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KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR

Skaftárhreppur

Skaftárhreppur district is the centre of the south of Iceland and the perfect location to stay while taking daytours to see many of Iceland's bestt known natural treasures, Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Langisjór lake, Eldgjá fissure, Laki craters and Reynisfjara black beach to name but a few. This is an area where saga meets lava and is easily accessible all year round. Through the app Locatify Smartguide you can find two audio-guides "The Laki eruption 1783-1784" and "Klaustur trail" and learn about more about the history of the area. The district is part of Katla geopark and the gateway to the western part of Vatnajökull National Park.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur - Skaftárhreppur

Kirkjubæjarklaustur was known in olden times as "Kirkjubær" (Church Farm) and was an important farming estate. It is one of the most tongue-twisting words to pronounce of any location in Iceland. Kirkjubæjarklaustur has developed into a village, the only centre of population in the district, with about 150 inhabitants. Kirkjubæjarklaustur, often abbreviated to "Klaustur", is centrally located in the district. Roads radiate from Klaustur in many different directions and the Ring Road runs through the district. The Laki road, just west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, leads into the highlands. The circular Landbrot / Meðalland road serves the southern part of the district. The Fjallabak roads (north and south) lead from the Ring Road into the interior via Skaftártunga. The Álftaver road is a circular route serving Álftaver on Mýrdalssandur.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the only place between Vík and Höfn which offers services, including a fuel station, a bank, a post office and a supermarket. Nearby tourist attractions include the Laki craters, the Eldgjá and Skaftafell. An attraction close to the village is Kirkjugólf (Church Floor), a natural pavement of basalt. These are basalt columns down in the earth, eroded and shaped by wind and waves, but only the top can be seen, and they, as the name suggests, have the appearance of a paved church floor. It is a protected natural monument. This lava formation has similar origins as the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. All these attractions contribute to the popularity of Kirkjubæjarklaustur as a stopping point for tourists.

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KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR
GPS Points N63° 47' 39.632" W18° 2' 24.433"
Postal codes

880,881

Travel directory for KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Hörgsland Travel Service
Cottages
  • Hörgsland I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 861-2244 , 487-6655, 861-2244
Eldhraun Holiday Home
Cottages
  • Syðri-Steinsmýri
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 694-1259, 858-7657
Guesthouse at Seglbudir Landbrot
Guesthouses
  • Seglbúðum
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 697-6106
Adventure Hotel Geirland
Hotels
  • Síða
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4677

Others

Adventure Hotel Geirland
Hotels
  • Síða
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4677
Hörgsland Travel Service
Cottages
  • Hörgsland I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 861-2244 , 487-6655, 861-2244
Sól við Brunná
Cottages
  • Flaga 2
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Dalshöfði - Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Dalshöfði
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4781, 861-4781
Jórvík I
Cottages
  • Jórvík I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Klausturhof Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Klausturvegur 1-5
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 567-7600
Kleifar-Mörk Camping Ground
Camping
  • Við Geirlandsveg
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4675, 861-7546
Magma Hotel
Hotels
  • Tunga
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 420-0800
Katla House
Guesthouses
  • Hrífunesvegur,880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 698-8839
Guesthouse at Seglbudir Landbrot
Guesthouses
  • Seglbúðum
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 697-6106
Flaga 2 Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Flaga 2
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Kirkjubær Camping Ground
Camping
  • Kirkjubær 2
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 894-4495
Arnardrangur Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Arnardrangur
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 620-5006
Cabin 9 - iceland
Guesthouses
  • Stóratorfa 9
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 899-5438
Glacier view Guesthouse - Hrífunes
Guesthouses
  • Hrífunes
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 770-0123
Eldhraun Holiday Home
Cottages
  • Syðri-Steinsmýri
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 694-1259, 858-7657
Lækjaborgir Guesthouse
Cottages
  • Kálfafell
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 833-5500

Others

Hörgsland Travel Service
Cottages
  • Hörgsland I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 861-2244 , 487-6655, 861-2244
Guesthouse at Seglbudir Landbrot
Guesthouses
  • Seglbúðum
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 697-6106
Kaffi Munkar
Restaurants
  • Klausturvegur 3-5
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Magma Hotel
Hotels
  • Tunga
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 420-0800
Systrakaffi
Restaurants
  • Klausturvegi 12
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4848
Adventure Hotel Geirland
Hotels
  • Síða
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4677
Nature
Dverghamrar / Dwarf Rocks

Dverghamrar (Dwarf Rocks), just east of Foss, are peculiar and beautiful formations of columnar basalt. On top of the columns there is cube-jointed basalt. The landscape is thought to have been moulded at the end of the Ice Age. The sea level was higher at that time and it is believed that the waves caused the peculiar look of the rocks. Dverghamrar are a protected natural monument. Columnar basalt is formed when lava flow gets cooled and contraction forces build up. Cracks then form horizontally and the extensive fracture network that develops results in the six sided formation of the columns.

Nature
Eldgja canyon

Between Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Landmannalaugar, the eruptive fissure Eldgjá is to be found. Eldgjá is a 40 km long eruptive fissure, 600 meters wide in many places, and up to 200 meters deep, formed in a gigantic eruption in 934. From Eldgjá, extensive streams of lava have flowed through Landbrot and Meðalland, reaching sea at Alviðruhamrar in Álftaver. The lava-field is believed to cover 700 km², which makes it one of the vastest lava-fields on earth since the last ice age. Eldgjá is believed to belong to the same crater system as Katla. Eldgjá is a unique natural phenomenon and is listed as natural remnants.

Nature
Laufskalavarda

Laufskálavarða is a lava ridge, surrounded by stone cairns, between the Hólmsá and Skálmá rivers, close to the road north of Álftaver. All travellers crossing the desert of Mýrdalssandur for the first time were supposed to pile stones up to make a cairn, which would bring them good fortune on the journey.

Nature
Systrastapi and Systra Waterfall

In 1186 a nun monastery was established in Kirkjubær á Síðu. It was later called Kirkjubæjarklaustur and the topographical names Systrastapi and Systrafoss are connected to this time. Systrastapi is a steep rocky hill west of Klaustur. Folklore says that on top of it, two nuns of the monastery were buried after being burned at the stake for violating codes of ethics. One is supposed to have sold herself to the Devil, carried consecrated Communion bread past the door of the privy, and had carnal knowledge with men. The other spoke blasphemously of the Pope. After the Reformation the latter nun was regarded as innocent and beautiful flowers grew on her grave, while the other one's grave remained barren. The rocky hill can be ascended and from the top the view of glaciers, among other things, is amazing.
Systrafoss is the name of the waterfall where the river Fossá falls from the lake Systravatn, over the mountain edge above Kirkjubæjarklaustur, into the gorge Fossárgil. Low down in the gorge there's a giant rock, Fossasteinn, that fell from the mountain during a massive thunderstorm in 1830. Beautiful hiking trails are around the waterfall and a passable hiking trail leads to the top of the mountain and Systravatn. From the mountain edge the view is breathtaking.

Systrafoss is the name of the waterfall where the river Fossá falls from the lake Systravatn, over the mountain edge above Kirkjubæjarklaustur, into the gorge Fossárgil. Low down in the gorge there's a giant rock, Fossasteinn, that fell from the mountain during a massive thunderstorm in 1830. Beautiful hiking trails are around the waterfall and a passable hiking trail leads to the top of the mountain and Systravatn. From the mountain edge the view is breathtaking.

History and Culture
Kalfafell in Fljotshverfi

The church of Kálfholt belongs to the parish in Fellsmúli within the area of Rangárvallaprófadæmi. There has been a church in Kálfholt since 1260, but the current church building was built in the years of 1978-79. It was inaugurated on the 27th of May 1979. It is built out of wood and panelled on the outside by sheets of iron and inside the panelling is unpainted timber and panel. The leading carpenter was Ólafur Sigurjónsson from Forsæti. The altarpiece is a very momentous piece of the church and is made by the carpenter Ámundur Jónsson in 1773. Also the number plate and the baptismal font are very old. The foot of the baptismal font was cut out by Ríkharður Jónsson and the lamps on the wall are made out of clay by the artist Steinunn Marteinsdóttir. Bjarnhéðinn Guðjónsson from Hella forged the candlesticks on the altar. There are also two old chandeliers in the church. The Catholic churches of Kálfholt were dedicated to Saint Ólafur.

Nature
Fjaðrárgljúfur

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a magnificent and massive canyon, about 100 meters deep and about two kilometres long. The canyon has sheer walls, and is somewhat serpentine and narrow. The bedrock in Fjaðrárgljúfur is mostly palagonite from cold periods of the Ice Age and is thought to be about two million years old. The river Fjaðrá has its source in the mountain Geirlandshraun and falls off the heath edge in this stunning canyon until it makes it down into Skaftá river. Fjaðrá has changed a lot in the course of time. Today Fjaðrá is often rather low in water and therefore hikers can safely choose to walk inside the canyon. However, wading is necessary fairly often. Deep in the canyon there are waterfalls so one needs to walk the same way back. Most people choose to walk along a walking path up on the canyon's edge while simultaneously enjoying the view above the canyon.

Formation of the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

It is believed that Fjaðrárgljúfur formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about nine thousand years ago. When the glacier retreated, a lake formed in the valley behind a hard resistant rock. The run-off from the lake flowed to where Fjaðrárgljúfur is today. Glacial rivers from the glacier's edge carried a lot of sediment into the lake and the river which ran from it dug itself down into the rock and down onto the palagonite in front of it. Because the cascade has been so large, it was powerful in digging out the canyon. Eventually the lake filled with sediments and the river's strength dwindled. When the lake filled up completely, the river began to dig itself into the sediment layers which it had previously left in the valley. Fluvial terraces on both sides in the valley give an indication about the original height and location of the lake while a deep channel in the palagonite serves as a silent reminder to the power of nature.

More geosites in the neighbourhood: www.katlageopark.com

Nature
Nupsstadur Forrest

The forest Núpsstaðarskógar is on the land of Núpsstaðir, but Núpsstaðir is the easternmost farm in Skaftárhreppur and is situated by Lómagnúpur. At Núpsstaður there are remarkable old turf buildings that are believed to be typical for farms in Iceland in past centuries. The most noteworthy of these is the chapel, one of few remaining turf churches in the country. The beauty of the environment surrounding Núpsstaður is well known. The area reaches from the ocean and black sands and all the way to Vatnajökull. Volcanic eruptions, glaciers and lakes have shaped the environment there, in addition to shaping diverse formations.
The forest Núpsstaðarskógar is a beautiful copsewood that grows in the hills of Eystrafjall, west of Skeiðarárjökull and south of Grænalón. Diverse vegetation grows there and it's an area that's enjoyable to walk around. A rough track to the forest passes Lómagnúpur and Núpsvötn. There is lots to see there and the landscape is grand, sure to embed itself in the mind of anyone who goes there. Wild sheep were there in the 19th century.

The forest Núpsstaðarskógar is a beautiful copsewood that grows in the hills of Eystrafjall, west of Skeiðarárjökull and south of Grænalón. Diverse vegetation grows there and it's an area that's enjoyable to walk around. A rough track to the forest passes Lómagnúpur and Núpsvötn. There is lots to see there and the landscape is grand, sure to embed itself in the mind of anyone who goes there. Wild sheep were there in the 19th century.

Nature
Skaftareldahraun

In 1783, a huge lava flow streamed from Lakagígar in what became known as the "Skaftá Fires." This is believed to have been one of the greatest lava flows in a single eruption in the history of the world. The molten lava filled the gorges through which the Skaftá and Hverfisfljót rivers flowed, and swept down in two branches into inhabited areas, to spread over the lowlands where it laid waste many farms. It's cubic measure is estimated um 16km3 and square measure of the lava approximately 580km2.

Nature
Núpsvotn river

Westernmost at Skeiðarársandur, Núpsvötn lakes are to be found. They are nourished by the rock stream Núpsá and the glacier river Súla. Súla flows down from the edge of Skeiðarárjökull glacier, at the corner of Eystrafjall mountain. The rivers merge into one river-bed some way above the bridge over Núpsvötn. When the main road was laid in 1974 both of the rivers were hindered with levees. In the first part of the 20th century, Súla-debacles from the lagoon Grænalón were massive, around 5-10 thousand m³/sec, and when Grænalón emptied the water level lowered about 150-200 m. These days it will only lower about 20 m and the quantity of water will peak at approx. 2000 m³/sec.
A rough track to the Núpsstaðarskógar forest passes Lómagnúpur and Núpsvötn.
It is possible to camp and stay in the area, which is only about 12-15 km from Grænalón.
Núpsstaður, Núpsstaðarskógar, Grænalón and the whole land of Núpsstaðir are listed as natural remnants.

History and Culture
Nupsstadur

At Nupsstadur there are remarkable old buildings that are believed to be typical for farms in Iceland in past centuries. The one you should notice is the chapel, one of very few remaining turf churches in Iceland. The chapel is most likely from a church built in 1650. However church has not been at Nupsstadur since 1765.

The chapel was proclaimed inviolate in 1930 and was the first house in Iceland to receive that and was then re-conscrated in 1961.

Just north of Nupsstadir lies the Nupsstadaforest, magnificent copsewood that grows west of Skeidararjokull glacier and close to the famous Greenlagoon. The forest is a paradise for hikers but guidance when driving there is recommended.

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