B ack in the day the name of Skalholt sent shivers down every god-fearing Icelander for the simple reason that this, along with Holar in Hjaltadal valley, was and is to Iceland what the Vatican is to Catholics.
This is the seat of the original bishop of Iceland and it has remained the most important place of worship more or less since. The place is popular among tourists not necessarily because there is lot to see here but more on account of Skalholt being a stop for many organised tours around the Golden Circle. The place today has changed and now you´ll find a tiny village alongside the famous Skalholt church and quite a lot of greenhouses as there is loads of cheap thermal energy in the ground around this place.
Officially this was THE place for culture and learning for seven hundred years in Iceland which might explain the near-total lack of any culture or learning in this country in centuries past. You see, no one was welcome here without the explicit consent of the church and thoughful critical persons were turned away in droves as happened elsewhere around in Europe.
Admittedly the church itself is quite nice and often you can drop by for smaller concerts taking place there. The church is also open to all for mass every Sunday. Right next to the church is a controversial small wooden hut or building, depending on each point of view. This place, Thorlaksbud, is supposed to be a remake of a similar structure built centuries ago by one of the local bishops. It is worth taking a look to see how fancy old buildings looked and were made.
In Skalholt you could in theory buy fresh vegetables from the greenhouse farmers and you can get fast-food served here too as elsewhere in smaller places in Iceland. But for things to enjoy or experience this is not it.
Rooms are available at the local school over summertime but it would be a lot nicer to spend time in nearby farms. Quite a number of those offer accommodation.
» The very first place of serious god worship in Iceland / The best way to drive the Ring Road South until you get to road number 31 which will lead you directly to Skalholt. Also possible to turn off the Ring Road right before Selfoss town on road 35 and from that onto road 31. Lastly it is possible to get here from Gullfoss, Geysir and Laugarvatn quite easily from various roads.
» For anyone religious this is probably a must-stop but most others will find this place limited to the extreme and their time better spent elsewhere