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KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR

Skaftárhreppur

Skaftárhreppur district is the centre of the south of Iceland and the perfect location to stay while taking day tours to see many of Iceland's best known natural treasures, Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Langisjór lake, Eldgjá fissure, Laki craters, the lava field Eldhraun and Fjaðrárgljúfur. Easy but very interesting 5 km hike trail is Ástarbrautin (The Love Path in Kirkjubæjarklaustur). This is an area where saga meets lava. On the web eldsveitir.is you can find more about history, culture and the nature in 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 Fjallabak roads (north and south) lead from the Ring Road into the interior via Skaftártunga.The Laki road, just west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, leads into the highlands.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the only place between Vík and Höfn which offers services, as a fuel station,
wine store and a supermarket. Nearby tourist attractions include the Laki craters, the Eldgjá and Skaftafell. Near the Ring Road you find Fjaðrárgljúfur, accessible all the year around. 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.

KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR
GPS Points N65° 23' 49.128" W21° 53' 8.059"
Postal codes

880,881

Travel directory for KIRKJUBAEJARKLAUSTUR

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Guesthouse at Seglbudir Landbrot
Guesthouses
  • Seglbúðum
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 697-6106
Adventure Hotel Geirland
Hotels
  • Síða
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4677
Hörgsland Travel Service
Cottages
  • Hörgsland I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 8612244, 487-6655, 861-2244
Eldhraun Holiday Home
Cottages
  • Syðri-Steinsmýri
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 694-1259, 858-7657

Others

Eldhraun Holiday Home
Cottages
  • Syðri-Steinsmýri
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 694-1259, 858-7657
Kleifar-Mörk Camping Ground
Camping
  • Við Geirlandsveg
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4675, 861-7546
Adventure Hotel Geirland
Hotels
  • Síða
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4677
Guesthouse at Seglbudir Landbrot
Guesthouses
  • Seglbúðum
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 697-6106
Hemrumörk
Cottages
  • Hemrumörk
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • -
Klausturhof Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Klausturvegur 1-5
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 567-7600
Flaga 2 Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Flaga 2
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • -
Flaga 1
Guesthouses
  • Flaga 1
  • 881 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 698-5650
Hrífunes Natur Park
Guesthouses
  • Hrífunes
  • 881 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 680-7141
Arnardrangur Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Arnardrangur
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 620-5006
Hörgsland Travel Service
Cottages
  • Hörgsland I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 8612244, 487-6655, 861-2244
Kirkjubær Camping Ground
Camping
  • Kirkjubær 2
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 894-4495
Dalshöfði - Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Dalshöfði
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 6619550, 861-4781
Cabin 9 - iceland
Guesthouses
  • Stóratorfa 9
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 899-5438
Arctic Exclusive Ranch
Guesthouses
  • Efri EY
  • 881 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 695-1210
Magma Hotel
Hotels
  • Tunga
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 4200800
Sól við Brunná
Cottages
  • Flaga 2
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • -
Jórvík I
Cottages
  • Jórvík I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Lækjaborgir Guesthouse
Cottages
  • Kálfafell
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 8335500
Katla House
Guesthouses
  • Hrífunesvegur,880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 8256157

Others

Hörgsland Travel Service
Cottages
  • Hörgsland I
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 8612244, 487-6655, 861-2244
Guesthouse at Seglbudir Landbrot
Guesthouses
  • Seglbúðum
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 697-6106
Systrakaffi
Restaurants
  • Klausturvegi 12
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4848
Magma Hotel
Hotels
  • Tunga
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 4200800
Kaffi Munkar
Restaurants
  • Klausturvegur 3-5
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 567-7600
Adventure Hotel Geirland
Hotels
  • Síða
  • 880 Kirkjubæjarklaustur
  • 487-4677
Nature
Lakagígar and Laki

Lakagígar is a row of craters, formed in one of the world's largest mixed eruptions in recorded history. This continuous series of eruptions emitted a vast quantity of lava and substantial amounts of volcanic ash from a fissure stretching 25 km across the area west of the ice cap. The craters are regarded as a globally unique phenomenon and are as such a protected natural monument.

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. The eruption produced large quantities of volcanic ash. For residents of the region, and Iceland as a whole, the results of the eruption were catastrophic: this time is known as "Móðuharðindin" (the Haze Famine).

The Laki craters are under protection of the Vatnajökull National Park which provides information and basic facilities. Getting there by road F206 you need a 4x4 for crossing numerous rivers, and is only accessible during the summer.

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
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
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.

Nature
Lómagnúpur

Lómagnúpur is a 688 high palisade of cliffs that towers over Björninn Mountain, west of the Núpsvötn Lakes in Skeiðarársandur. The surroundings are renowned for their spectacular beauty, stretching from the black sand beaches of the south shore, all the way to Vatnajökul Glacier. Volcanoes, glaciers and lakes have been woven together to form a varied landscape that can only be said to be extraordinary from a geological perspective. Lómagnúpur is part of the Núpstadir Farmlands which is on the list of protected national heritage sites in Iceland.

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
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
Álftaversgígar

Álftaversgígar is a protected natural phenomena of international geological significance. An area of rootless cones (pseudocraters) formed by the Eldgjá lava flowing over wetlands in 934-940. A side road south of the ring road no.1 takes you to a panoramic spot with information panels. There is an easy hike along the signed sand track to Dýralækjasker geosite, a former shelter for travellers crossing the sands of Mýrdalssandur on foot or on horseback before the time of automobiles. Another nice place to experience these cones is in a farmed area at Þykkvabæjarklaustur.

History and Culture
Þykkvabæjarklaustur

Þykkvabæjarklaustur is a present and historic church site snuggled in the Álftaver pseudo crater area. In medieval times this was the location of a catholic monastery, which was founded in 1168 and remained active until the reformation in the mid-16th century. Recent archaeological findings (2015) show that there was an extremely large building of about 1800m2 of ground floor. It was a rich convent of monks with a large farm and a school.

Nature
Langisjór Lake, Fögrufjöll, Grænifjallgarður

Langisjór is a lake that's 20 km long and 2 km wide in some places. The lake is to the southwest of Vatnajökull, between the mountains Tungnárfjöll and Fögrufjöll, in a beautiful and picturesque landscape. Its square measure is 27 km², it reaches a depth of 75 m and the water surface is 670 m above sea level.

Nature
Skaftáreldahraun lava field

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
Eldgjá canyon

Eldgjá is an old tectonic graben that was reactivated in a huge eruption in 934-940. The Eldgjá vents form a discontinuous 75 km long volcanic fissure extending from the Katla volcano in the west to Vatnajökull in the east. The eruption in 934-940 takes its name from a spectacular 150 m deep and 8 km long chasm called Eldgjá (fire fissure) that occupies the central part of the vent system. Part of the fissure is under protection of the Vatnajökull National Park. There you can take a walk along the bottom of the fissure and witness the sheer scale of it. An easy hike takes you from the car park (with
WC facilities) along the bottom of the fissure to Ófærufoss waterfall. Getting there: you need a 4x4 and the area is only accessible in the summer. This is a site of international geological significance. Ófærufoss is a distinctive two-tiered waterfall cascading into the fissure Eldgjá.

Nature
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

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
Kirkjugólf

Kirkjugólf or 'the church floor' is an 80 square meter expanse of columnar basalt stone slabs which have slowly eroded during the time when sea covered the area. The hexagonal 'tiles' look every bit as if they were man-made flooring but there has never been a church or any other building on the site. The protected natural monument is located just a few hundred meters east of the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Nature
Fagrifoss Waterfall

Fagrifoss is a scenic 80 m high waterfall in Geirlandsá River. Basaltic pillows occur in the vicinity of the waterfall which cascades from 140m thick hyaloclastite deposits. Fagrifoss is situated on the F206 road to Laki craters, a rugged road with rivers that can be treacherous to cross if the water level rises due to rain and thaw. A 4x4 vehicle is needed and the area is only accessible during summer.

Nature
Foss á Síðu

Foss á Síðu is the name of an old farm, approximately 10 km east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. A beautiful waterfall cascades over the cliffs above the farm, which flows from Lake Þórutjörn. This magnificent spectacle catches the eye of everyone that passes by. An easy hiking trail leads up to Lake Þórutjörn where the view over Síða is amazing.

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