Berserker Lava Field

Halfway between Grundafjordur and Stykkisholmur is an enormous lava field created from an ancient lava flow from 3,000-4,000 years ago. Seemingly frozen in time, the elaborate shapes are blanketed in soft green moss, with vibrant hues of red and orange.

According to the Eyrbyggja Saga, a ‘berserker’ was promised the hand of a local resident’s daughter if he cleared a path through the lava field, but was instead rewarded with murder upon completion of the task. As the tale goes, a 10th century farmer called Viga-Styrr had two Berserkers, from Sweden, who worked for him. One of the men fell in love with the farmer’s daughter and asked to marry her and while the farmer wanted to refuse he was a little afraid of doing so.

He consulted with the local chieftain who suggested he allow the marriage if the Berserker would first complete an impossible task, i.e. forging a road through the rugged lava field in one day so that the Styr wouldn’t have to travel such a long distance around it when he wanted to get to the other side to where his brother lived. The Berserker agreed, and he and his compatriot set to work right away, putting all their “berserk” aggressive energy to the task.

They finished before sundown. Simultaneously pleased about the road and alarmed by his prospective son-in-law, the farmer invited the two Berserkers to relax their tired muscles in a special sauna he had built for them. However this was a trap and the farmer killed and buried them both.