Bradt
Andrew Evans
Andrew Evans
Sights & Places icon category

Dalir, Iceland’s Valleys Region

Iceland’s ‘valleys’ region, or the dales (Dalir), is a sparsely populated but extraordinary area at the base of Hvammsfjörður. The scenery is that of pleasant Icelandic nature, but it is the rich history of these valleys and shores that puts it on the map. First, this is the setting of the Laxdæla saga, a tale of love, romance, jealousies and vengeance. Much of it takes place in Laxardalur, or ‘salmon valley’. More renowned is Iceland’s great hero Leifur Eiríksson, known around here as Leif the Lucky.
His father Eirík the Red settled on the nearby farm of Eiríksstaðir, which is where the young explorer was raised. The remains of this farm are now a museum (Eiríksstaðir; Ph 434 1118; e vatna@ismennt.is; w leif.is; ( Jun–Aug 09.00–18.00 daily; entrance 750ISK).
The exhibit focuses on a replica of the turf-and-driftwood longhouse in which Leifur was born, and guides dressed as Vikings bring it all to life. Ever since all the real Vikings left for Greenland and America, the only real village in the area is Buðardalur. It’s a nice stopping point for those travelling to and from the West Fjords on Route 60 (which is, by the way, one of the most scenic and tremendous drives in the whole of Iceland). There’s not much here, though history buffs should want to have a look around at all the saga sites. One noted exception is the bare coastline of Fellsströnd and Skarðsströnd. Unpaved Route 590 follows the eastern shore of Breiðafjörður along some very remote areas, best explored by 4×4 and crazy mountain bikers. For more information, contact the tourist information office

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
A Hótel Edda Laugar í Sælingsdal (45 rooms)Sælingsdal; Ph 4444930; eedda@hoteledda.is (2Jun–27Aug. This hearty outdoorcomplex is located near the  old Viking hotspring at Laugar, a place where the lovers in the Laxdælasaga would often meet up for a chat. Today, the hotel in its place has a great big  outdoor swimming pool .Individual rooms are very nice (all with private shower), & the large amount of sleeping-bagspace caters well to big groups; there’s a good campsite for tents & caravans. The in-house fish-&-lamb restaurant does well for being the only place around .B/fastinc.$$$

AErpsstaðir (45rooms) Sauðafell; Ph 434 1357; eerpur@simnet.is; (accommodation year-round, shop 1Jun–15 Sep 13.00–17.00. The most famous farm in Iceland milks their own cows, churns their own cream & butter, & best of all, makes the very best ice cream in the whole of Iceland. A short drive south of  Búðardalur, visitors are encouraged to stop by for a bowl of yummy ice cream (blueberry is best) & to visit the cows that gave us the cream. Travellers can  also stay on the premises, either in the campsites or in the many self-catering cabins & houses available all year round. $$

This travel tip is part of Andrew Evans’ ICELAND (Bradt 4th edition). Click on the banner below if you are interested in buying the book.

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