With its prominent church dwarfed by looming mountains, tiny Hólar (www.holar.is), in the scenic valley of Hjaltadalur, makes an interesting historical detour. The bishopric of Hólar was the ecumenical and educational capital of northern Iceland between 1106 and the Reformation, and it continued as a religious centre and the home of the northern bishops until 1798, when the bishop’s seat was abolished.
Hólar then became a vicarage until 1861, when the vicarage was shifted west to Viðvík. In 1882 the present agricultural college was established – it's now known as Hólar University College, specialising in equine science, aquaculture and rural tourism. In 1952 the vicarage returned to Hólar.