Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Christian Bickel
Litlibær is a historical turf farmstead in northwest Iceland, by Ísafjörður, the capital of the Westfjords.
History of Litlibӕr
The farmstead was originally built in 1875. From settlement until the 20th Century, most Icelanders lived in such turf buildings. These houses were built under the earth, surrounded by rocks, then covered in turf, due to the lack of wood in the country.
Though warm, turf houses were renowned for being damp, smelly, smoky places. Icelandic traditions such as leaving babies in the garden in a pram originated because of how unhealthy they were.
As such, most were destroyed as soon as they were vacated. Locations such as Litlibӕr are some of the few remaining example of how Icelanders lived for centuries.
The National Museum of Iceland took over Litlibӕr in 1969, reconstructing it and maintaining it so that it is a welcoming destination for guests seeking to better understand this country’s history.
Today, it has a museum on site, which sells local handicrafts for those seeking an authentic Icelandic souvenir.
Litlibӕr also is home to a café. This café is renowned for its delicious waffles and cakes, and should not be missed by those travelling through the area, eager for a snack.
Location of Litlibӕr
This town is a cultural hub, an economic centre, and a perfect place to stop and refresh for travellers. It boasts excellent services, a wealth of accommodation options, museums, shops, galleries and a swimming pool. Many tours also leave from Ísafjörður, as it is the most populated part of the region.
Litlibӕr is not the only point of interest around the capital of the Westfjords. There are many trails into the mountains surrounding it, which provide brilliant views over the fjord of Ísafjarðardjúp. It is also possible to walk the coastline around the area, for a very decent chance to see seals.
What is particularly wonderful about Litlibӕr and other sites in the Westfjords is that they are much less visited than sites in other parts of the country, particularly the South Coast and North. This means they can be enjoyed in relative solitude.
Hornstrandir is a beautiful, deserted, protected area, renowned for its unbelievable sea-views and blooming flora. It is also the best place in the country for seeing Arctic Foxes; as they are protected here, they have little fear of humans and have been known to walk straight up to guests.
Amazing opportunities can be found at Látrabjarg too. These cliffs are home to millions of nesting seabirds throughout summer, and the puffins, which arrive in May and leave in September, are also unafraid of people and will let you within feet of them.
Finally, Dynjandi is simply one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, and a must-see for any in the area.
Several days should be spent in the Westfjords to reach all these sites, and a holiday here should be taken in summer when the roads are safe and clear.