If you’ve been to Iceland, you’ve probably done the famous “Golden Circle” tour, which hits all of Iceland’s main tourist attractions in a couple hours drive through the southwest part of the country. However, a man-made attraction that most tourists miss is the nearby Solheimer eco-village. Located just 1/2 hour away from Geysir and Gulfloss, and half an hour away from Hveragerdi, Solheimer lies within the Golden Circle, on the road back to Reykjavik. This tiny village deserves more attention than it gets, as it is one of the oldest thriving eco-villages in the world, and is a model community for green-minded individuals. It also features some interesting architecture.
Solheimer was founded in 1930 by Mrs. Sesselja Hreindis Simundsdottir as a children’s home and organic farm. In 1997, the Global Eco-village network proclaimed Solheimer the first sustainable hamlet in Iceland. There are roughly 100 residents, 5 businesses and 4 workshops (horticulture, a tree nursery, handicraft production, a candle factory, a musical instrument factory, and a weaving factory). There are also two guesthouses, a geothermal pool, and an organic cafe for visitors. Solheimer is only an hour outside of Reykjavik, so I highly recommend visitors to Iceland (and Icelanders alike) check it out.
Unfortunately, I must have shown up on the one day that everyone was on holiday – because when I arrived, there was no one around! It was an eco-village ghost town. Sadly, there was no one to show me around or let me buy organic food at the cafe (and I was unfortunately very hungry). The village was beautiful, nonetheless, and looked like a great place in which to spend a retreat. Next time I’ll call ahead. I’d advise other interested parties to do the same.