Hvanneyri is a small agriculture and church centre in the West of Iceland and can be visited 80 km north of Reykjavik in the municipality of Borgarbyggð. The settlement, known for its history of farming, is surrounded by luscious green meadows and walkable hills.
Explore this area on a self drive tour in Iceland.
What is now the municipality of Borgarbyggð was once an important landing zone for Iceland’s earliest settlers, who followed the rivers inland on their conquest for a new home. By setting up farmsteads along the way, these early adventurers blazing the trail for centuries’ of future development. It is widely regarded that the Hvanneyri community was settled by a member of Egil Skallagrimsson’s Viking tribe, as depicted in Egils Saga.
Hvanneyri Church was built in 1905. The original was destroyed in 1903 during a fierce storm. The building was ripped from its foundations and finally landed where its successor was later constructed. The church is now owned by the Agricultural University of Iceland, which dedicates much of its resources to environmental protection in the area. White-fronted Geese, for instance, are protected and allowed to roam around the village throughout Spring and Summer.
Hvanneyri is instantly recognisable for its white-walled buildings, red roofs, friendly locals and coastal position. Away from the aesthetic pleasures, Hvanneyri presents a fascinating opportunity to learn more about the agricultural development of Iceland throughout history. The Agriculture Museum offers insight into the practise with its displays of both ancient and modern farming equipment. The collection includes the first tractors and horse-drawn wagons imported into Iceland, with some dating back as far as 1880. Black and white photographs, displayed proudly inside, convey the back breaking, uphill struggle of Iceland’s first farmers. Thankfully, the museum comes with modern amenities and thus visitors are able to ponder these thoughts with a warm coffee in their hands.
The village can be easily accessed from the Road 1 (the Ring Road) and has a population of around 250 inhabitants.