The Centre of the South
One hour east of Vík-í-Mýrdal, you will come to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, or just Klaustur as its usually called, a tiny village set on the edge of an ancient lava field. Part of Katla UNESCO Global Geopark and Vatnajökull National Park, it’s like driving into an open-air natural history museum—springy hummocks of woolly fringe moss and conical volcanic mounds topped with little vents, called rootless cones, dominate the landscape for as far as the eye can see. The entire region is bursting with mysterious tales connected with events that occurred hundreds of years ago when Klaustur was the site of a convent. It’s home to the greatest lava flow from a single volcanic eruption in the history of the world, the Laki Eruption of 1783-1784. Exciting stuff indeed and just waiting to be discovered!
Yes there’s an app for that!
Now you can take a guided tour of the area using Locatify’s SmartGuide, a downloadable audio-guide app, which takes you to 26 locations all connected to the Laki Eruption. Available in English and Icelandic, the app can be accessed by GPS from anywhere using your smartphone. There is also a SmartGuide that covers the 20 km Klaustur trail or you can get a detailed brochure with a map of the route at the Skaftárstofa Information Centre in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
Design your own nature souvenir
A fun activity that is unique to Kirkjubæjarklaustur is called ‘Natural Treasure’. From local shops and hotels you can purchase a special glass bottle with a map that leads you to a little turf house filled with samples of moss, air, lava, lichen and wool, which are sustainable and have been collected with approval. Fill your bottle with a sample of your choosing, which will then be officially sealed and voilà!—you have designed your very own souvenir to take home with you. The Icelandic team at HAF Design, in collaboration with visitklaustur.is, has created this unique-to-Iceland tourism concept.
See you in Kirkjubæjarklaustur—The Centre of the South