Visit Hella Power and Purity

Rangárþing ytra is one of Iceland’s largest municipalities in terms of geographical size, with over 1,600 residents. It is one of three municipalities in the county of Rangárvallasýsla, which lies across the middle of South Iceland and has many unique natural resources, both in the lowlands and highlands.

The volcanic zone lies across the municipality, including one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, Hekla, which stands at 1,491 m above sea level and has erupted six times over the last century, in 1947, 1970, 1980, 1981, 1991 and 2000. There are also several glaciers within Rangárþing ytra: Torfajökull, Blesárjökull and part of Mýrdalsjökull. Some geothermal heat can be found in the region, not least in the area around Torfajökull, which is one of the most geothermally active areas in Iceland.

One of Rangarvállasýsla’s greatest glacial rivers, Markarfljót, has its source in Reykjadalir in the Torfajökull area, and two of Iceland’s best salmon fishing rivers, Ytri-Rangá and Eystri-Rangá, both have their source in Rangárþing ytra, the former in Rangárbotnar in Landmannaafréttur and the latter in Rangárbotnar in Rangárvallaafréttur.

The Veiðivötn lakes are located in Landmannaafréttur. Every year, thousands of fishermen descend there, as the lakes are rich with Arctic char and trout. Aquaculture in Veiðivötn is overseen by the Landmannaafréttur Fishing Association.

Many popular hiking trails can be found in Rangárþing ytra, the best known of which is Laugavegur, which begins in Landmannalaugar and lies across Hrafntinnusker, Álftavatn and Hvanngil before reaching Emstrur and ending in Þórsmörk. The Hellismannaleið trail is also becoming ever more popular with each year. It starts at Rjúpnavellir in Landsveit, passing through Áfangagil, Landmannahellir and into Landmannalaugar. Another hiking trail in Rangárvallaafréttur is also becoming established, from Foss at Rangárvellur, through Dalöldur, into Hungurfit and ending at either Krókur or Dalakofi.

All general services can be found in Rangárþing ytra, and the level of service is very high. The municipality has two nursery schools and two elementary schools, a healthcare centre, two swimming pools, grocery shops, a bank, an automobile workshop and a nursing and residential home. Extensive tourist services are also operated across the whole municipality. 50–60% of foreign tourists in Iceland travel through the area in winter and around 70% in summer.

The Icelandic horse has a place of honour in Rangárþing ytra, and Gaddstaðaflatir (Rangárbakkar) by Hella has one of Iceland’s best facilities for equine tournaments and exhibitions. The Icelandic National Horse Show has been held there numerous times, with 10–14 thousand guests and hundreds of horses. In addition, several thriving cattle farms are operated in the area, as are numerous highly productive sheep farms.

Finally, mention may be made of several historic locations in the municipality, such as Oddi and Keldur, as well as Gunnarssteinn and Knafarhólar, which are the scene of one of the most famous battles in Njál’s Saga where Gunnar at Hlíðarendi and Hjörtur, his brother, fought heroically.

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Visit Hella
GPS Points N63° 50' 5.172" W20° 24' 3.085"
Postal codes

850,851

Website www.ry.is

Travel directory for Visit Hella

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Horsetravel.is
Tour Operators
  • Hrólfsstaðahellir
  • 851 Hella
  • 772-8883, 862-8101
Íslenskar hestaferðir ehf.
Travel Agency
  • Ás 1
  • 851 Hella
  • 897-3064
Kristjón L. Kristjánsson
Tour Operators
  • Geitasandur 4
  • 850 Hella
  • 894-1298
Toptours / Erlingur Gíslason
Tour Operators
  • Þrúðvangur 36a
  • 850 Hella
  • 861-1662
Hella Horse Rental
Tour Operators
  • Gaddstaðaflatir
  • 850 Hella
  • 864-5950
Hella Golf Club
Golf Courses
  • Strönd
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-8208
Keldur - An Old Farmhouse
Museums
  • Keldur, Rangárvellir
  • 851 Hella
Þjóðólfshagi
Tour Operators
  • Þjóðólfshagi 1
  • 851 Hella
  • 898-3038
CrossRoads.is
Tour Operators
  • Baugalda 5
  • 850 Hella
  • 862-9366
Eiríkur Vilhelm Sigurðarson
Tour Operators
  • Baugalda 23
  • 850 Hella
  • 866-2632
Miðás
Farm Holidays
  • Miðás
  • 851 Hella
  • 894-6566, 863-3199
South Tour ehf.
Tour Operators
  • Bogatún 26
  • 850 Hella
  • 788-9700
Hraun Hestar, Landmannalaugar Riding Tours
Tour Operators
  • Lýtingsstaðir
  • 851 Hella
  • 868-5577

Others

Hotel Selið
Hotels
  • Stokkalæk
  • 851 Hella
  • 867-5574
Árhús - Árhús Information Center Hella
Guesthouses
  • Rangárbakkar 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5577
Selalækur Country Guesthouse
Farm Holidays
  • Selalækur 3
  • 851 Hella
  • 848-9220
Guesthouse Nonni
Bed & Breakfast
  • Arnarsandur 3
  • 850 Hella
  • 894-9953
Nefsholt
Cottages
  • Nefsholt
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-6514, 899-6514
Laugaland Camping Ground
Camping
  • Laugaland í Holtum
  • 851 Hella
  • 895-6543
Þjodolfshagi 3
Farm Holidays
  • Þjóðólfshagi 3
  • 851 Hella
  • 867-7005
Miðás
Farm Holidays
  • Miðás
  • 851 Hella
  • 894-6566, 863-3199
Álfasteinn Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Þjóðólfshagi 25
  • 851 Hella
  • 772-8304
Fjarkastokkur
Farm Holidays
  • Fjarkastokkur
  • 851 Hella
  • 893-3837
Mountain Mall
Mountainhuts & Cabins
  • Landmannalaugur
  • 851 Hella
  • 618-7822
Ketilhus
Cottages
  • Ketilhúshagi 33
  • 851 Hella
  • 564-5510
Kanslarinn
Hotels
  • Dynskálum 10c
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5100
Unastadir cottage
Cottages
  • Unastaðir í landi Reynifells lóð F-2
  • 851 Hella
  • 566-8914, 849-1216, 822-7055
Galtalækur 2
Cottages
  • Galtalækur 2
  • 851 Hella
  • 861-6528, 487-6528
Laufas
Cottages
  • Laufás
  • 861 Hvolsvöllur
  • 867-3505
Árbakki
Farm Holidays
  • Árbakki 47
  • 851 Hella
  • 562-0032, 699-8764
Hotel Hella
Hotels
  • Þrúðvangur 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-4800
Undraland
Cottages
  • Þjóðólfshagi 6
  • 851 Hella
  • 894-0835, 554-6636
Guesthouse Heimaland
Farm Holidays
  • Landssveit
  • 851 Hella
  • 487-5787
Raudholl
Bed & Breakfast
  • Rauðhóll
  • 851 Hella
  • 844-8538
Uxahryggur - Cottage
Cottages
  • Uxahryggur
  • 851 Hella
  • 517-7333
Holavangur 7
Bed & Breakfast
  • Hólavangur 7
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5143, 862-5143
Skeidvellir Villa
Cottages
  • Skeiðvellir
  • 851 Hella
  • 896-6890, 487-6572
Áning Camping Ground
Camping
  • Leynir
  • 851 Hella
  • 894-4991

Others

Árhús - Árhús Information Center Hella
Guesthouses
  • Rangárbakkar 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5577
Kaldbakur
Farm food direct
  • Kaldbakur
  • 851 Hella
The icelandic chicken
Farm food direct
  • Landnámshænsnasetrið, Þykkvabæ
  • 851 Hella
  • 581-3348, 861-3348
Kanslarinn
Hotels
  • Dynskálum 10c
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5100
Hotel Lækur
Tour Operators
  • Hróarslækur
  • 851 Hella
  • 466-3930
Hotel Hella
Hotels
  • Þrúðvangur 6
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-4800
Olis - Service Station - Quiznos
Cafés
  • Þrúðvangur 2
  • 850 Hella
  • 487-5180, 840-1806
Hrolfsstadahellir
Farm food direct
  • Hrólfsstaðahellir
  • 851 Hella
Nature
Domadalur

A valley at the west side of lava Dómadalshraun. It has a small lake with brown-trout in it. F225, Dómadalsleið lies through it. Supposingly this was the meeting-point for people from two counties in the flatland, where strong rivers separated them (dómur=judgement).

Nature
Mountain Hekla - Volcano

MT. Hekla is one of the most famous volcanoe in the world. An active volcano for centuries, Mount Hekla is one of the most famous in the world. Old tales tell of the belief that the souls of the condemned traveled through Hekla's crater on their way to hell. The whole mountain ridge of Hekla is about 40 km long. The fissure which splits the mountain ridge is about 5,5 km long. The mountain is about 1491 m high and rising.Over the past 7000 years Hekla has had five big fissure eruptions. The biggest eruptions were 4000 and 2800 years ago. Traces of these two eruptions can be found in the soil in the North and the North-East of Iceland. The biggest layer of tephra from one eruption fell in the eruption 2800 years ago. It covers about 80% of the country and its volume was around 12 cubic km. Traces of it has been found in various places all over Scandinavia and in parts of Europe.It is thought that Hekla has had at least twenty eruptions since the settlement of Iceland. The biggest and first recorded eruption was in 1104, although very likely there had been many more during the time of Viking settlement. It is thought that Hekla has had at least twenty eruptions since the settlement of Iceland. The biggest eruption was in 1104. Hekla has erupted five times in the 20th century, the last time in February 2000.The effects of the violent eruptions were disastrous. The whole island was strown with volcanic ash, which, where they did not smother the grass outright, gave it a poisonous taint. The cattle that ate of it were attacked by a murrain, of which great numbers died. The ice and snow, which had gathered about the mountain for a long period of time, were wholly melted by the heat. Masses of pumice weighing nearly half a ton were thrown to a distance of between four and five miles.

Nature
Landmannalaugar - Nature Reserve

The Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Peaceland between the mountains
The pearl of the central highlands, Landmannalaugar, and its surroundings are too colorful and magnificent to describe with words.

Nature
Blahnukur in Landmannalaugar

The very most popular mountain in the Landmannalaugar-region to walk on top on. It´s a 945 m. above sea-level wiewpoint, with a horizont-disc on the top.

The Highlands
Hrafntinnusker

Hrafntinnusker in Torfajökull glacier is place you have to look at. The English name of this 1128 m high mountain is The Obsidian Skerry. It is situated some distance east of the infamous volcano Hekla. It is accessible by 4wd vehicles from the north and south

The Highlands
Frostastadavatn

Lake Frostastadavatn rests in breathtaking nature and is surrounded by black lava fields and colourful rhyolite mountains. It covers around 2,5km2 and lies at 573 meters above sea level. Access to the lake is very good, road are both on its north and east sides.

Like other lakes in this area it is rich of trout and therefore popular by fishingmen as well as hikers who wants fresh catch of the day on their dish at dinner time.

History and Culture
Heklacentre

The Hekla Center houses a contemporary, multimedia exhibition on Mount Hekla, its history, and its influence on human life in Iceland from the time of the island's settlement until now.

The exhibition emphasizes the influence of the volcano on the inhabited areas close to it, that is, the districts of Landsveit, Holt, and Rangárvellir. The history of these districts is traced and the story of people's struggles with sandstorms and eruptions told. The Center has an outstanding restaurant and facilities for meetings and conferences.

The Hekla Center strongly supports cooperation with scientists, organizing and sponsoring conferences and exhibitions where the latest scientific research and findings can be presented. In addition, the Center has special educational materials for the schoolgroups that visit from all over the country, as well as for other visiting groups of Icelanders or foreigners.


The restaurant
Leirubakki has a first-class restaurant run by chefs who have earned excellent reputations at popular restaurants in Iceland and abroad.

A splendid specialities menu is available for guests, as well as special group menus on request. The highest standards are met in choice of ingredients and preparation. The ingredients are purchased locally, such as lamb from the Landmanna pastures and trout from Veiðivötn and Ytri-Rangá.

The morning and lunch menus focus on lighter dishes, while dinner menus are more extensive and varied. Coffee, cakes, bread and rolls are served all day until 6 pm, when the dinner menu takes over.

The dining room is in the Hekla Center, where a unique view of Hekla through its large windows underlines the proximity of the mighty volcano and Iceland's highlands.

The restaurant is open every day in the summers from 10 am until 10 pm, and in the winters according to a flexible schedule and special arrangements.

The Hekla Center is a working tourist information center, providing tourists advice about all of the surrounding area, including Mount Hekla, and organizing numerous trips to the mountain from Leirubakki.

Other attractions
Oddi church

Oddi, in the fields of the Rangá, is a major historic site. It first became famous around the middle of the 11th Century, when a church was built there, and thus is one of the oldest church sites in Iceland. It was a scholar, political and cultural center for centuries. In the year 1078, Sæmundur the Learned became priest of Oddi. Saemundur the Learned was a chieftain and the first important person to reside at Oddi. Saemundur is believed to have brought some Latin books from Paris, where he studied at the 'Black College', the forerunner of the present Sorbonnne. In one of the folktales about Saemundur the Learned and the Devil, Saemundur hits the devil on the head with a book which contained King David's Psalms, after he'd sat on the Devil's back across the Atlantic, on his way from France to Iceland. Although this may be more myth than reality, one thing is certain, that there must have been a fairly good collection of books in Latin at Oddi which Saemundur had other people write on skin for him and also various study books in Latin. Sæmundur established a school at Oddi, which is believed to have stood for two centuries.


Among other eminent Icelanders who studied at the Oddi school was Snorri Sturluson, the father of Icelandic historiography. Snorri Sturluson (1179 - 1241) was a poet and historian, born in Oddi, Iceland. Snorri acquired a deep knowledge of Icelandic tradition and a European breadth of outlook. His main works were the Prose Edda, a handbook on poetics, and Heimskringla, a series of sagas of the Norwegian kings down to 1177. Snorri also retold old Norse myths within stories of his own creation. His genius was his ability to present historical facts with the immediacy of drama. In 1215 he was elected law-speaker, or president of the Icelandic high court. He became involved in a plan for the king of Norway Haakon IV to rule Iceland, but when the plan failed he fled to Norway. After his return to Iceland against the wish of Haakon, the king took revenge and had him murdered. Some other known famous men of Oddi include Eyjolfur Saemundsson, Loftur Saemundsson and Jon Loftsson.

The most famous of the Oddi priests in more recent centuries was one of the national poets: the Rev. Matthías Jochumsson, who served at Oddi from 1880 to 1886. His poems and psalms are among the best 19th Century Icelandic literature has to offer and include the text of the national anthem Ó Guð vors lands ("Our Country's God", 1874).

The current Oddi church was erected in 1924 and has recently been comprehensively restored to a very intimate and romantic place of worship... The settings and surroundings here are simply too beautiful to describe with a clear view of the panoramic landscape of South Iceland. The Church in Oddi was chosen by GMTV in UK (Europes largest morning television program) as one of the 3 best locations in the world for an "Island Wedding" in a global viewer competition (alas - came in 2nd place closely after Mauritius). From Oddi - it is well worth climbing the hill Gammabrekka and enjoying the beauty of the countryside.

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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