Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

In Skagafjörður in North-Iceland, you will find a big turf house; Glaumbær turf farm - but there is another less visited turf farm in Skagafjörður as well, close to ring-road 1, but off the beaten track. It is called Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm at Kjálki.

The first written source on this turf farm is a contract of sale which dates back to 8th of January 1478, but it is believed that there has been a farm here since before the year 1300.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

You will find several turf houses at Kjálki; the turf farm, which consists of 5 buildings and 4 outhouses, one of which has a stockyard. These turf houses date back to 1870-1895.

I love the turf house with the timber house facade, which dates back to 1904. So cute somehow and I am so glad that some of the turf houses in Iceland have remained, so we can see how Icelanders used to live.

It is said that Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm is a good indicator of what the typical turf farms looked like in the first half of the 20th century. Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm is built in a style which was common in North Iceland, the Marbæli style.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

These turf houses are made of turf, stone, and timber. Some of the walls and the gables are made from turf alone, creating a beautiful pattern. The roof is turf, which makes the turf house blend in perfectly with the surrounding nature. The walls on the inside are panelled with staves.

It is a beautiful sight looking at these turf houses from above and totally takes one back to the olden days. The landscape is breathtaking here, with the magnificent red gorge in the background. It is just like looking at a painting, don't you agree?

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm was inhabited until 1969 and parts of the turf farm were restored in 1960. There is a new farm at Tyrfingsstaðir and the owner of the land, Kristín Jóhannsdóttir, lived on the old turf farm with her parents for 25 years (since 1944). In 1969 the family moved to Sauðárkrókur town, but Kristín, who is the only child of her parents, moved back to Tyrfingsstaðir.

Since 2007 the turf houses at Tyrfingsstaðir have been restored and used for teaching the old methods of building turf houses.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

The timber building is the main building and connected to it is a lamb-shed and a cowshed. There are other outhouses on the land closer to the gorge. These outhouses, which are stables and sheep-cotes, date back to the 19th and 20th century and are in ruins, but still worth a visit.

When you visit Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm you can see that it is under restoration. Most of the turf houses in Iceland now belong to the National Museum of Iceland, Þjóðminjasafnið, but not Tyrfingsstaðir turf farm. It is privately owned by the farmer of the land.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-IcelandAn agreement has been made by the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum and the owner of these old turf houses, that the Heritage Museum teaches old turf house building methods and uses Tyrfingsstaðir turf houses to teach their workshops - and of course the turf houses thus get restored.

I recently met Helgi Sigurðsson, the teacher at the school Fornverkaskólinn - Heritage Crafts School, which teaches the old ways of building a turf house, turf laying and such. Fornverkaskólinn is a collaborative project of the Skagafjörður Heritage Museum, the Hólar University College and the North-West Iceland Comprehensive College

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-IcelandHelgi was restoring the outhouses at Þverá turf houses during my visit there, and he told me about the workshops at Tyrfingsstaðir.

The workshops at Tyrfingsstaðir turf houses are held in September and I plan on joining a workshop, which lasts for 5 days. The website is in Icelandic, but here is the link to the photos from prior seminars. Around 300 students have finished this workshop, both Icelandic and foreign students.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

Helgi is in charge of the restoration of all of the remaining turf houses, which are located in different parts of Iceland. It is a massive task maintaining all the turf houses in Iceland.

I am grateful that the remaining turf houses are maintained so well as they are a big part of Iceland's history.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

This area by Kjálki leads to the uninhabited highland valley called Austurdalur. In the beautiful gorge runs the glacial river Austari Jökulsá, which together with Vestari Jökulsá forms Héraðsvötn not far from Tyrfingsstaðir turf houses.

There is a very popular river rafting in Austari Jökulsá.

To reach Tyrfingsstaðir turf house you can rent a car in Reykjavík.

Tyrfingsstaðir Turf House in North-Iceland

Driving in Skagafjörður on ring-road 1 turn on road 759, which is a gravel road.

I love visiting these turf houses and have written about almost all of the turf houses in Iceland:

Grænavatn turf houses

Laufás turf houses

Grenjaðarstaður turf houses

Þverá turf houses

Glaumbær turf houses

Bustarfell turf houses

Sænautasel turf houses

Keldur turf houses

Galtastaðir-fram turf houses

I recently wrote a travel-blog about all the turf houses in Iceland.

Have a lovely time in the beautiful Skagafjörður :)

Contact Regína