Light in the North

Hólar Keeps History Alive

Hólar’s small population belies its importance in Icelandic history. With nine centuries of history, it would need days to delve into its past and its achievements. Christianity’s early efforts at instilling a strong educational spirit began with a Latin school a Cathedral school, continuing in its small university of about 250 students today. Iceland’s first printing press was brought to Hólar to print Bibles and books for the nation.

Until the unification of the bishoprics in 1798, Hólar was the bishop’s seat for North Iceland. Its church has featured prominently in its history and is traced to 1106. The current church, built in 1763, houses relics from its famous past.

A Haven of History, Beauty and Culture

Set deep in a remote and beautiful historic valley, surrounded by forested hills, lives a community of 200 people along with students and staff of the college. It is a popular stop for travelling Icelanders, whether for accommodation, the swimming pool, the church, the Icelandic Horse History Centre or the restaurant.

Small, fully equipped cottages and rooms are available to rent year round and can house 100 people in the summer. A campsite is serenaded by a chorus of birdsong whilst sheltered by trees protecting guests from the wind.

Combine Exercise and Relaxation

Exploring the various hiking routes around Hólar is especially popular. Hiking tours are organised from Hólar that include accommodation, food, driving, access to swimming pool and guiding.

For example, a one day tour consists of walking an old route over the heath of Heljardalur. This route used to be the main cross-over from Eyjafjörður and Akureyri to the bishop’s seat and school at Hólar.

A longer tour consists of three day trips from Hólar, one slightly lighter one while the other two are invigorating walks to the neighbouring Grasárdalshnjúkur and Hólabyrða mountains.

After the walks, hikers get the chance to relax stiff muscles in the geothermally heated swimming pool and enjoy the fine wining and dining at Hólar.

The Restaurant Under the Mountain

Undir Byrdunni, a restaurant meaning ‘Under the Mountain’, provides a summer buffet and local specialities like Hólableikja, made from locally-caught arctic char. Coffee is served throughout the day and the lunch, dinner and grill menus attract visitors from a wide radius, as it is a popular restaurant all year round.