Saenautasel (Sænautasel)

Saenautasel (Sænautasel)

About 26 km east of the bridge over the river Jokulsa a Fjollum, you can take an interesting detour on Modrudalsleid, road 901. 

If you are approaching from the east, you join road 901 at the other end of this loop road.

This is the old road between the north and the east and even though it is a gravel road, it makes a scenic and worthwhile alternative to the paved route 1. Road 901 is only open in summer. 

A second detour off road 901 brings you on road 907 to the old turf farm of Saenautasel.  The farm was built on the Jokuldalsheidi moors in 1843 and was in use for a century.

The last inhabitants left in 1943 and the restored turf buildings have been open to the public since 1992, showing visitors the subsistence life led by most Icelanders that had remained almost unchanged until the 1940s.

Visiting this remote and peaceful spot is an authentic experience and worth the detour. Handicrafts such as traditional jumpers and socks are on sale. 

Occasionally, the farm animals are joined by reindeer, which graze the surrounding heathland.

The Icelandic literary Nobel prize winner (1955) Halldor Laxness wrote of the hardship of life in this region in his novel 'Independent People' and stayed at Saenautasel before writing the story. Saenautasel is only accessible in summer.