Iceland is a land of thousand faces. Amidst breathtaking landscapes, you can find things which will cause your heartbeat rise – abandoned places. Definitely, they will send shivers down your spine. All you have to do do is to slow down and choose less travelled roads. Are you ready for some goosebumps?
Time for a break
Many tourists who visit Iceland plan often too strict and too ambitious itinerary. They have in mind a vision of short holidays, but a list of top sights to see doesn’t end at all. So they have to hurry so as not to spoil the beautiful plan. It looks like a marathon from point A to B, at a really frantic pace. As a result, the sightseeing soon becomes a wearing duty. It’s easy to lose the main reason for your travel in this pursuit because you don’t notice things from beyond the list anymore. Here is our advice, just take a deep breath of insanely clean, Icelandic air and stop for a moment. During one day of your trip or just for a few hours put all guidebooks aside and forget about any plan. Now it’s time for discovering some of the Icelandic secrets.
Leave for a moment the main attractions trail. Take a road less travelled and begin to look around very carefully. Then you will have a chance to see Iceland off the beaten path, which we love so much. If apart from spectacular landscapes, you happen to be a fan of thrillers and scary movies, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a real Eldorado for all these who are passionate about abandoned places. If a thought of a visit to an old (who knows – maybe haunted) abandoned house situated in the middle of nowhere makes you shiver, then you’ll be delighted. Simply put away all the guides for more than just a few hours.
Have a look at our original Icelandic fine art prints!
Nobody knows exactly how many abandoned buildings are located on the island. However, it is estimated, that there are more than 3000. It is a small country where not too many people live, so 3000 is really a lot. Most of them are abandoned farms. Frequently, you will notice picturesque remnants, but there are also real gems – whole farm complexes. And imagine that these deserted farms are often located in incredible, really evocative places. You can stumble upon an abandoned farm at the foot of a dangerous cliff or the end of a mysterious fjord. Another one sits firmly by a devilish black beach. And there’s one which the wind only remembers about. Just add typical Icelandic weather conditions, cloudy sky or a dense fog, and you have an ideal set for a scary movie.
Icelanders call all these abandoned buildings eyðibýli. They are inscribed in the Icelandic landscape and are something natural for island’s inhabitants. You may wonder why so many eyðibýli stand in Iceland. For hundreds of years in Iceland have not only people lived on the farms but also elves. Icelanders are well known in the world for their attitude towards them. Tales of their respect towards elves become even legendary, like the one about the road project. In short, a road close to Reykjavík was not built where planned, as it would have destroyed an area inhabited by elves. Trust us, it’s not an exception.
You have to know that for Icelanders elves are not playful fellows clad in shoes with pointed tips. They are ghosts, and many believe in them. Naturally, it is better to live with them in peace. When someone lives somewhere in the wilderness and is forced to leave his home, he usually leaves everything in its place. And if he wants to have a new house, he builds it very close, leaving an existing one intact, at the mercy of the Icelandic winds. That’s all so as not to disturb the elves. It can’t happen that they lose their shelter!
We simply love to visit abandoned places. During our last stay in Iceland, we even became addicted. Mysteries are dancing in the freezing air. The sky is getting darker and darker. This is the moment. We are jumping out of the car; it’s time to start our adventure. Another abandoned farmhouse is waiting to be explored. Caps, gloves, flashlights in hands – let’s go! Would you find the courage?
If you are looking for more non-touristy attractions, check out Iceland off the beaten path guide.