There are a few Turf House Museums you can visit in Iceland. The UNESCO is even thinking about putting this unique kind of architecture on the list of World Heritages. During my trips in summer 2021, I visited a nice turf house village, Grenjaðarstaður, in the North. I absolutely enjoyed stepping back in history – here is my review. The place is, by the way, sometimes also referred to as Folk Museum.
Grenjadarstadur Turf Houses – Location & Admission
The Grenjastadur Turf House Museum is located in Stadarbraut in Northern Iceland. You find it between roads 845 and 87 and can be easily accessed with a standard car. You can combine this sight, for example, with a trip to Husavik or with Lake Myvatn. The driving distance from Akureyri is some 60 kilometers. There is no public transport I am aware of. Unfortunately, the directions are not too well signed – you need to rely on your GPS / Google Maps to navigate there.
The museum is only opening in summer month. Depending on the source, this is roughly June to August. In that period, the museum is opening daily. Admission is 1,500 ISK, roughly 11 Euro. There is no entrance gate or similar, you pay the fee to one of the staff members who are around.
Grenjadarstadur Turf Houses – The Visit
The oldest part of the Grenadarstadur Turf Houses are dated as of 1865, there have been extensive works around 1877. The whole floor area is some 775 square meters, the place was home to up to 30 people. Since 1949, the building has been abandoned. You can visit the majority of the area. The staff hands you over a map and some basic information, the place is rather self-explanatory anyway. The turf was used as it is a great insulation in winter and easily available. Lava has majorly been used to built the outer walls. One of the most interesting things to see is that the buildings were connected by tunnel-alike aisles, which allow you to move around without leaving the complex in cold Icelandic winters.
As you see in the pictures, the turf house museum is full of original items and furniture, which illustrate life during the era on the Grenjadarstadur premises. This includes pictures of the original inhabitants. I found a website which is telling some of the fascinating stories of the family living there.
Grenjadarstadur Turf Houses – Church
The key rationale for the settlement is the church next to it, Grenjaðarstaðurkirkja. You can also visit it while being in the museum. There is also a graveyard, which is telling some interesting stories. You even find a Middle Ages rune stone there.
Grenjadarstadur Turf Houses – Services
Right behind the turf houses, there is a rather modern building, which hosts, apart from offices, a small service to refresh yourself, the bathrooms and some souvenirs. The staff in there and on the whole site is very welcoming and guest-friendly.
Grenjadarstadur Turf Houses – My View
Grenjaðarstaður is a true gem in Northern Iceland. If you are in Northern Iceland in summer, this is definitely a must-visit place. It is so fascinating to explore the old building on your own and get into the traditional Icelandic lifestyle. The number of items in display is outstanding. Love it!
Museums in Iceland
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