Architecture in South Iceland

Icelandic architecture has influence from Scandinavia and lack of trees native to the island. This is what results in turf and grass covered houses. The Swiss Chalet style has a prevailing inspiration in the culture of Iceland. Several timber constructions were built this way. Concrete and stone were popularly used as construction materials. These styles differ all around the country.

The Architecture in South Iceland

The architecture is primarily low-rise with 2 or 3 storey constructions. Smaller municipal constructions and houses were wooden-framed. It is clad in corrugated metal and wooden planks. They appear in conventional bright colors. A lot of architectural influences are observed in the capital like Swiss chalet style.

History of Architecture in South Iceland

OlafurEliasson and EinarÞorsteinnÁsgeirsson is credited for the appearance and structure of Harpa. The reconstructed replica of the longhouse makes use of the original construction method of a stone base, turf roof/walls and wood frame. Several of the 19th century Reykjavik’s homes are accumulated in the foreground with the Harpa Concert Hall and modern skyscrapers along seaside.

South Iceland has different helter-skelter collage of various designs, influences and styles. Despite nation’s capital and a metropolitan, Reykjavik has no definite direction with respect to architecture.

Þjóðveldisbærinn, located in Þjórsárdalur, is a Viking longhouse that is reconstructed with turf, wood and stone together forming a natural space.

Their housing designs, scattered farmsteads come from the Viking Age and the Settlement Era. They are an integral section of Icelandic culture. Icelandic people lived in their precarious, magnificent and natural surroundings in harmony.

Until the 20th century from the age of settlement, turf houses were dominating. They were timber houses, based on longhouse designs of Denmark, Norway, Scottish Isles and Sweden.

The turf houses were based on the foundation which were generally one or more rock layers. However, with a wooden base, double stacked walls and compressed soil lining for isolation, the Icelandic homes became iconic.

Some of the sites to view Architecture in South Iceland

  • Turf church- The Arbaer Museum church is one of the six that are preserved turf Icelandic churches. It was assembled out of Silfrastaðakirkja Church ruins in Skagafjörður Fjord.
  • Lavish turf homes- These homes were houses of priests or wealthy farmers. Some of the local heritage treasures include Bustarfell in Vopnafjörður, Glaumbær in Skagafjörður and Laufás in Eyjafjörður.
  • Smaller abode- Árbær in Reykjavík and Selið in Skaftafell are smaller preserved abodes.
  • In 1860, the stone structures of Reykjavik have arisen in between timber houses of Scandinavia. Skuli, a grand stone house called Viðeyjarstofa is new in local construction.
  • Series of stone houses-From 1750-1790, there were a series of stone houses like the Westman Islands Landakirkja Church and Garobaer-President’s abode Bessastaðastofa.
  • Fríkirkjuvegur 11– This house boasts architectural fusion of Iceland. The coat is made of corrugated iron and the house is made of wood. The style is Italian while the foundation is made of stone.

The Change

The change occurred about the midst of the 18th century. This was when the Danish government began to infuse the industrial development to Iceland. The local architecture changed from then. Stone houses started rising all over the nation. This is also the time when Reykjavik began to form and develop like a trading post and also the nation’s centre.


Architecture in South Iceland boasts a lengthy history of turf and timber houses. Until the early 1300s, the turf houses were timber houses. They were supported, isolated and coated with soil and turf. Post this time came housing design at island’s shores with corrugated iron. The old Icelandic street embellished plenty of constructions in a variety of colors. South Iceland architecture is influenced by Scandinavian background. The mid-18th century has seen a lot of change with industrial development.

Adventures in South Iceland

Iceland is full of amazing landscapes that attract visitors from all around the world. There are a lot of opportunities for adventure and exploration. Even though the country is wonderful, South Iceland is said to be more tourist-friendly and accessible when compared to North Iceland.

Adventures South Iceland offers

Whale watching Adventures South Iceland Reykjavik

Ensure that you don’t miss out on the gorgeous whales that Reykjavik has. Whales are the largest creatures on planet Earth and the best time to see them is during the summer season. This is the time when visitors have the chance to watch the White-beaked dolphins, the Minke whales, and even the Humpback whales.

Diving between two continents in Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is a location that one shouldn’t miss as this is the place where you get to witness the boundary between two continents. The Silfra Fissure is a special place for snorkeling and diving between the two continents, namely North America and Eurasia. Silfra is situated at the center of the national park. One can witness the division of the two continents while diving or snorkeling.

Relaxing in the hot river above Hveragerdi

Do visit Hveragerdi, a small Icelandic town where the hot river passes through the valley. Hot rivers are hard to find, but you have the chance to take a bath in this hot river called “Varmá.” Hike your way through the green valleys and geysers to make it to the hot river. It provides you with once in lifetime experience as you bathe in it.

HikingAdventures South Iceland

  • Hiking through the colorful highlands of Landmannalaugar-The best option to uncover Landmannalaugar is to go along the Laugavegur trail from the hot springs region. Landmannalaugar is popular for its wide range of landscapes that are covered in an incredible 55 kms track. This track or trail is usually finished in around 2 to 4 days with possible stops at Álftavatn, Hrafntinnusker, Hvanngil, and Emstrur. Landmannalaugar can be reached reachable by bus or car during the summer season.
  • Hiking the Fimmvorduhals trail between Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjokul Glacier-One of the very popular trails in Iceland is the Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail (around 24 – 30 kms). This path provides you with a challenging trek in versatile terrain along with fantastic sights of the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve and the Southern Coast of Iceland. This trail passes in between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökul glacier, then goes towards the lava fields from the other part of Þórsmörk.

Swimming under a volcano in Seljavallalaug, Iceland’s “secret pool.”

Seljavallalaug is a sheltered outdoor pool (25 meters) in South Iceland. This pool was constructed in the year 1923, and it is referred to as “Iceland’s secret swimming pool.”Seljavallalaug can be reached by a 15-minute hike from Iceland’s Road 1. The pool can be found on the map, under the well-known Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The perfect period to swim is between May and September.

Exploring the hidden Gljúfrabúi Waterfall

The hidden waterfall known as Gljúfrabúi happens to be the neighbor of the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall. There is absolutely no reason to miss the Gljúfrabúi waterfall as it is hiding behind a huge cliff. Gljúfrabúi is 40 meters high and can be noticed in its entire splendor by crossing a small river and then climbing up the cliff. Gljúfrabúi can be reached from the same road as the Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

Glacier walk on Solheimajokul Glacier

The glacier walks on Sólheimajökull glacier is probably the coolest walk on the southern island. Sólheimajökull is neighbor to one of the largest glaciers in Europe called Mýrdalsjökull. This glacier walk is for individuals who are ready to take their adventure to the next level. You are going to be advised by an experienced guide during the entire trip on the glacier. All the required equipment will be handed to you at the meeting point.

Tandem paragliding Adventures South Iceland over the beautiful village of Vik

The small town called Vik i Myrdal is regarded as the most attractive and secure place in Iceland. Vik is enclosed by various mountains and hills, the trembling ocean, black beaches, and a wide variety of bird species.

Ice cave tour at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

The ice cave tour in Jokulsarlon will enable an individual to discover the hidden chambers nearby Vatnajökull glacier. These ice caves are rare to occur naturally and remain for a short period of time. The ideal time to opt for a cave tour is between October and March.


Adventures South Iceland offers give you several opportunities like hiking, cave touring, paragliding and so on. Do not miss them, visit Iceland.