From Iceland — Skriðuklaustur: Glaciers, Catholics And German Architecture

Skriðuklaustur: Glaciers, Catholics And German Architecture

Published August 9, 2011

A twenty-five minute drive out of Egilsstaðir along Lagarfljót lake will take you to Skriðuklaustur, which is a unique destination for those travelling the East. The ravishing environment will provide the wide-eyed traveller with plenty to look at, while those who wish to learn about local history will have a field day in the area.

Skriðuklaustur is the site of an old manor farm, and it is mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas. It was the site of Iceland’s last built catholic monastery (founded in 1493), which operated a hospital, a children’s school and a church in its heyday. Later, the area became the adopted home of once-legendary Icelandic author Gunnar Gunnarsson, who in 1939 built himself and his wife quite an impressive house which was designed by German architect Fritz Höger.

The building is quite unique by Icelandic standards and is a nice site to visit. Skriðuklaustur is now a cultural and research centre. It houses an exhibit devoted to Gunnar and his life work, and also Kaffi Klaustur, a restaurant that specialises in delicacies made out of local materials, like the area’s berries and mushrooms—and its reindeer meat.

Skriðuklaustur is also the site of an ongoing archaeological excavation. Guided tours of the site are given every day at 13:30, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30. The tours cost 300 ISK for adults, but are free for children.

Vatnajökull National Park is also represented at Skriðuklaustur, in the form of the highly stylised Snæfellsstofa Visitors Centre, which opened in June of 2010 and has been serving delicious glacial information to tourists as well as hosting exhibits on the area.

Kverkfjöll and Snæfell are the most renowned destinations within the east territory of Vatnajökull National Park. Both are located in the highlands north of Vatnajökull and a 4×4 vehicle is required to get there. Don’t have a 4×4 vehicle? There’s always the centre!

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