Stop by the Glaumbær farm and museum on your tour of North Iceland and find a beautifully preserved piece of history. This charming folk museum features traditional Icelandic turf houses from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Glaumbær turf farm is home to 13 buildings called torfbæir, or turf houses. This unique house type was built from stone, timber, and of course, turf – an excellent insulator from the harsh weather. Turf-roofed homes kept Icelanders cozy, from the early days of Norse settlers until the 20th century.
The turf-walled homes at the Glaumbær folk museum might look similar on the outside, but each one tells a unique story.
As you step inside them, you’ll get a feel for what life was like for the people that lived here. The main house was centered around the baðstofa, a communal living room where everyone ate, slept, or did their handiwork. Other units included guestrooms, a kitchen, and even a blacksmith’s workshop.
The farm museum also features two 19th-century timber houses and the Glaumbær Church, built in 1926. Next to the church, you’ll find the statue of famous Icelandic female explorer Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir. According to the sagas, Guðríður and her second husband, Þorfinnur Karlsefni, were among the first settlers in North America.
The statue also features their son, Snorri Þorfinnsson, standing on his mother’s shoulder. Snorri was the first European born in the Americas. After his parents returned to Iceland in the 11th century, he lived at Glaumbær as a farmer.
Fun fact: Did you know Glaumbær farm was inhabited not too long ago? Icelanders lived in this set of turf buildings as recently as 1947!
Sitting in the Skagafjörður fjord, you’ll find this historic turf farm just over 1 hour’s drive west from the North’s capital, Akureyri. To get there, take a short detour off the Ring Road (Route 1) onto road 75 at Varmahlíð village.