Flateyjarskagi Peninsula

Flateyjardalur at the end of Flateyjarskagi peninsula
Flateyjardalur at the end of Flateyjarskagi peninsula

Flateyjarskagi is a mountainous peninsula in Northern Iceland located between Akureyri and Húsavík. Practically deserted on the peninsula itself, it´s relative remoteness makes for prime but easily accessible hiking ground. In the west is Laufás Turf House Museum, whilst in the southwest before you reach Akureyri is an Outsider Art Museum. At the base of Flateyjarskagi is the oldest and second largest forest in Iceland, Vaglaskógur. A popular place for camping, there is a range of tree species and the oldest stone bridge in Iceland.

Hiking Routes

Remote houses at the end of Flateyjardalur © Christin Irma Schröder
Remote houses at the end of Flateyjardalur © Christin Irma Schröder

With lush canyons, bubbling brooks, and mountains tucking glacial deposits in their wake, Flateyjarskagi peninsula is the perfect place to hike. One of the most popular trails leads to the top of Mount Kaldbakur from Grenivík. But those in 4×4’s can take tracks along the valley floors if they are looking for something more remote. The highest summit on the Flateyjarskagi peninsula is Mount Kambur. It´s a five to seven hour trek to the peak and back, with no trail and a rocky terrain to scramble across. Alternatively, a longer, 20km hiking trail leads up the west coast, from Grenivík, across a mountain pass to the northern tip of the peninsula.

Some whale watching companies in Húsavík offer tours along the Flateyjarskagi mountains, combined sailing and hiking tours. See there homepages for details.

Laufás Turf Houses

Laufás turf farm © Minjasafnið á Akureyri
Laufás turf farm © Minjasafnið á Akureyri

Evidence of how Icelanders lived in days gone by can be found at Laufás, a 19th century vicarage. Set on a site inhabited since Pagan times, Laufás was one of the most affluent turf house settlements in Iceland, housing 20 -30 people. With period furnishing and built in the traditional Icelandic style, it´s an idiosyncratic series of gable end turf buildings. Though essentially a farm, one of the sources of income here involved the collection of eiderdown, hence the carving of the lady with a duck on her head. Museum Laufás is open 10:00-18:00 from June to September. There are souvenirs and a restaurant next door serving bread with moss baked inside. Every year in July, there is an open day where the locals dress up in ancient garb to cook pancakes and carve wood. Like most museums in Iceland, just give them a ring beforehand if you would like to visit in the winter on (+354) 463-3196 / 895 3172 or email laufas@minjasafnid.is.

Spell-casting Fisherwoman

Previous inhabitants of Flateyjarskagi include one of the most famous men in the Northeast, Náttfari (or Night Walker). One of the first true settlers in Iceland, he was a slave who was abandoned in Flateyjardalur Valley in the 9th century by his Swedish master, Garðar.
There was also a well known poet-beggar-fisherwoman by the name of Látra-Björg who lived here during the ‘Mist-Famine’ of the 18th century. She wrote spell-casting poems, believed to curse her enemies.

A useless horse and useless sheep
– a useless cow to boot.
A useless shepherd rounds them up,
a useless sheepdog in pursuit.’
Látra-Björg

Services

At Grenivík there is a petrol station, accommodation, campsite and a 6 hole golf course.

Vaglaskógur has a campsite.

For those with the need for speed, snowmobile, snowcat or arctic heli-skiing tours are possible from Kaldbaksferðir.

Getting There

Green meadows at Flateyjardalur © Christin Irma Schröder
Green meadows at Flateyjardalur © Christin Irma Schröder

The road 835 is a normal gravel road, but beyond Svínarnes, you will need a 4×4. There are two tracks across the peninsula, one of which passes through Flateyjardalur Valley to reach views of Flatey Island. Both these areas are visible on the horizon, across the bay from Húsavik. Boats from Húsavík will also take passengers across to the peninsula if requested.

Links

Hiking tours sailing from Húsavík
Laufás Official Website
Vaglaskógur Forest