The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

I want to show you a beautiful area in South-Iceland called Fljótshlíð.  It is a Viking area and the scene of the Saga of Njáll, which is sometimes referred to as the Queen of the Icelandic Sagas.  You will maybe notice a sign as you enter Fljótshlíð, on which is written "Á Njáluslóðum" - meaning that you are now entering the region of the Saga of Njáll. 

The Saga of Njáll is one of the best known of the Icelandic Sagas and the longest one. It took place around the millennium of 1000 in the Rangárþing region and is the only one of the Sagas which took place in South-Iceland. It tells the story of the good friends, Gunnar at Hlíðarendi and Njáll of BergþórshvollGunnar's enemies end up killing him, and Njáll and his wife and sons are burned to death in their home. It is a story about battle, power struggle, passionate love and deceit.

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

I visited Hlíðarendi, the home of one of the main characters of the Saga of Njáll, Gunnar Hámundarson and his wife Hallgerður "langbrók" Höskuldsdóttir

At Hlíðarendi there is a beautiful church and an information sign on Gunnar and the Saga of Njáll.

Gunnar at Hlíðarendi was one of the great warriors of the Icelandic sagas and it is said that nobody was his equal. It is also said that he was so agile that he could jump his own height in full armour!

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

Gunnar was killed at Hlíðarendi and buried in a grave-mound there. Rather than leaving Iceland as an outlaw he chose to stay in Iceland and die honourably fighting. The story goes that when he had been sentenced to exile and was riding to the ship, he stopped and looked back at his home, and said: "Fögur er hlíðin svo að mér hefir hún aldrei jafnfögur sýnst, bleikir akrar en slegin tún og mun eg ríða heim aftur og fara hvergi." - meaning that because of the beauty of the hill and the scene he would not leave. 

Gunnar was a renowned archer and when asked, his wife Hallgerður "langbrók" refused to give him a lock from her long hair to use as a bowstring to defend himself against his enemies - Gunnar had earlier slapped her in the face and by refusing to give him a lock from her hair she was getting even for the slap! And thus contributed to his death.

What I would like to see at Hlíðarendi is a statue of Gunnar, I think that would be an additional attraction to visit this historical area.

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

You can learn about the characters in the Saga of Njáll at Sögusetrið - Njál's Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur village. At the Njál's Saga Centre you will also find Njálurefillinn - the Njál's Saga Tapestry which I have written about in another blog. 

The goal is to sew the main events of the Saga of Njáll in the tapestry.  Everybody can contribute to the sewing against a small participation fee.

Gluggafoss - Window Falls

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

There is a beautiful waterfall in Fljótshlíð, Gluggafoss waterfall or the Window Falls - a very special waterfall, which is cherish and love to visit. The name, Gluggafoss, stems from the holes in the cliffs, through which the waterfall spouts. The river Merkjá has formed tunnels in the tuff rock and with times holes formed, looking like windows.

The appearance of Gluggafoss has changed with time as the tuff rock is so soft. It changed even more when the nearby volcano Hekla erupted in 1947.

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

Gluggafoss is ca 45 meter's high and is declared as protected. I have written another travel-blog on Gluggafossas there are several other waterfalls further up, which I visited. It is a short, a bit steep, hike up a hill with beautiful views.

Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

I had the opportunity to stay at Hotel Eyjafjallajökullin Fljótshlíð - the name of the hotel intrigued me and  I wanted to stay at a hotel named after the notorious volcano which caused havoc in air traffic back in 2010 - and which name no foreigner could pronounce ;) 

Remember back when everybody was trying to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull with very dubious results - and to the endless merriment of us Icelanders :D

Eyjafjallajökull volcano is very close to the hotel which bears its name - thus the connection. You can see the volcano from the hotel - it is a beautiful view of the volcano across the green golf courses by the hotel. The hotel offers a 18 hole golf course and one can get golf lessons at Hellishólar.

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

We arrived at the hotel late and were happy to be greeted by such a beautiful room - I especially loved the pillows and bedspread in black velvet with the name of Hotel Eyjafjallajökull embroidered in golden letters. I think it is a beautiful touch and gives the hotel more class. 

There is free Wifi in the rooms and a flat-screen TV. Our room was en-suite and bathrobes were provided. All in all there are 18 rooms in the hotel, so it is a small and cosy hotel in a lovely location.

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

There is a big restaurant and a bar in the building east of the hotel. We didn't have dinner at the restaurant as we arrived late, but my husband had breakfast there. I only have coffee in the morning, but my husband told me that the breakfast was good :) In January 2016 we had lunch at the restaurant and it was superb, first class.

There is sometimes entertainment at the restaurant and karaoke. And if you want to explore the vicinity of the hotel there are bikes for rent.

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

Next to the hotel there is a camping area, mainly with caravans. At the camping area there are hot tubs which the hotel guests are free to use. There are also several cottagesfor rent above the camping area.

I had a peek into some of them and they look cosy and lovely. There is also a playground for children. I love such lively areas and was very happy with my stay at the hotel.

The name on the sign for the hotel is Hellishólar, which is the name for the farm by the hotel. I would recommend visiting Fljótshlíð while exploring South-Iceland

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is only 25 km away from the hotel, so it is a good choice for a first night stay in South-Iceland.

And the ferry to Vestmannaeyjar - Westman islands is also close by - or a ca 33 minute's drive away from the hotel. 

The Beautiful Fljótshlíð in South-Iceland - the Saga of Njáll and Hotel Eyjafjallajökull

Hotel Eyjafjallajökull is only an hour's drive from Reykjavík and a 10 minute's drive from the nearest village, Hvolsvöllur. You can rent a car in Reykjavík and visit the beautiful sights on the south-coast.  You will have to get off ring-road 1 and turn onto road 261 for Fljótshlíð.

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