"Hólar bishopric in Hjaltadalur valley." Hjaltadalur by Regina1965

Hjaltadalur Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 48 photos

Hólar bishopric in Hjaltadalur valley.

Hólar in Hjaltadalur is such a special place in Iceland and one of the best known historical sites here and is very dear to us Icelanders. To me it is one of the most special places in Iceland :D And very welcoming, the sign by the road says "Velkomin heim að Hólum" or Welcome home to Hólar :)

For ca 700 years Hólar used to be the capital of the north until Akureyri got that title. From 1106-1801 Hólar was the one of 2 bishopric in Iceland - The Northern bishopric and the educational capital of the north. The Agricultural school at Hólar has been operating since 1881. And there has been a University at Hólar since 2003.

The population of Hólar is ca 100 people but in the winter-time ca 200. The University specializes in horse-breeding and horse-riding, fish-farming and fish-biology, and tourism. There are a lot of student housing at Hólar.

Hólar bishopric in Hjaltadalur valley.

What you can see at Hólar is Hólakirkja Cathedral from 1763, Nýibær turf-house from 1854 and Auðun's log-house. And there are concerts in the Cathedral on every Sunday at 14:00.

And there are lovely walks here and a lot of things to see. One of the walk takes you up the mountain to Gvendarskál, where Guðmundur góði Arason, who was bishop at Hólar in 1203-1237, used to go and pray. On the top of the mountain is an altar and a guestbook. I walked up to the mountain, but didn't get to the altar. It is a relatively easy walk but when you reach the top it gets rocky and on the top it is rocky and a relatively long walk to the altar.

Hólar bishopric in Hjaltadalur valley.

At Hólar there are lovely small houses for rent, I stayed there 2 nights, see my tip under accommodation here. And again for 1 night in the same cottage in 2013. There is also a good camp-site in the woods.

The Hólar bishopric spans from Hrútafjörður down to Djúpivogur with more than 100 churches and parishes.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:One of the best known historical places in Iceland.
  • Last visit to Hjaltadalur: Jul 2013
  • Intro Updated Mar 30, 2014
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Reviews (10)

Comments (8)

  • Odiseya's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Thank you for this virtual traveling and lessons in Icelandic tradition and history! I loving it!
    I have a feeling like I read a fantasy novel! .

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Nov 10, 2013 at 4:33 AM

      Thanks, Aleksrandra, I love this place, it is so magical to me :)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    The hotel looks wonderful. The cathedral is so pretty, especially with such beautiful backdrops. Nice page Regina!

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Aug 29, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      Thank you, Dee - I love this place, was up there with my mother last month and we stayed in one of the guest-houses there :)

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I enjoy reading your pages on Iceland, so filled with history.
    I was just thinking of how amazing that tower would look with the midnight sun!

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      May 3, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      Yes, it is filled with Viking history. The picture of the tower was taken late at night in June, so this is as close as it gets to being the midnight sun :)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Hólar looks like a lovely place, both for long walks and for Icelandic history!

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Dec 29, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      Yes, it is a very important place in Icelandic history and the surroundings are great.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Another lovely place in Iceland. Those turf houses look great, but I’m sure you’re right that it wouldn’t have been easy living in one of them. Great views from the top of Mt. Gvendarskàl!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Another lovely page! I love the Turf houses, you would hardly know they were there!

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Sep 6, 2012 at 4:55 AM

      Yes, me too, love the turf houses, would not have wanted to live in one though.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    Another great page with absolutely stunning photos. Fantastic colours here. I especially like your accommodation tip.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Love your photo's and the history. Keep them coming! Excellent page!


“Bon Voyage :)”

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