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East Rangárþing Municipality, with a population of 1820, is a vast district in south central Iceland, which ranges from the highlands to the sea. It has a great number of geological wonders, a fact which has pushed the district to become a member of the European Geopark Network along with two other districts; Mýrdalshreppur and Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

 

Hvolsvöllur is the region’s biggest town (pop. 931) and all operations relating to the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 were organized from there. The main industries in the area include agriculture and tourism. Hvolsvöllur is in fact the only town in Iceland which has not been established by the sea or a river, but entirely as a service center for the area. Only 106 km from Reykjavik, Hvolsvöllur is surrounded by plentiful recreation areas and natural wonders all within 15 minutes to one hour's drive.  Peaceful farmlands suddenly and dramatically give way to almost vertical slopes that reach down to the main road. Kilometer after kilometer of endless black sand beaches hug the shoreline.

 

Hvolsvöllur is an excellent location from which to base out of for exploring South Iceland. Its central location makes it ideal for day trips in the region and then back for a good night’s sleep in one of the area’s many types of accommodation. The Farmers’ Market in the town centre, just next to the post office is a great place to stop. Here you will find a variety of locally produced food stuffs and hand knitted items of all kinds, handicrafts by local artisans, original wooden toys and superb organic ice cream. A lovely green space for stretching your legs and where the kids can run around is adjacent to the farmers’ market and hosts an outdoor exhibition by local area photographers. There are campgrounds, youth hostels, guest houses and hotels ranging from 1 to 4 stars. Ferry trips to the Westman Islands are now possible via the new harbour, Landeyahöfn, which opened in July, 2010 and is located just 20 minutes east of Hvolsvöllur.

 

Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano with that ridiculously difficult-to-pronounce name is located in the district of East Rangárþing and has become one of the area's main attractions, although not the only sight to see in the area. The district contains many natural treasures as well as being the scene of one of the renowned Icelandic Sagas, the Saga of the burning of Njáll. Some of the more famous places are Skógar, with its picturesque waterfall (Skógarfoss); Seljalandsfoss waterfall, behind which it is possible to walk; and Þórsmörk- is a beautiful and fertile mountain ridge north of Eyjafjallajökull with various trekking routes in the area- very popular among hikers.

 

There are a great variety of activities in the area for those who wish to explore the sites with local guides.