Hvítá is a river which source is in the glacier lake Hvítárvatn at Langjökull glacier in the highlands of Iceland. Hvítá is one of the largest rivers in Iceland, total length 160 km, with a catchment area up to 6100 km² and the flow of water reaches about 266 m3/sek. The river flows for 40 km before dropping down into a narrow gorge at the Gullfoss waterfall. Then the river runs down through the flatlands near Grímsnes and behind Ingólfsfjall mountain. Just north of the town Selfoss it joins the Sog river. After that the combined rivers are called Ölfusá (about 25 km from sea) as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Laugardælir is a small settlement near the town of Selfoss. Laugardælir was one of Iceland’s busiest ferry site until the bridge was built across Ölfusá in Selfoss in 1891. Laugardælir-church was built in 1965. It was made of concrete and is in total 300 m2. In the graveyard of Laugardælir-church is the burial site of former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer (1943-2008). More pictures here.
Hraungerði. Church, manor and former assembly. The first settlement of Hróðgerður the Wise, father of Oddverjar. Hraungerði’s church is first mentioned in the files of Páll, bishop from about 1200 and since then there have been numerous churches in Hraungerði. Current church was designed by architect Eiríkur Gíslason from Bitra and was established in 1902. More pictures here.
Einbúi, Oddgeirshólar. Beutiful rock hills on the banks of Hvítá-river. Sports- and outdoor recreational area of the youth association Baldur.
Flóaáveitan are canals that run through of the entire Floi, from Ölfusá in the west to the Thjórsá-river in the east. This mighty work consisted of a 300 km long canals and 900 km of embankments. Floi-irrigation system reached over 12 thousand hectares of land and became a major transition in farming and production in the area at the time. The constructions of Flói-irrigation system began in 1922 and started its activities in 1927. When Flóaáveitan was inaugurated in 1927, it was one of the greatest structure in Europe. Still to this day it plays an important role in conveying water between farms. Beside the sluice gate you find information board with more information about Flói irrigation system. To the east from the sluice gate is a marked hiking trail along Hvítá (about 4,4 km walk, one way).
Dælarétt is an ancient sheep pound in a beautiful environment, built from rocks of the great Þjórsálava. Dælarétt is considered the oldest sheep pound of the country and has now been preserved. Close by are earthquake fissure. Beware.
Þjórsá is the mightiest river in Iceland, 230 km long and has a water span of 8000 km². Þjórsá is a glacier river which main source is from Hofsjökull glacier. In winter, the river can gather up huge quantities of ice at it’s bottom. It is magnificent to look at the canyon of Þjórsá below Urriðafoss waterfall in spring when the ice melts and the river breaks through.
Urriðafoss. The voluminous waterfall of Iceland, were Þjórsá river falls off the margin of Þjórsárhraun lava field (360 m3/sek) in beautiful and peaceful environment. Þjórsárhraun lava field is the greatest lava flow on earth since ice age. Located right off highway 1.
Kambur. Where the notorious robbery, Kambsrán, was committed in 1827. Four of perpetrators looted the town by night, tied the farmer Hjörtur Jónsson and his people and broke up containers in search of money. They plundered about 1000 state bucks. The thieves left behind signs and it was Þuríður chairman who helped on the case.
Ásavegur. The trail Ásavegur used to be an important highway through the South of Iceland. This is the route that people used, coming from all diffrent directions to do business, such as fishing and to collect their sheep and cattle from the mountains. This is one of the trails made by people centuries ago. A marked hiking trail along the old Ásavegur-trail is between Orrustudal og Hnaus (about 6 km walk). On this trail is the highest point of Flóahreppur with a breathtaking view in all direction. 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 piece of our history. Here is the stage of Flóamanna-Saga. In Orrustudalur valley two big battles were fought. From Skotmannshóll or Archer’s Hill came one of the greatest bowshots in the sagas.
Skagás is a beautiful forestry. Please don’t leave garbage behind and note that barbequing is only allowed at a specially marked place due to fire hazard.
Kolsgarður is an ancient path made of turf and is believed to be from the 10th century. Kolur from Kolsholti made this path so he could meet Ragnheiður from Ragnheiðarstaðir. Still to day you can identify the path in the landscape.
Þingdalur is a former assembly of the country, since settlement, but is now deserted. Þingdalur stands high and has a beautiful view in all directions. Beside the farm is a forest where the congress was before. Þingdalur is also the last known residence of the ghost Kampholts-Móri.
Villingaholt. A church and the home of great Saga writer Jón Erlendsson (who lived in the 17th century). Later a home of Jón Gestsson (1863-1945), from whom a family of inventors and craftsmen has descended. The present church was built in the years 1910-1911 by Jón Gestsson. The church has a tower, choir loft and seats for 100 people. If you walk south on the plot next to the school you will see an old hill, where the old church and the farm stood before. Because of erosion and heavy damage of the southland quakes in 1784, they were moved to the current location. More pictures here.
Ferjunes. An ancient ferry place across Þjórsá-river.
Fljótshólar. The greatest panorama in all of Iceland.
Loftstaðir. An ancient fishing station. Stories tell of the great magician Galdra-Ögmundur, who lived there around 1600. On a hill nearby, Loftstaðahóll, is a huge and ancient stone cairn.
Gaulverjabær. Church and manor since ancient times. A colonist from Norway took his place here and is the place named after the men from Gaular in Norway, which is a province of Sogn og Fjordane. In 1930 an important collection of 360 silver coins from the first century of icelandic settlement was found here. The present church was built in 1909. More pictures here.
Timburhóll. A beautiful forestry with an outdoor grill. A memorial of great painter Ásgrímur Jónsson. Please take care of fire and avoid littering.
Rútsstaða-Suðurkot. The birth place of the artist Ásgrímur Jónsson. He was one of the pioneers of Icelandic art and the first Icelander to take up painting professionally. Ásgrímur was born on the 4th of March in 1876. He lived in Copenhagen 1897-1908, studying at the Royal Academy of Art 1900-1903. More detail here.
Austur-Meðalholt, is the site of a typical traditional farmhouse in the south Iceland style from the latter pat of 19th century. Since few such farmhouses remain in Iceland and none in this district, a dedicated effort has been made to develop and conserve it. The farmhouse tradition embodies an important element of Icelandic history and the Icelandic way of life over the centuries.
The Creamery at Baugstaðir. South Iceland used to be the lagest dairy production region in the country and the creamery at Baugstaðir is now the only one left standing from that period, built in 1905. There you can see all the tools of the creamery trade that blossomed in the decades after 1900. The creamery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 13 – 18 in July and August and by arrangement.