Word Of The Issue: Farfuglaheimili - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Word Of The Issue: Farfuglaheimili

Word Of The Issue: Farfuglaheimili

Published January 30, 2018

Alice Demurtas
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If you were ever a tourist in your youth, chances are you’ve set foot in a “farfuglaheimili” at least once. “Farfuglaheimili” is the proper Icelandic word for “hostel,” but the literal translation is far more poetic than that. “Farfuglar” are in fact migratory birds that travel North to South and vice versa, according to the season.



Since hostels tend to be cheaper than hotels and cater to a younger demographic that’s always on the move, it seems apt that they are referred to as houses for migratory birds. The term, however, was even more appropriate when the few seasonal waves of tourists brought north only seasoned backpackers and old adventurers—travellers who came here in solitude, to experience the majestic emptiness of Icelandic nature.

Read about more Icelandic words here.

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