Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: OddurBen
Mosfellsbær, colloquially known as “The Green Town”, is a town in southwest Iceland, 15 minutes drive away from the island’s capital, Reykjavík.
Mosfellsbær has a population of about 9,000 inhabitants. As its nickname suggests, the town has a reputation for beauty, vegetation and greenhouses.
The town has a long history of literature and writers. The Viking warrior poet, Egil Skallagrimsson, is supposedly buried near the town of Mosfellsbær, along with a horde of silver treasure.
A man of violence, literature and rune magic, it is claimed that in a final act of brutality, Egil murdered the man who assisted in his silver’s burial. After his farmstead was renovated to a Christian chapel, it is told that Egil’s son exhumed his body, burying him close in an undisclosed location.
To this day, treasure hunters around the world still ponder as to the whereabouts of Egil’s silver, though no one is any closer to finding it.
Talking of poetry, the town was a lifelong home to Iceland’s only Nobel Laureate, Halldór Laxness, “the undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction”.
Laxness wrote widely on his experiences and observations living in the Mosfellsbær area - 62 books in 68 years - but was particularly detailed in the memoir Home in the Hayfield. Laxness’ home, Gljúfrasteinn, was built as a family residence in the Mosfellsdalur Valley and has since been renovated as a museum dedicated to the author’s life, work and cultural legacy.
Paintings and eccentric furniture are still positioned as they were in the author’s life. Even his 1968 Jaguar is still parked out the front of the house.
Due to its proximity to Reykjavík, all the sites of the capital can be explored from Mosfellsbær. A full guide of to what to do in the capital can be found on this site, although there is much to do in the town itself.
Over recent years, there has been systematic development in furthering outdoor recreation and leisure activities in the area. Hills surrounding the town, such as Mosfell, Grímannsfell, Helgafell and Úlfarsfell, provide incredible vistas of the southwest coastal area, as well as offering fantastic opportunities for walking, horseriding, hiking and fishing for trout and Arctic char.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that Mosfellsbær residents are known to be nature lovers, even by the high standards of the Icelandic people. Mosfellsbær borders the ocean in Leirvogsá, where three rivers - Leirvogsá, Kaldakvísl and Varmá - all open to the sea.
Thermal activity in the area has also provided the capital with hot water for heating and hot pools since 1933, making it an important site for the country, both in culture and practice.