Travel in Iceland – Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
We, as a family have decided to spend some days camping in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, to explore the area of Skaftárhreppur. It is said that Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the centre of the South and if you want to encounter the earth, water, air and fire, you have arrived to the right place.
We stayed four nights in the camp site at Kirkjubæjarklaustur and it was definitely a surprise place to camp. The area is protected by woods from strong winds and secured by a gate and a ranger. It is large place! The grass fields is everywhere so not a big deal to set up your tent. The camp is equipped with electricity, hot water, shared kitchen facilities and warm showers (5 min cost 6x50kr). It includes also a laundry house. Wi-Fi is available and it is free of charge. There is playground for the little ones too.
While some of you have not had enough walks for the day you can climb up the mountain ridge set the foot of the camp site. There is a path to walk up and the view from the top is beautiful.
The opening hours are daily from 17:00 to 22:00 in the summer (June – September) and the phone is picked up outside the opening hours. The staff is very friendly and helpful and if you forgot a gas, they have some to sell.
Skaftárhreppur has been shaped by fire, lava flow, wind and water and it is definitely one of the most scenery place to visit. Klaustur trail is the one to start with. It takes you to the geosites of Systrastapi (Sister´s Rock), Systravatn (Sister´s lake), Systrafoss (Sister´s waterfall) and the Kirkjugólfið (The Church Floor). The word „sisters“is used in many site names and that´s because Kirkjubæjarklaustur used to be a convent of Benedictine nuns from 1186 until the Reformation in 1550. Klaustur trail is about 7 – 8 hours to walk and you can start at few points and make it shorter. We started our walk by Systrafoss (Sister´s waterfall). The waterfall is surrounded by woods with several walking paths. You can find the highest tree in Iceland there! On the way you can find a cave where the sisters used to sing for the monks (sing a song there!) and the Sister´s lake (Systravatn). The sisters used to walk up there to bath. One story tells that once two sisters saw a hand raising up from the water holding a golden brush. When they tried to reach out the brush, no one saw them again. From the sisters´ lake you can continue on the top of the mountain ridge towards the east, walk down and look at the Church Floor on the way.
It is also possible to download Locatify SmartGuide app to get a geology, landscaping and history trail of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and the surroundings.
Just about 20min drive from the camp, on the road nr. You can walk around the stunning and massive Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon was created by progressive erosion by flowing water from glaciers through the rocks over a long period of time, some say 9000 years ago. This magnificent canyon is placed at the foot of the Vatnajökull national park. It is about 2km long and 100m deep. The walking path has been made along one site of the top of the canyon with a few viewpoints. The walk will takes you up to 1 hours (forward and back) and it is easy. The canyon gained popularity after Justin Bieber featured it in his 2015 music video “I’ll Show You”. The number of visitors to the canyon has spiked since then. It accessible without a 4x4 and it is wise to check the information on the www.safetravel.is since the canyon may be closed from late September to early June due to the flora protection.