Look at all these people with backpacks and maps and picnicbags,” I said to my sister in genuine surprise last summer when the stream of travellers to my lovely little hometown reached a whole new level. “Seriously, why do they come here?” My sister, (being the sharper knife in the drawer) looked at me with a raised eyebrow. I answered: “Don’t they have every reason to want to come here? I mean, just look around you.”
In the routine of daily life I guess we all have a tendency to become a little dispassionate about the obvious wonders in our everyday surroundings, even though they’re right there in front of you, staring you invitingly in the eye. An old Icelandic saying states that “A guest sees with a clear eye,” so I decided to look at my hometown with the eyes of a guest and discover it anew. What I found is that I live in the most wonderful little “goody bag”, a real treat for your spirit and senses.
With its humble population and beautiful scenery, Mosfellsbær offers its residents and visitors a little bit of everything you can ask for; a relaxed, safe and especially family-friendly community in the midst of a gorgeous landscape, with proximity to both sea and mountains, plenty of green areas, playgrounds and interesting local attractions. Plus you’re just minutes away from both the capital as well as the more rural places of note such as Þingvellir and the Golden Circle.
A mere fifteen minute drive from Reykjavík, the town rests in a cosy embrace of seven hills and stretches down to the shore of Kollafjörður fjord. Across the fjord, mount Esja rises in all its splendour and bids you welcome; white in its snowy bridesveil in winter, indigo blue from the spreads of lupine in summer. There is certainly no
shortage of beauty in this place but that’s by no means all there is to it.
The possibilities to enjoy outdoor activities are endless and the numerous walking and hiking paths, with information signs for further insight into the area’s nature and wildlife, make this place perfect for those who like to get around on foot or by bike. The town has two swimming pools, one brand new, with great waterslides for the kids to play in as well as several hot tubs, saunabaths and top notch facilities. It also prides itself on a gorgeous golf course stretching along the shore with a breathtaking view of the ocean.
For families, the outdoor recreational areas that form what locals call “The Adventure Park,” should be a real hit. With their unusual equipment and natural surroundings, they’re a great excuse to kick of your shoes and find the kid in you. Those who dare can walk up to Kaldakvísl waterfall, somewhat of a hidden gem, and jump in like the town’s teenagers do in the spring- and summertime.
Mosfellsbær really has the feel of country living and the numerous horses and stables in the area bear strong witness to that. The Icelandic horse is a big part
of the country’s history and some say that the best way to experience Iceland is from a horse’s back. A horse ride through the beautiful scenery is nothing less than invograting and in the summertime there’s even a riding school for kids.
Through the years one of the town’s main attractions has been the Álafoss area and its old woollen factory where nature and culture come together. This little village is the home and workplace of artists and craftsmen who seek inspiration in its serenity. The river Varmá runs through it and all around it are spaces perfect for a picnic and lazy walks.
In the summertime, when the town really comes to life, local markets, both in Álafoss and Mosfellsdalur, are a regular event, selling homemade goods, flowers and arts and crafts.
And last but not least, the town’s bakery is an entire world of its own! Its reputation has travelled far out of Mosfellsbær and attracts customers from all over. Run by Hafliði Ragnarsson, a master baker and chocolatier, it’s a state of the art gourmet shop and café, selling not just bread and pastries but all sorts of delicatessen as well as Hafliði’s
So after giving it a second thought, it’s really not at all surprising that travellers seem to have such great interest in my “backyard”. I feel extremely proud to welcome those who visit it and there’s no doubt in my mind that it offers each and everyone something that will absolutely make their day and live in their memory long after they leave and return to their own ‘backyards’. I, on the other hand, am so grateful for never having to leave and will gladly remain a permanent traveller in Mosfellsbær!