From the hot springs area, you can climb well-worn tracks to the summit of Bjarnarfell (727m) for views down on Geysir’s surrounds, though it’s a miserable proposition in bad weather. Another option is to follow the signposted 3km gravel vehicle track from Geysir up to a forestry reserve and church at Haukadalur. In saga times Haukadalur was an important holding, another famous educational centre that was eventually incorporated into Skálholt’s lands. Extensive felling and ensuing erosion put paid to the estate, which was in a sorry condition when turned into a reserve in the 1930s. Since then, the hillsides here have been planted thickly with green pine trees, and thousands of new saplings spread down the valley, coloured in spring by wildflowers. Have a quick look at the nineteenth-century church, too, whose brass door-ring is said to have belonged to the friendly giant Bergþór, who asked to be buried here.
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