Iceland is hardly an undiscovered travel destination these days–photos of the Blue Lagoon abound on Instagram and Justin Bieber filmed a music video of him touring some of the country’s most iconic places–but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. The tiny country is home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes: dramatic fjords, volcanic mountain ranges, and massive glaciers.

The Nordurnes cottage, 80 km outside of Reykjavik, is a cozy haven from which to enjoy sweeping views of the Icelandic countryside, the Hekla volcano (one of Iceland’s most active), and, in the winter, the Northern Lights dancing overhead.

In traditional Nordic style, the home is clad in vertical black boards with white trim and red doors. Making the most of 344 square feet, Siska added a lofted bedroom above the kitchen area and French doors that open to a porch in warmer weather. A bathroom and small mudroom entry are the only partitioned rooms.


The tiny home, available for vacationers via Homeaway, was renovated by Maja Siska, an artist, farmer, and equestrian who keeps flocks of sheep and Icelandic horses on the grounds. Her home and one other cottage sit on the 130 hectare farm, but the residences are out-of-sight of each other, lending each a sense of remoteness.

The peaceful farm is just 7 km away from riding stables and secluded geothermal pools, and are a great jumping off point for adventures throughout southern Iceland. Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir, Golden Circle, Skogafoss waterfall, Vik (bird cliffs and black beach), Blue Lagoon, the Westman Islands and Dyrholaey are all just day trips away. While they’re all worthwhile journeys, what makes the Nordurnes cottage special isn’t access to popular sights and tourist destinations.

It’s a place that feels locked in simpler times, where horses to care for and sheep to be shorn top the to-do list. Maja Siska moved to Iceland in 2000 from her native Germany to work with horses and never left. Captivated by the broad, uninterrupted landscapes and the gentle pace of life, she stayed put. Her time is filled with creative projects–art, architecture, wool-spinning, knitting–and caring for her animals. Dropping into a life like hers, even just for a few nights, is good for the soul.

Photos courtesy Maja Siska

Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.

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