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Destination: Vinlandssetur: Leifur Eiriksson Center

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

The Dalir region of Iceland is located on the western shore in the central part of the island, along the “boot-shaped” Hvammsfjörður. This area was settled in the earliest days of the 9th and 10th centuries and is often referred to as the “stepping stone to the New World.''

Dalir is popular for hiking, horse riding, and interesting attractions at a number of local farms. Nestled in the community of Buðadalur lies a museum opened in July 2020, Vinlandssetur, dedicated to sharing the story of native sons Eirik “the Red'' Þórvaldsson and his son, Leifur “the Lucky” Eiriksson. Many of you are likely familiar with and perhaps have even read the tales related to Eirik and Leif, including the Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Eirik the Red which detail voyages to the “new lands'' of North America and their settlements there nearly 500 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

The Leif Eiriksson Center in Buðadalur

Vinlandssetur Museum is the brainchild of Kjartan Ragnarsson, renowned Icelandic director and playwright, as well as creator of the exhibits at the Settlement Center Museum in Borgarnes.

Vinlandssetur and The Settlement Center offer discounted admission when tickets to both museums are purchased at the same time. As with the Settlement Center, the Leifur Eiriksson Center exhibits feature visual displays highlighting masterpieces created by local artisans, which, when accompanied by the multilingual audio guides, provide riveting tales of sailing the Atlantic Ocean in open ships some 1000 years ago. They weave information from the old sagas and modern archeological research, thereby lending credence to the lore about Eirik and Leif.

Among the other noted early Icelanders highlighted in the exhibits are Guðriður, ”The Far Traveler'' Þórbjarnadóttir and her husband Þorfinnur Karlsefni, along with their son, Snorri, thought to be the first white child born in North America. It is believed they were among the settlers in Vinland, now known as L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, a World Heritage site as well as a Canadian National Historic site.

The museum is located alongside the harbor in a building that was originally a private home, later converted into a warehouse and more recently beautifully renovated to house Vinlandssetur. The exhibit section of the museum is located on the second floor of the building. Before or after viewing this interesting and informative multimedia exhibit, be sure to enjoy the delicious offerings at the restaurant on the main floor.

Our presenter for Destination: Vinlandssetur, The Leifur Eiriksson Center, is the manager, Bjarnheiður Jóhannsdóttir, who will introduce us to this museum that shares history through artwork and storytelling. She will take us on a journey that will examine the Vinland sagas, provide a brief overview of the storyline of the sagas, share the facts and findings confirming them and discuss the people involved. The questions she will answer include - Who was the hero of the Vinland sagas? Why did the world not know about Vinland earlier? What happened to the Norse settlers in Greenland?

Cathy Josephson and Bjarnheiður Jóhannsdóttir

Visit the website at:

Buðadalur is located about 40 minutes off the Ring Road from Bifröst along Route 60 and has a number of things to see and do. A reminder that on February 15 we will continue to explore the Dalir area when we visit nearby Eiriksstaðir, the homestead of Eirik the Red and his family.

Come and join us for this Members-Only Webinar:

Destination: Vinlandssetur: Leifur Eiriksson Center

Tuesday, Feb 1, 2022 17:00 Iceland time

12:00 Eastern 11:00 AM Central

10:00 Mountain 9:00 Pacific

The webinar link will be emailed to IR Members the day before the event.

If you are not a member, please come and join for this and many other wonderful community offerings and opportunities.

1 Comment

Unknown member
Feb 08, 2022

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