Nature & History Path at Hótel Laki


Traditional farming has been practiced at Efri-Vík since the first settlement, up until only a few years ago. Huge changes and progress have taken place in Icelandic farming and craftsmanship during the last hundred years in Iceland. Here you can see a collection of old machines were powered by horses. Most Icelanders lived in turf huts until well into the last century. Come on in and see how the Icelandic population lived during these times.

The Turf Farm House in the picture is built by Hörður, founder of Hótel Laki.


At Bjarnagarður, Hörður has dug a bunker to display the different ash layers in the soil, where one can read the history of volcanic eruptions dating back to the first settlement. Layers of ash from most volcanoes are visible in the layers of ash, mostly from Katla, Hekla, Öræfajökull and Eldgjá. If you look closely you can also see remnants of Bjarnargarður.


Bjarnagarður at Landbrot is one of the biggest manmade structures to be preserved in Iceland from ancient times. Experts believe it to have been built of turf and rock in the years between 1100 and 1200, most likely as shelter for sheep herds. It is likely to have been one of the greatest manmade structures of its time since it is believed to be around 11 km long. The remnants of the building are visible in many places around Landbrot, but the wall has been interrupted in various places due to road making and farming. Hörður in Efri-Vík has built a wall of 50 metres to demonstrate what Bjarnargarður may have looked like, 900 years ago.


Skaftáreldar (The Laki Eruption) was the host of the biggest flow of lava, in a single eruption, on earth for the last thousand years and is around 6oo km2. In addition, to the massive flow of lava, the eruption came with heavy gaseous plumes, rich in sulphuric compounds, which were then carried into the atmosphere and had an impact on all of the Northern hemisphere. The following winter was cold all over Europe, but especially in Iceland, the death of livestock resulted in famine. In total it is estimated that 29 farms became desolate as a direct result of the volcanic eruption and that around 20% of the Icelandic population (10.000 people) were killed as a result of the calamity that was the Skaftáreldar. A short documentary on Skaftáreldar is available for viewing at Hótel Laki.


Víkurflóð is around 12 hectares and about three metres deep. The lake contains both brown trout and arctic char, which runs up the river Skaftá and from there to Víkurflóð. Additionally the lake contains sedentary arctic char, trout and eel. The size of the fish varies from small fish and up to 5-6 pounds. South of the lake there is a lot of reeds and if you look closely you can see both eels and trout. In the latter parts of the summer a lot of vegetation grows up out of the lake, making it difficult to fish with spinners, fishing permits are available at Hótel Laki.

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