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Stracta Hotel Hella

Stracta Hotel Hella is a new hotel in the South of Iceland. The hotel offers various types of accommodation options. The hotel features a panorama restaurant, spacious bar, a hotel park with outdoor hot-tubs and sauna, in total 122 rooms. The hotel is a perfect place to relax and soak in the atmosphere, or to participate in the many adventures that are available in the vicinity of the hotel.

Stracta Hotel Hella is located about 100 km from Reykjavík and is therefore close to all the major attractions in the south coast of Iceland, such as Geysir, Gullfoss, Þingvellir, Eyjafjallafjökull, Seljalandsfoss, Þórsmörk, Landmannalaugar, Vestmannaeyjar, Skógafoss and more.

Stracta Hotel Hella

Rangárflatir 4

GPS Points N63° 49' 58.336" W20° 23' 58.614"
Telephone

+354 531-8010

Accommodation 122 Rooms / 244 Beds
Opening period All year
Service Open year round Hotel / guesthouse Restaurant Hot pot Sauna Credit cards accepted Bar

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History and Culture
18.90 km
Þykkvibær

Þykkvibær is the oldest rural village in Iceland and was in fact the only rural village in the country for around a thousand years. Þykkvibær used to have a range of services, such as a grocery store, slaughterhouse, meat processing plant, primary school and nursery school. Over time, however, as the population dwindled, these services have been moved to Hella or discontinued. At present, the local authorities operate a sports centre, and there is also a potato processing plant in the area, Þykkvabæjar. Þykkvibær boasts of one of the most extensive potato growing operations in Iceland, and the trademark Þykkvibæjar is extremely well known in Iceland.

In years gone past, Þykkvibær used to be isolated, as the river Þverá flowed above the village and made transport difficult. In 1923 came a remarkable turning point in the history of the village when local people banded together and constructed the Djúpósstífla dam, which diverted Þverá into the Hólmsá river. The land above Þykkvibær slowly dried out, and the farmers in the area were able to use it to grow crops. The construction is all the more remarkable as everything was done by hand. The dam is 340 m long and 15 m wide and is still standing.

Fishing used to be practiced extensively from Þykkvibær, and farmers would often travel there from further inland for the fishing season. Seafaring was subject to a wide range of difficulties, and in 1896, the entire Þykkvibær fishing fleet was destroyed. All fishing vessel operation subsequently stopped until 1916, when one vessel was operated from the area. Their number then steadily increased. In 1923, however, no one went fishing, as all working hands were busy constructing the Djúpósstífla dam. Late in March 1955, an eight-oar boat with 11 seamen on board was sailing out the sea. When the boat came out of the outflow channel, however, it capsized, throwing everyone into the ocean. Luckily, all survived. The event was considered particularly remarkable as a photograph was taken at the very moment that the boat was capsizing. This accident put a complete stop to all fishing activities in Þykkvibær.

Tourism services are being developed in Þykkvibær and in the surrounding areas. At present, accommodation and refreshments can be found in several locations, and riding tours along the Þykkvibær shoreline have become a regular feature.

Nature
18.63 km
Dælarétt

Dælarétt is a centuries-old sheep pen surrounded by beautiful landscape, built from rocks of the great Þjórsárhraun lava field. Dælarétt is considered to be the oldest sheep pen in the country and has now been preserved. Close by are earthquake fissure; use caution around the fissures.

Nature
2.24 km
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.

History and Culture
7.24 km
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
5.65 km
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
2.47 km
The Ægissíða Caves

Many believe that the man-made caves in Ægissíða date from before Norse settlement in Iceland and that Celtic monks resided there. One of those who believed this theory was poet Einar Benediktsson, who recruited painter Kjarval to sketch the etchings on the wall. He also got Matthías Jochumson, the parish pastor at Oddi, to conduct a mass in Kirkjuhellir.

A total of twelve caves are known in the Ægissíða farmland. Several are currently accessible, but most are either closed or dangerous to access. All the caves are privately owned, so they cannot be accessed without the permission of the occupants.

For years, the caves have been a popular destination for travellers, with the most popular of them being Fjóshellir. Fjóshellir consists of a tall and wide dome. The ceiling is higher at the end of the cave, and its shape is reminiscent of an altar or chapel. There is an embossed cross on the middle of the cave wall, an indication that Christians dwelt there.

The caves have not yet been dated with any accuracy, and scholars disagree as to whether the caves can reasonably be assumed to pre-date the settlement period.

For years, the caves were used as shelter for livestock or to store hay. Fjóshellir was used as a barn for the Ægissíða cowshed. The cave was linked to the cowshed by rail, and the hay was pulled in a cart along the tracks.

Nature
0.73 km
Ægissíðuhellir

Many believe that the man-made caves in Ægissíða date from before Norse settlement in Iceland and that Celtic monks resided there. One of those who believed this theory was poet Einar Benediktsson, who recruited painter Kjarval to sketch the etchings on the wall. He also got Matthías Jochumson, the parish pastor at Oddi, to conduct a mass in Kirkjuhellir.

A total of twelve caves are known in the Ægissíða farmland. Several are currently accessible, but most are either closed or dangerous to access. All the caves are privately owned, so they cannot be accessed without the permission of the occupants.

For years, the caves have been a popular destination for travellers, with the most popular of them being Fjóshellir. Fjóshellir consists of a tall and wide dome. The ceiling is higher at the end of the cave, and its shape is reminiscent of an altar or chapel. There is an embossed cross on the middle of the cave wall, an indication that Christians dwelt there.

The caves have not yet been dated with any accuracy, and scholars disagree as to whether the caves can reasonably be assumed to pre-date the settlement period.

For years, the caves were used as shelter for livestock or to store hay. Fjóshellir was used as a barn for the Ægissíða cowshed. The cave was linked to the cowshed by rail, and the hay was pulled in a cart along the tracks.

Nature
16.58 km
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
24.57 km
Ásavegur - trail

The trail Ásavegur used to be an important highway through the South of Iceland. This centuries-old man-made route would be used by people from different directions to go fishing, for example, or to collect their sheep and cattle from the mountains. Between Orrustudal and Hnaus is a marked hiking trail along the old Ásavegur trail which is about a 6 km. walk. On this trail is the highest point of Flóahreppur with breathtaking views in all directions. Information signs on Orrustudalur (The Valley of Battles), Skotmannshóll (Archer's Hill) and Mannabeinsmelur (The Human Bone Field) are located at different points during the hike. These locations are a great part of Icelandic history. Here is the stage of Flóamanna-Saga, two big battles were fought in Orrustudalur valley and from Skotmannshóll or Archer's Hill came one of the greatest bowshots in the saga

History and Culture
0.31 km
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 2020.

Nature
0.31 km
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.

History and Culture
19.96 km
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
19.11 km
Urridafoss Waterfall

Urriðafoss is a waterfall in Þjórsá River. Þjórsá is Iceland's longest river, 230 km, and Urriðafoss is the most voluminous waterfall in the country. This mighty river drops down (360 m3/sec) by the edge of Þjórsárhraun lava field in beautiful and serene surroundings. Þjórsárhraun lava field is the result of the greatest lava flow on earth since the Ice Age. Located right off highway 1.

Nature
17.66 km
Tjorsa river

Þjórsá is the longest river in Iceland, 230 km, and has a catchment area of 8000 km². Þjórsá is a glacier river and its source is Hofsjökull glacier. On its way to the sea it falls off some cliffs in many places and there forms beautiful waterfalls. Some of these waterfalls are well-known, but some others are unknown pearls to discover, especially those in the highlands. The waterfall Thjofafoss in Thjorsá south of the hill Búrfell is well known and easy to reach.

In winter the river can gather up huge quantities of ice that had settled at its bottom and in spring, when the ice melts in Þjórsá canyons below Urriðafoss waterfall, the river breaks through the ice which is a magnificent sight to behold.

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