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-1416
Ysta-Skála
Guesthouses
  • Ysti-Skáli
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 891-8963
Welcome Holiday Homes
Cottages
  • Lambafell
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-1212
Miðtún
Apartments
  • Miðtún 2
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
Skógar Camping Ground
Camping
  • Skógum
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 863-8064, 487-8892
Hvolstun 15
Bed & Breakfast
  • Hvolstún 15
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 866-6101
Kross farmhouse
Farm Holidays
  • Kross 1a
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 859-3515, 487-8515
Oldubakki
Bed & Breakfast
  • Öldubakki 31
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 544-8990
Horizons
Guesthouses
  • Eystra-Seljalandi
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8940044
Hotel Drangshlíð
Farm Holidays
  • Drangshlíð 1, Austur-Eyjafjöllum, Rang.
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 4878868, 568-8869
Eldstó Art Café/ Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Austurvegur 2
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 7815900, 691-3033
AtvTravel.is
Snowmobile & Snowcat Tours
  • Lambalækur
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 661-2503, 661-2504
Welcome Hotel Lambafell
Guesthouses
  • Lambafell
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-1212
Syðri-Rot
Guesthouses
  • Syðri-Rot, Sandhólmsvegur
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
Guesthouse Mid-Mork
Guesthouses
  • Mið-Mörk
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-5050
Hotel Hvolsvöllur
Hotels
  • Hlíðarvegur 7
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 4878050
Kátakot
Cottages
  • Miðkot
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 863-7130
Rauduskridur Farm Stay
Guesthouses
  • Rauðuskriður
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 659-0662
Lagafell
Guesthouses
  • Lágafell
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8918091, 897-8091
Fagrahlíð Guesthouse
Farm Holidays
  • Fljótshlíð
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 863-6669
Ásólfsskáli
Farm Holidays
  • V-Eyjafjöllum
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 861-7489
Gistiheimili Bjargar
Guesthouses
  • Njálsgerði 15
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
Langbrok Café
Camping
  • Kirkjulækur
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8634662
Hótel Skógar
Hotels
  • Ytri Skógar
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-4880, 487-8843
Barkarstaðakot
Cottages
  • Barkarstaðakot
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
Hamragarðar Camping Ground
Camping
  • Gljúfrabúi base, road 249
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 866-7532, 867-3535
Skíðbakki Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Skíðbakki 3
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 847-3880
Spoi Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Hlíðarvegur 15
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 861-8687
BORG apartments
Apartments
  • Nýbýlavegur 44
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 6645091
Básar Camping ground
Camping
  • Básar á Goðalandi
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 893-2910
Fossbúð
Restaurants
  • Ytri Skógar
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8843
Old farmhouse - Vallnatún cabin
Guesthouses
  • Vallatún lóð
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8401119
Ásgarður
Cottages
  • Ásgarður
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-1440
Hvolsvöllur Camping Ground
Camping
  • Austurvegur 4
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 866-8945, 898-2454
Guesthouse Arnarhvoll
Apartments
  • Hvolsvegur 30
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 666-2211
Nupur 3
Farm Holidays
  • Núpur 3
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 867-6023
Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel
Guesthouses
  • Skálakot
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8953, 866-4891
Fishing lodge at Eystri Ranga
Guesthouses
  • Eystri Rangá
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 531-6100, 774-7589
Welcome Edinborg
Guesthouses
  • Lambafell
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-1212
Syðri Kvíhólmi
Cottages
  • sandhólmavegur 247
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 868-278
Vestri-Gardsauki / Garðsauki Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Vestri Garðsauki
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8078, 867-3440
Hotel Selja
Hotels
  • Dímonarvegur (vegur/road 250)
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 845-3324
Bergþórshvoll
Guesthouses
  • Bergþórshvoll 2
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-7715, 863-5901
The Garage Apartments
Apartments
  • Varmahlíð
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8962, 896-5727
Bryggjur
Cottages
  • Skíðbakki 1
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 849-9929
North Star Cottage
Cottages
  • Lambafell
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8980187
Stóra-Mörk 3
Sleeping bag accommodation
  • Stóra-Mörk III
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8903, 866-7587
Dægra Cottages
Cottages
  • Dægra I
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 777-2772

Others

Hotel Fljótshlíð
Guesthouses
  • Smáratún
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-1416
Lagafell
Guesthouses
  • Lágafell
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8918091, 897-8091
Eldstó Art Café/ Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Austurvegur 2
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 7815900, 691-3033
Hotel Hvolsvöllur
Hotels
  • Hlíðarvegur 7
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 4878050
Hotel Drangshlíð
Farm Holidays
  • Drangshlíð 1, Austur-Eyjafjöllum, Rang.
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 4878868, 568-8869
Fossbúð
Restaurants
  • Ytri Skógar
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8843
Hótel Skógar
Hotels
  • Ytri Skógar
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-4880, 487-8843
Gallerý Pizza
Cafés
  • Hvolsvegur 29
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8440
N1 - Service station Hvolsvöllur
Charging station
  • Austurvegur 3
  • 860 Hvolsvöllur
  • 487-8197
Langbrok Café
Camping
  • Kirkjulækur
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 8634662
History and Culture
Rútshellir

Rútshellir in mount Hrútafell is a protected cave with a newly renovated sheep pen attached in front of it. Said to be the largest man-made cave in Iceland, Rútshellir has two parts. The upper half contains an adjoining cave, which is so high that at one time a 2nd floor was installed making this a double storey cave. Further in, there is a ledge that was undoubtedly used for sleeping. In the ceiling you will notice a carving of a cross which tells us that the cave dates from the time of Irish monks, before the Norse settlement. Many legends are connected to this cave. One involves a man called Rútur who lived in the cave but his slaves intended to kill him. They carved a hole under the ledge where Rútur slept, so they could kill him with spears while he was sleeping. One night on arriving home and preparing to sleep, Rútur discovered their plot. He chased the slaves into the mountains and killed them all.

Nature
Katla Geopark

Katla Geopark includes geological features of global significance. Over 150 volcanic eruptions have been recorded in the area since the 9th century. The eruptions created the landscape and influenced where people settled. Through the centuries, man and nature have affected the region's history. The area is constantly changing due to the volcanic activity.

A geopark is defined as a territory, which includes a particular geological heritage and a sustainable territorial development strategy to promote development. It must have clearly defined boundaries and sufficient surface area for true territorial economic development.

The Geopark covers about 9% of Iceland, 9542 km2, and follows the borders of three municipalities, Skaftárhreppur, Mýrdalshreppur and Rangárþing eystra. About 2700 people live within the Geopark.
GeologyIceland lies astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where tectonic plates move apart from each other, causing a rift zone. A mantle plume exists below the country, centred beneath Vatnajökull ice cap. In South Iceland the interaction of the rift zone and the mantle plume results in complex and diverse volcanic activity. Volcanic activity and its widespread effect on the area's nature and landscape make Katla Geopark very special.

The Geopark is in the most volcanically active area of Iceland, and the volcanic systems at Eyjafjallajökull, Katla, and Grímsvötn are particularly active. The region is characterised by central volcanoes, eruptive craters and fissures, rootless cones, lava fields, table mountains (tuyas), and hyaloclastite ridges which trend SW-NE, like the rift zone.

Ice caps are prominent in the landscape, topping the highest volcanoes. Outlet glaciers and glacial rivers flow from them and glacial landforms, e.g. moraines and ice-dammed lakes, occur in the area. Large floods, usually glacier outbursts associated with subglacial eruptions, have formed outwash plains in the lowlands. The oldest bedrock in the area is about 2.5 million years old, and can be found at the base of Lómagnúpur, an old sea-cliff (671 m). Other interesting features in the Geopark are fossil-bearing xenoliths, and tephra layers which are useful for dating (tephrochronology).

History and Culture
The Saga Centre at Hvolsvollur, The story of Burnt Njall

At the Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur, guests are invited into a medieval world of Icelandic culture in the early centuries of Iceland's history. The exhibition covers such subjects as ocean travel and navigation, religion, Viking cosmology, and the literary art of the sagas, Iceland's most important contribution to world literature. Prominence is given to Njáls Saga, the masterpiece of Icelandic sagas, which takes place in the Rangárvellir region. The saga tells of the close friendship between the hero, Gunnar of Hlídarendi, and the sage, Njáll of Bergthórshvoll; and it tells of their wives, who are sworn enemies and think nothing of sacrificing the lives of slaves and labourers in the service of their own virulent disputes, it tells of powerful love, conflicts and deceit, battles and holy reconciliation. The pagan way of thinking and complicated intrigues, gives Gunnar´s enemies the right to kill him and the sage Njáll and his wife are burned to death in their home with their sons. In the Viking Hall, a replica of a medieval longhouse, its walls paneled with timber, and the benches are clad with horsehide, the guest can sit down or continue to the model of the assembly site at Þingvellir around 1000 AD. The Centre also houses an interesting exhibition on the history of commerce and the cooperative movement in South of Iceland.


Open summer 09:00 - 19:00 from June 1. - Septemer 1.

Nature
Eyjafjoll

Eyjafjöll is a beautiful region of south Iceland, which is easily accessible and popular with visitors.

History and Culture
Skogar church

Skógar was a church site from shortly after the adoption of Christianity in Iceland around 1000 AD; the first church was built by about 1100, dedicated to St. Nicholas. In the early centuries Skógar Church was wealthy, but after the Reformation of 1550 it went into decline. The last church at Skógar was a modest wooden church, built in the mid-19th century, and demolished in 1890.
The present Skógar Church at the museum site was designed by architect Hjörleifur Stefánsson and consecrated in 1998. The exterior structure is new, while most of the interior fittings are from Kálfholt Church, built in 1879. The windows, which date from 1898, are from Gröf Church. One of the bells, which dates from about 1600, is from Höfðabrekka, the other from Ásar, Skaftártunga, from 1742. All the ecclesiastical goods date from the 17th and 18th centuries. The altarpiece is from Ásólfsskáli Church (1768), the candelabra from Steinar Church and Eyvindarhólar Church (16th century). Various religious ceremonies take place each year in Skógar Church. The church is non-denominational, and welcomes all Christian ceremonies.

The present Skógar Church at the museum site was designed by architect Hjörleifur Stefánsson and consecrated in 1998. The exterior structure is new, while most of the interior fittings are from Kálfholt Church, built in 1879. The windows, which date from 1898, are from Gröf Church. One of the bells, which dates from about 1600, is from Höfðabrekka, the other from Ásar, Skaftártunga, from 1742. All the ecclesiastical goods date from the 17th and 18th centuries. The altarpiece is from Ásólfsskáli Church (1768), the candelabra from Steinar Church and Eyvindarhólar Church (16th century). Various religious ceremonies take place each year in Skógar Church. The church is non-denominational, and welcomes all Christian ceremonies.

Nature
Þórsmörk

Þórsmörk (Thórsmörk) is a natural gem that sits between Mýrdalsjökull to the east, the river Krossá in the south, with Markárfljót and Þröngá Rivers to the north. Its diverse landscape is characterised by impressive gorges, ravines and scruby slopes and a wide variety of vegetation that is unique to the area. In times past, the farmers of Fljótshlíð and the area under Eyjafjall pastured their sheep all year round, due to the mild climate found within þórsmörk. Since the 1918 eruption of Katla, Þórsmörk was designated as a Natural Mountain Reserve. There are many curious natural rock formations in the area, such as Snorraríki, Sóttarhellar Cave, Álfakirkja (The Church of the Elves), Stakkholtsgjá Gorge and the stone arch in Stóra Enda. Only large jeeps and buses are able to navigate the road into Þórsmörk, due to the ever changing volume of water which can turn small and easily passable tributaries into tumultuous rivers in matter of hours.

Nature
Seljalandsfoss waterfall

A unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west from Skógar. It is 60 meters high with a foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterfall of its kind, where it is possible to walk behind it. The waterfall is very picturesque and therefore its photo can be found in many books and calendars.

Access to the waterfall is from the farm of Seljaland along the Ring Road, Iceland's main highway. A little further to the west there are several other falls, among them the interesting Gljúfrabúi which is partially masked by its own canyon. Access to it is from Hamragarðar farm along the road, east of Markarfljót.

Both of these "do-not-miss" attractions lie very close to the main Ring Road at the base of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, on the road leading in to Thorsmörk.

Nature
Skógafoss - Waterfall

Only a few kilometers away from the south shores of Iceland, lies the village of Skógar along the Southern Ring Road. It is a popular summer-resort centre surrounded by unusual scenic beauty. The breath-taking view of Skogáfoss waterfall and scenic surroundings and the snow-capped heights of two towering glaciers are Skógar's major summer attractions. There are two settlements by this name. One is Ytri-Skógar (outer or western Skógar) and the other Eystri-Skógar (eastern Skógar), located at a short distance from each other. Ytri-Skógar, commonly referred to as Skógar, is the main settlement. It is an old farm and has a church from 1890. It is located between the Skógá and Kverná rivers.
The greatest attraction of Skógar is of course the beautiful 60-metre high Skogáfoss waterfall in the river Skógá. Like the legends of buried treasures of Egill Skallagrímsson in Mosfell near Reykjavík and Ketilbjörn in Mosfell near Skálholt, there is a similar legend about the settler Þrasi who is believed to have buried his chest of gold under the Skogáfoss waterfall.
If the sun conditions are favourable - one can see a vivid rainbow in front of the waterfalls. The river below the falls holds a large salmon and char population and fisherman are seen here fishing July - October. The path leading to the top of the waterfalls continues following the river upstream - where numerous more dramatic waterfalls of sheer beauty are to be found. A great hike - to say the least!
One of the finest folk museums in Iceland is situated in extraordinarily beautiful natural surroundings. The interesting local folk museum has a collection of over 6000 artifacts and examples of various types of dwellings in Iceland since the early times. The collection of tools and equipment used at land and sea is outstanding. The museum also has an old turf farmhouse, where guests can experience the standards of living in Iceland in past centuries.
From Skógar the Ring Road runs eastwards along the foot of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, across the southern sandy plains and over glacial rivers, passes Seljavellir and continues along the soaring glaciated massive of Eyjafjöll and the two waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi. From here runs a 10 km long trek along the river Skógá over the Fimmvörðuháls Pass between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers to the mountain oasis of Þórsmörk.
Skógar is a place to explore the natural diversity of the south or, if the weather is good, to spend a holiday amid beautiful and rugged landscapes. It is also very close to the ocean and the unique black beach.

Nature
Dragnurinn í Drangshlíð

Drangurinn í Drangshlíð is a characteristic tuff rock formation that stands alone on the grazing land of Drangshlíð farm, at the foothills of Eyjafjöll. A folktale tells of a strong man named Grettir Ásmundsson who was showing off and ripped the giant boulder right out of Hrútafell cliff, leaving a chasm which is now above Skarðshlíð. In these rocks there are caves and passages to which additional buildings have been added throughout the centuries, some of which are still standing. The site has been used in the filming of Icelandic movies and in various documentaries. Drangurinn, and its immediate surroundings, is a protected natural site and is on private land.

Nature
Efra-Hvolshellar caves

The caves in Efra-Hvol (Upper Hvol) have histarically been referred to as "the Irish Caves" which are set into the so-called, "Irish Heath". It was originally thought that many of these man-made or artificial caves were madein the 19th century, but in fact, their histofical names appear to confirm they originated even beforr the settlement period.

More geosites in the neighbourhood: www.katlageopark.com

Nature
Eyjafjallajökull Glacier

The Eyjafjallajökull glacier is a 1651 m high glacier-capped stratovolcano. It is one of the smaller glaciers of Iceland. It is situated to the north of Skógar and to the south and west of the bigger glacier Mýrdalsjökull. The icecap of the glacier covers a volcano (1651m in height) which has erupted relatively frequently since the Ice Age. The crater of the volcano has a diameter of 3-4 km and the glacier covers an area of about 100 km². In June 1994 an earthquake swarm lasting for nearly a month occurred below the active volcano Eyjafjallajökull in South Iceland. It is otherwise a relatively quiet volcano - although it is not listed as being inactive. Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 1821-1823. The south end of the mountain was once part of the Atlantic coastline. As the sea has since retreated some 5 km, the former coastline has left behind sheer cliffs with a multitude of beautiful waterfalls, the best known of them being Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. In strong winds, the water of some of the smaller falls can even be blown up the mountain. It is one of the three glaciers that surround the Thorsmörk area - the other 2 being Myrdalsjökull and Tindfjallajökull. Specialized tours are arranged on the glacier for both skiing, superjeep tour and hiking. One should never venture onto the glacier without guides and good knowledge of these kind of activities as this is a very dangerous area for unexperienced visitors.

Eyjafjallajökull featured prominently in world news in 2010 when ash from its eruption halted air traffic in Europe. An ice cap with several outlet glaciers covers the caldera of Eyjafjallajökull with a crater diameter 3-4 km wide. The outlet glaciers, Steinholtsjökull and Gígjökull, descend from the main glacier and can be visited by 4x4 trucks along the F-road to Þórsmörk. The area between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull with volcanic craters, Magni and Móði, created in the first stage of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010.

Nature
Gluggafoss waterfall

The Merkjá River has several beautiful waterfalls, but the most outstanding is Gluggafoss or Window Falls. (also known as Merkjárfoss) The upper half of the cliff is palagonite or tuff rock and the lower ledge is basalt. The river has formed tunnels and grooves through the soft rock and a series of 'windows' in the tunnels, thereby earning the name 'Gluggafoss'. At the very top of the falls, the river passes under a stone arch. As the rock is rather soft, the waterfall has changed over time. Around 1947 the upper half of the waterfall could hardly be seen, as the water flowed into a vertical tunnel behind the cliff. It was only visible through three different openings or 'windows' one above the other. The water came out through the bottom 'window', forming a beautiful arch, except when the water rose in the river, forcing it through all three windows. Further changes occurred when Hekla erupted in 1947, causing a 20 cm thick layer of volcanic ash to be carried downstream by the river. The vertical tunnel formation nearly disappeared as it filled with ash. It has taken nearly 50 years for the falls to return to its former glory.


More geosites in the neighbourhood: www.katlageopark.com

Nature
Fimmvorduhals

The hiking trail over Fimmvörðuháls is one of the most popular one in Iceland and even more so now when hikers can explore the eruption sites up there. The trail starts at Skógar and takes us from the beatiful Skógarfoss waterfall along the Skógará river.

The distance is about 20 km. with estimated hiking time between 8 - 12 hours. Elevation increase and decrease is 1.000 meters. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather since the trail leads us between two glaciers.

Nature
Dimon

Great Dímon is the name of a landmark that landmark East Landeyjar, Fljótshlíð and West Eyjafjöll. Great Dimon has a sister mountain called Litla Dimon or Little Dimon. The name is thought to come from Latin, meaning twin mountains or two alike. It has also been said that the word means haystack and it certainly is reminiscent of a haystack surrounded by golden fields. Near the mountain a sign has been erected by the Saga Center of Hvolsvöllur which tells of battles fought in the area during the times of the settlement of Iceland in the most famous of Icelandic sagas, Njálssaga. The mountain is only 178 meters high and is a fun hike for both adults and children.

Nature
Gljúfrabúi

The waterfall Gljúfrabúi tumbles down from the Gljúfurá River. Its source is just north of Tröllagil (Troll Gorge) Canyon in the heath Hamragarðaheiði. It is a spring-fed river and less voluminous than its neighbour Seljalandsá River. The river runs from Tröllagilsmýri (Troll Gorge Marsh), a picturesque and fertile marsh in the heath. When the river emerges out of the marsh, it runs into the northern edge of a lava field which was formed in the volcanic eruptions in Eyjafjallajökull at the beginning of Holocene. There are several little waterfalls to be found in the river in the area.

Gljúfrabúi, which is 40 m tall, is on the land of the uninhabited farmstead Hamragarðar which the Rangá Foresty Society received as a gift in 1962 and is now owned by the municipality of Rangárþing eystra. There is a certain mystique over the waterfall because it falls into a deep chasm, while in front of it there is much palagonite rock that blocks the waterfall so that only the very top of it is visible. The boulder that blocks the waterfall is called Franskanef. Previously, people believed that it and the surrounding cliffs were the residences of huldufólk or hidden people. It is possible to climb onto Franskanef and see the waterfall from above. On the most risky parts there is a chain with which it is possible to support oneself; however, care must be taken if one climbs up and it is not for everybody. It is also possible to take off your shoes and wade the river down in the canyon. It's an amazing experience. Caution must be taken when travelling in the canyon because there is a risk of falling rocks. There is an old bath basin below Franskanef and at the inner end of the basin there is a little cave called Ömpuhellir, named after a hermit woman who lived there. Gljúfrabúi is a protected natural monument.

A little south of Gljúfrabúi there is a small canyon in the cliff face from which it is possible to ascend onto the heath above where there is a spectacular view of the neighbouring area. People referred to it as going up Stígurinn (the Path) and thus the river in that canyon is named Stígslækur (Path Brook). The path is still rather clear, with some stairs where it is steepest. Right above the edge, there are ruins of old sheepcotes from Hamragarðar.

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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