Hotel Edda Laugarbakki
Where Battles were Fought
The sports hall at Hotel Edda Laugarbakki
Hotel Edda Laugarbakki is located at the base of the Midfjorður fjord, halfway between Reykjavík and Akureyri. An area rich in history, this region was once the scene of jousting tournaments, according to the Icelandic Sagas. It is now an altogether more peaceful place, with the secluded Vatnsnes peninsula where it is easy to see seals, brooding basalt cliffs and the bull-shaped Hvítserkur rock exuding natural calm. Rest and relaxation is to be found among the region’s hot springs and one of Iceland’s most famous salmon fishing rivers runs close by the hotel.
- 28 rooms with in-room washbasins
- Sleeping bag accommodation available
- On-site restaurant
- Sports hall
- Meeting rooms
- WIFI in public areas for a minimum fee
- Opening dates: 12 June - 18 August 2013
- Please note that on closing day we close at noon, last guests check in the day before.
Activities around the hotel:
- Swimming pool with hot tubs (10 km away)
- Hot tubs (1 km away)
- Superb salmon fishing
- Lake and river angling
- Bird watching
- Historic timber church
- Medieval remains
- Seal watching
Please contact us for further information.
Hotel Edda Laugarbakki has a total of 28 double and triple rooms with in-room washbasins and shared bathroom facilities.
Sleeping bag accommodation available as well.
Price for accommodation
At Hotel Edda Laugarbakki is a dining room for 60 people.
Treat yourself to our plentiful breakfast buffet in the early hours. Wholesome bread, oat meal, fresh fruits, cereal, coffee, tea and waffles to drive up your energy for an eventful day.
- Price 1.650 ISK pr. person
- Half price for 6-12 years old
- Free for 5 years old and younger
We offer the same menu both at lunch and dinner. The dinner is served from 6:30 PM -9:00 PM. The bar is open until 11:00 PM
For a group of people please call for reservation in advance.
Edda on the go - Create your own Edda bite from our fridge.
Laugarbakki is a tiny village with a population of 64 on the banks of the river Midfjardara. The river is one of the most popular salmon rivers in Iceland. The name Laugarbakki refers to geothermal water. (Laug means warm spring). Geothermal energy is used here for greenhouse cultivation and local space heating. Laugarbakki has supplied Hvammstangi, 8 km away to the north, with geothermal heat since 1972. The saga of Grettir the Strong, which is one of the Icelandic family sagas, tells of horse fights at Laugarbakki. South of Laugarbakki (about 7 km) is the farm Bjarg where Grettir was born in the 10th century. There is easy access to popular fishing areas on Arnarvatnsheidi (Eagle Hills) from Laugarbakki, where you can also purchase fishing licenses.
Major Points of Interest
Hvammstangi is the most densely populated area in the district (pop. 560). It is a service and administrative centre for the farming community. Hvammstangi has been a trading place since 1895. The harbor is excellent. Shrimp and lump fish are the main seafood products. Light industries like knitting and sewing are doing well. There is a fine handicraft store in the village named Bardusa. Hvammstangi also has a good swimming pool. The old church is in the care of the National Museum. Next to it is the only workable watermill in Iceland. Visit the Icelandic Seal Center. There you can learn about seals, folklore and various superstitions relating to seals. The largest seal colonies in Iceland are on the peninsula Vatnsnes. A new venture for this summer (2010) is seal watching by boat. The schedule has not been published at the time of writing this so kindly ask the Hotel´s reception about the timetable.
A tour around Vatnsnes is well worth the effort. The road however is gravel so drive with caution. Do take some food (e.g. Edda On the Go picnic lunch) with you and enjoy a picnic stop for example at Hvitserkur on the east side (see below). The distance from Laugarbakki and around the peninsula is 94 km (58 miles). It is easy to get close to the seals and observe them in many places on Vatnsnes. Examples of such places are Illugastadir north from Hvammstangi, and Osar on the east side.
The farm Illugastadir is about 25 km (16 miles) north of Hvammstangi on road 711. Facilities have been built to make it easy for you to watch the seals. The seals are here all year round but to a lesser extent during the birth of the pups (May to beginning of June). There is a walking path down to a small cape on the beach and the seals are on the skerries in front of you. The seals are very curious animals and they will swim close to the beach to watch you. At the annual seal counting on August 25th last year there were 60 seals on the skerries near Illugastadir. The area is closed from the beginning of May until June 29th due to the nesting season of the Eiders. Illugastadir is one of the largest breeding places for Eiders in Iceland.
A few kilometers north of Illugastadir is the old church-stead Tjorn. The last pastor at Tjorn was reverend Robert Jack, from Scotland, who had previously served in Grimsey and New Iceland in Canada. He wrote the books "Arctic Living“(1965) and "Biography“ (1974). There has been a church here since Catholic times. Across the bay Hunafloi you have a view to the Strandir district.
Hindisvik was the northernmost farm on Vatnsnes. It is now abandoned. Reverend Sigurdur Norland (1885-1971) lived in Hindisvik and served the Tjorn parish for many years. The reverend was a very intelligent man and studied at the University of Iceland and was granted a BA in the Greek language at the age of 74. He was also refreshing his knowledge of Hebrew. The reverend wrote many poems and verses in English. He was also a horse breeder and his horses were known as the Hindisvik stock. Here is one of his verses: She is fine as morn‘ in May Mild, divine and clever Like a shiny summer day She is mine forever It is about his favorite mare! Norland was active in protecting the seals in Hindisvik. Hindisvik was once the best observation spot for watching seals but the traffic got so heavy that the farm had to be closed off. The seals were leaving.
Hvitserkur is a 15m high, massive monolith, which stands just offshore between the abandoned farm Suluvellir and the farm Osar on the east side of Vatnsnes (see map). Hvitserkur looks like a giant monster drinking out of the ocean. Many species of seabirds live here and the rock shows their marks as it is white from bird excrements. The seals at Vatnsnes migrate between Hvitserkur and Hindisvik. Hvitserkur is one of the most accessible seal breeding grounds in Iceland. Don´t miss it. A platform has been made to make it easier to observe the seal colony.
Thingeyrar was a manor farm of great historical importance. The church-stead is approximately 40 km (25 miles) from Laugarbakki. Drive on road 1 and make a left turn onto road 721 in Vatnsdalur (see map). This farm has more land than most farms in Iceland. Salmon and seals are among the benefits. A monastery was established here in 1134. It was the first monastery in Iceland. Many manuscripts were written here and among them the history of King Sverrir of Norway. The story was written by the Abbott Karl Jonsson. The monk Oddur Snorrason wrote the history of King Olav Tryggvason of Norway. The church standing here now is among the most remarkable churches in the country. The church was constructed from 1864 until 1877. Every effort was made to make it as beautiful as possible. The stones were dragged on ice across the lagoon Hop. The interior decoration is spectacular. Many valuable pieces from older churches are in the church including some from the 15th century.
The church has 1000 small window panes and 1000 golden stars in the ceiling. Sheriff Lauritz Gottorp gave the pulpit in 1696. It is most likely Dutch. Gottorp also donated the baptismal in 1667. It is a unique piece of art. The chalice and paten were given to the church by Johann Gottorp, son of Lauritz. Some artifacts from the church are kept in the National Museum. The farm Steinnes looks after the church now and permits entry. The church and the visitor´s centre, Klausturstofa (Monastery room), are open from June 1st until August 31st from 10 am until 5 pm.
Diversions off the beaten Track
Vatnsdalur, South of Thingeyrar, is close to the intersection of road 721 and road 1 (about 40 km from Laugarbakki). This is an excellent spot for a picnic. The numerous hills in the mouth of the valley are a result of a giant rock-slide from the mountain across the valley. On road 722 which is a continuation of 721 is Thordisarlundur (grove). This is also a good area to stop and rest for awhile. The river is one of the best salmon rivers in Iceland. The fishing lodge is close to Thordisarlundur. This wooded grove was planted in memory of Thordis the daughter of Ingimundur the Old who was the first settler in Vatnsdalur. The Age of Settlement was from 870 until 930. Rock-slides are frequent and one destroyed the farm Skidastadir in 1545 killing 14 people. A folk tale with the same name is about this event. In the western part of the hills are three small hillocks called Thristapar (Three Peaks). The last execution in Iceland took place here on January 12th 1830 when Fridrik Sigurdsson and Agnes Magnusdottir were beheaded for murdering the farmer Natan Ketilsson and his visitor Petur Jonsson.
To visit Bjarg, drive south from Laugarbakki about 7 km (4 miles) to the farm Bjarg. Grettir Asmundarson the Strong, the hero of Grettis Saga, was born here in the 10th century. A memorial for Asdis his mother is here, but she had to endure many difficulties because of his behavior. He was mad and an outlaw and he roamed around Iceland for twenty years or until he and his brother Illugi were killed on the island Drangey in 1030. A small hillock in the home field of Bjarg is where the head of Grettir was interred. It is a protected spot. A trial of strength is held here every year at the Grettir´s Festival for the Grettir‘s trophy.
Kola of Kolugljufur
Kolugil is about 16 km (10 miles) from Laugarbakki close to Vididalsa. The river flows peacefully down a magnificent ravine about 20 to 25 meters deep, which is known as Kolugljufur. There are two waterfalls named after the troll-woman Kola. The falls are called Kolufossar (Kola´s falls). Walk close to the ravine and see the peaceful river plunge in impressive falls. Kola´s bed is in the ravine and she only had to reach down to grab a salmon for breakfast. By all means be careful and don´t go too close to the rim of the ravine. There are information signs at the ravine and tourist faceilities.
The Skidastadir-Girl and the Raven
This is a story about a farmer at Skidastadir who was rich but a miser and kept his people hard at work. The women could only cook on Sundays. The ladies had to work outside during the week They were not allowed to go to church or read the Bible. One Sunday a good number of people from farms on the west side of the district saw a man in white walk on top of the mountain above the farm. He struck the mountain with his staff and a huge rock-slide fell down and buried the farm Skidastadir. Only one little girl survived. She had been a good worker and kind to beggars and the hungry people who roamed the district. She also fed a raven regularly. The raven was very fond of her and followed her every step outside the farm. This particular morning when she wanted to feed the raven scrapings from the pot as was her custom he ran away from her. She put the scraping on a rock as usual but the raven flew further down the field. This went on a few times and the girl always followed the bird trying to feed it. When the landslide fell they were far away from the farm and the rock-slide did not reach them.
Somewhere for the Wicked
The island of Drangey in Skagafjordur is a 180m high basalt rock which can only be climbed in one place. It is known for its large seabird colony. Drangey has often been called the pantry of Skagafjordur because framers used to hunt birds there by the thousands – up to about 200.000 in a single spring. Grettir the Strong in Grettis Saga and his brother Illugi were slain there in 1030. Many folk tales have been written about Drangey. One for example tells about two night trolls who lived at Hegranes in Skagafjordur. They wanted to take the cow to Strandir to be serviced by a bull there. They started the journey but were late and dawn broke and they turned into rocks. The crag on the west of the island is the giant, the island Drangey is the cow, and the rock on the east side is the troll-woman. Many farmers lost their life when gathering eggs in Drangey. It often seemed suspicious and it appeared that their ropes had been cut. This was blamed on a monster who did not want humans to be dangling in his cliffs. The good Bishop Gudmundur Arason went out to the island with holy water and clergymen. When he started consecrating the cliffs a huge hand appeared with a sword and started cutting the rope and a voice was heard saying: "No more blessings, Bishop Gvendur. Leave a place for the wicked.“ The Bishop stopped and had himself pulled up to the top. Part of the cliffs still keeps the name Heidnaberg (Heathen´s Cliff) and there are more birds there than anywhere else on Drangey. We recommend the book: A Travelers Guide to Icelandic Folk Tales by Jon R. Hjalmarsson
Hotel Edda Laugarbakki
- Laugarbakki, 531 Hvammstangi
Phone: (+354) 444 4920Booking center: (+354) 444 4000
GPS Coordinates:65° 19,619'N, 20° 53,492'W
Opening hours:12 June - 18 August
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