The Warmth of Álafoss
A famous wool centre has turned into a vibrant community
A community epitomising Icelanders penchant for creativity and innovation, art and design has formed around a beautiful waterfall on the edge of Mosfellsbær.
The river was formerly warm, earning it the name ‘Varmá’ (Warm River) and in 1896, an enterprising farmer established a knitting factory that was famous for almost 100 years, producing woollen goods.
It’s less than 20 mins. from Reykjavik and only 25 mins. to Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. The Laxnes Horse Farm and Halldór Laxnes’ house are only 10 mins. away. Hótel Laxnes and the Fitjar Guest House are a mere 5 mins.
The Álafoss Wool and Sewing Shop
The Álafoss factory has been turned into a shop with a warm atmosphere and wide range of interesting articles from past and present. They sell everything associated with wool, from the yarn to the beautiful, multicoloured finished articles, from patterns to buttons and zippers. Hand-knitted articles from individuals all across the country hang side-by-side with machine-made woollen clothing—all at really good prices. Additionally, there are ranges of beautiful artistic jewellery, glassware, pottery and silverware to choose from.
Álafoss is a fascinating place. As you browse, you are surrounded by historical and technical exhibits from its past.
Ásgarður Handwork Shop
Across the road from the shop, disabled artisans have produced a range of handmade wooden toys and lifestyle designs since 1993. They emphasise the development of simple, strong and beautiful toys, based on Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy, taking Icelandic wood and creating unique works that you can take home.
The Swimming Pool Recording Studio
Another example of Icelanders’ ingenuity is the old swimming pool, originally built in
1931 that fell into disuse. It has been transformed into the state-of-the-art ‘Sundlaugin Recording Studio’, by the internationally famous Sigur Rós band, and used by a stream of musicians since.
Kaffihúsið á Álafossi
The Kaffihús á Álafossi is a coffee house and restaurant but also an art gallery. In addition to their private collection, works by a different artist each month are displayed and are available for purchase. It is very child-friendly and a popular place to sit on a summer’s day—which, of course, lasts till late in the evening—and enjoy a wide range of snacks, cakes, meals* and drinks, including beer and stronger drinks which can be enjoyed on the veranda or the balcony that overlooks the waterfall and river, with the tranquil hills beyond.
The Kaffihús can accomodate groups of up to 50. It is a hive of activity and a place to meet people from the locality, staying open until 10 pm and to 11 pm on Thursdays-Saturdays. You can find their news on Facebook.
*Meat dishes consist of fish, lamb or chicken.


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