Illugastaðir

Farm in Vatnsnes Peninsula

On the west side of Vatnsnes Peninsula is Illugastaðir farm, with wonderful views of peaks along the Strandir coast in the Westfjords. A 10-minute walk through bird-filled fields leads from the car park to a popular site for sunbaking seals; at the trail's end there's a hut with binoculars for visitor use. Note that the farm is closed from 1 May to 20 June due to eider duck nesting.

This storied farm is the site of the crime leading to the last public execution in Iceland (1830). Agnes Magnúsdóttir and Friðrik Sigurðsson were convicted of the murder of two men at Illugastaðir, and they were executed by beheading at Þrístapar, a site south of Blönduós. Their remains lie in a grave at Tjörn churchyard, further north along the peninsula.

The story of the crime and executions was the basis for a 1995 Icelandic film Agnes, acclaimed novel, Burial Rites, by Australian writer Hannah Kent, and a forthcoming film starring Jennifer Lawrence.