Nestled away off the beaten tracks of Selfoss, a family orientated, tomato greenhouse thrives. While the weather outside may be bitter cold, wet, windy or snowing, inside Friðheimar tomatoes grow all year round, under artificial lights replicating Mediterranean conditions. The farm has abundant supplies of geothermal water, which provides heat to the greenhouses. The borehole is 200 m from the greenhouses and the water flows into them at about 95°C / 203°F. The greenhouse makes use of modern technology and green energy, each greenhouse is equipped with a climate-control computer system for temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and lighting. The horticultural facilities total about 5,000m² under glass, of which about 4,200m² are used for cultivation. Visits to the greenhouses are available all year round for pre-booked groups.
With an annual harvest of 370 tons and a daily crop yield of over a ton, Friðheimar defies the odds of the Icelandic winters and invites customers in for a hearty bowl of tomato soup, tomato beer, or if you’re feeling it, tomato ice cream! The ambiance of the restaurant offers a unique experience to eat amongst the plants, within the greenhouse! Tomatoes are the key ingredient in every dish and the backbone to the attraction. Friðheimar has about 10,000 plants in its greenhouses, needing trimming and picking weekly. Tomato plants are pollinated by the famous Friðheimar bumble bees that live and work within the greenhouse!
Friðheimar isn’t just famous for growing tomatoes. Horse shows and horse breeding are another key ventures for the farm, with the aim to breed willing, good-looking horses with good neck and shoulders and a good disposition. Seven horses have been shown at breeding evaluations, and three received first prize. During the summer months, Friðheimar holds its own horse show: ‘A Meeting with the Icelandic Horse’. The show provides an insight into the history of the horse breed, brought to Iceland by the first Scandinavian settlers from around 900 AD.
The Story behind Fridheimar Tomato Farm
Horticulture using natural hot water had commenced at Friðheimar in 1946 and in 1995 Knútur and Helena bought Friðheimar, with the aim of combining their horses and horticulture knowledge. From 1995-2001 they successfully built a 1,174 m² greenhouse while also continuing to run the farm as before. From 2002-2006 they started growing tomatoes all year round, installed lighting, and built a new 1,000 m² greenhouse. From 2007-2013 they built up the equestrian center and tourist services. A stable for 20 horses was built as well as an outdoor arena with a stand for 120 spectators. A horse show for tourists was launched, and shortly after that greenhouse visits began.
Since 2011, a focus has been on increasing tourism, expanding the crop growing space (by 60%) and developing a range of food products and souvenirs for visitors to purchase and take home.
Where is Friðheimar located?
GPS: 64°10’42.0″N 20°26’50.0″W
Address: Friðheimar, Reykholti, Bláskógabyggð, 801 Selfoss.
Friðheimar is easy to find, as it is right off the highway on the Golden Circle tour route, but look out for the sign! It can be easy to miss!
Friðheimar is found within a small village in the Southern Region of Iceland, in the municipality of Bláskógabyggð, which I’m sure you’ll agree, is a fun word to say. With a population of around 100, it is by no means the smallest of Icelandic settlements. Reykholt has a collection of hot springs, and greenhouses, not far from Skálholt, Geysir, and Gullfoss.
How to get to Friðheimar
Fridheimar is on the Golden Circle route, 50 minutes away from Thingvellir National Park, half an hour from Gullfoss and 20 minutes from Geysir.
From Geysir, take Route 35 via Biskupstungnabraut. To get to Fridheimar from Gullfoss, it is the same.
From Thingvellir Park, take Gjabakkavegur/ Gjábakkavegur from Route 365.
From Reykjavik, Friðheimar is an hour and a half away (96.5 km) via Þjóðvegur 1 and Biskupstungnabraut.
Accommodation for Friðheimar
The following hotels are located within a 20-mile radius of the farm:
- Hotel Geysir
- Hotel Borealis
- Fosshotel Hekla
- Hotel Grimsborgir
- 360° Hotel
Skjól is a campsite located less than 25 km away.
Efra-Sel Hostel is a budget-friendly hostel, less than 30 km from the farm.
Tips for visiting Fridheimar
- Perfect lunch spot on the Golden Circle tour!
- The unique food experience is available every day between midday and 4 pm where lunch is enjoyed among the tomato plants, but it is best to ring up in advance
- You can book a greenhouse visit and a horse show if you’re coming as a group, again, make sure you book in advance.
- Book in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (+354) 486 8894.
- The prices are very reasonable, for a soup with home baked bread and coffee/tea it is around 2000 ISK.
Fridheimar in Winter
Fridheimar greenhouse including the restaurant is open during the winter and the hot food is a welcome relief! The only days Fridheimar is closed, are 24th, 25th, and 31st December and 1st January.
The horse shows “A Meeting with the Icelandic Horse” are only available from 1 May to 30 September and must be booked in advance.
Interesting places near Fridheimar
Fridheimar benefits from being on the Golden Circle route. Places of interest include: