Modrudalur (Möðrudalur) Farm and Cafe

Modrudalur (Möðrudalur) Farm and Cafe

Modrudalur is Iceland’s most remote farmstead and, at 469m above sea level, its highest. It is believed there has been a farm here for over 1000 years.

Back in the 1800s, several farms were established in this area due to a shortage of land in the lowlands and a law that required couples to have a place to live and work before they could marry.  

Farming here was difficult and proved too great a challenge for some.  In the wake of ash falls from the 1875 Askja eruption, many farms were abandoned and their inhabitants emigrated to America.

Modrudalur, though remote, became a ‘crossroads’ for the area at a time when most Icelanders travelled on horseback.  As you approach, the landscape changes from barren wilderness to green pasture, giving the impression that the farm is a desert oasis. Today, it has a tiny petrol station, a café and guesthouse.  

The simple church here was built by farmer Jon Stefansson in 1949, in memory of his wife. A skilled craftsman, Jon made the furnishings and even painted the altarpiece, which depicts the Sermon on the Mount. 

The café provides homemade refreshments (the waffles are recommended), and on a fine day, the tables on the veranda offer wide views of the surrounding scenery. To the south, the distinct flat-topped mountain, Herdubreid, is a prominent landmark and is a favourite mountain for many Icelanders.