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Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Skaftárhreppur District
While on the road travelling east, you might well stop at Kirkjubæjarklaustur to fill your car with petrol, and looking around, immediately dismiss it as not worth bothering with and drive onwards. You would be very mistaken! There are a thousand years of history waiting to be discovered in these parts. There are pearls and gems of beautiful waterfalls to behold. Walk along black sand beaches that give way to the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean to the south while the Vatnajökull Glacier dominates the northern horizon.
An ecclesiastical history
With a population of only 150, Kirkubæjarklaustur is a peaceful village on the south central coast of Iceland. Affectionately referred to as “Klaustur” for short, the town is the service area for the whole district of Skaftárhreppur and is easily accessible from ring road #1. In 1186, a Benedictine convent was founded at  Kirkjubær which was active until it disbanded during the Reformation in  1550. Many local place names and folk tales reflect the presence of the nuns  and the ecclesiastical history down the centuries. Because of it’s relatively ‘southern’ location, the region enjoys mild winters and often rather warm and sunny summers comprising one of the most geologically young and exciting volcanic areas on Earth!
Geo-Tourism at its best: Stay and explore!

•    Kirkjugólf or ‘Church Floor’ is an 80m2 protected natural monument, just east of Klaustur, made of columnar basalt formations that curiously resemble laid hexagonal shaped tiles, and hence the name.
•    Systrastapi - a steep rocky hill where legend has it that a couple of nuns got into trouble about 1,000 years ago...
•    Systrafoss - ‘Sisters Falls.’ Beautiful twin waterfalls surrounded by towering 65 year-old pines. Located right in the town of Klaustur. The picnic area is frequented by young and old alike in this romantic and scenic part of Klaustur.
•    Eldgjá or ‘fire canyon’ - This is a spectacular volcanic canyon 270m deep, 600m wide and over 70 kms long - accessible in summer and autumn only.
•    Fjaðrárgljúfur - a dramatic canyon with unusual and extravagant rock formations and beautiful views - accessible all year round.
•    Geo Hikes - a brand new 20 km marked hiking trail circles Klaustur with informative signs giving insight as to how the unique geology in the area is constantly evolving - starts in Spring 2011.
The Gift of Silence
With only 0.065 inhabitants per square km and 15.5 km per person,
Skaftárhreppur district is the perfect place to relax and unwind. You
have practically the whole place to yourself! Fresh mountain air, fresh glacial water and with more sheep than people, you will truly be ‘at ease with the elements.’ 

Photo:Ingibjörg Eiríksdóttir
This is life in Klaustur - Skaftárhreppur District.

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