Iceland // Eastern and southeast Iceland //


Halfway across Lón and just east of the river, a short road off the Ringroad heads inland to Stafafell, comprising a couple of farm buildings, a hostel and an unassuming church, surrounded by birch trees. The site was consecrated a generation after the tenth-century Norwegian missionary Þangbrand – armed with a sword, and a crucifix instead of a shield – killed Stafafell’s pagan owner in a duel and went on to spread the Christian message across Iceland, surviving attacks by sorcery and a berserker in the process. His activities divided the country and finally forced the Alþing to restore unity by accepting Christianity as the national religion in 1000.