Snæfellsnes peninsula : The most hidden Icelandic wonder
January 1, 1970
by Dominika Kolomaznikova
Snæfellsnes, a relatively long peninsula in the western part of Iceland, has been my home since last August. I have been playing with the idea of visiting Iceland for a very long time. Life happens, people change, only this amazing nature around us tries its best to stay the same. Last summer, my greatest journey has started, and hopefully, will never come to its end. Immediately after landing on this magical island, I fell in love with the incredible Icelandic nature, the generosity of Icelanders and, most importantly, the unique way of life you cannot find anywhere else. Honestly, sometimes, I feel I am no longer on the planet Earth. High mountains, beautiful waterfalls, endless beaches, breathtaking lava fields, secretly placed geothermal hot springs; these and much more you can explore while visiting Snæfellsnes.
Stykkishólmur is a harbor town situated in the northern part of Snæfellsnes peninsula. Stykkishólmur, as the biggest town on the peninsula, is a center of tourisms with many services such as museums, restaurants, cafés, hotels and guesthouses. A short walk to a light house offers a beautiful view on the harbor and old town of Stykkishólmur.
Kirkjufell mountain is easily found between two small towns Grundarfjörður and Ólafsvík, in the northern part of Snæfellsnes. Being one of the Game of Thrones filming locations, Kirkjufell mountain is thought to be the most photographed mountain in Iceland. If you are not the biggest fan of touristic places, I would recommend you to take a deep breath and come anyway because it is totally worth it! The visit allows you to capture one of the most amazing sceneries you can possible find in Iceland – two beautiful waterfalls called Kirkjufellfoss with Kirkjufell mountain in the background.
Snæfellsjökull National Park
Snæfellsjökull National Park is located around the Snæfellsjökull glacier, in the western part of Snæfellsnes peninsula. Snæfellsjökull is an old volcano which top has been covered by a glacier. Snæfellsjökull is known as one of the most famous Icelandic wonders. It has also inspired Jules Verne in his novel Journey to the center of the Earth. Snæfellsjökull National Park is therefore formed by lava fields and mostly covered by moss.
Skarðsvík Golden Beach
Skarðsvík, a golden sand beach, should be your first stop in Snæfellsjökull National Park. This beautiful beach connects two magical Icelandic wonders – wild ocean life and magical green moss covering lava fields.
Saxhóll Volcanic Crater
Saxhóll is a volcanic crater at the entrance of the Snæfellsjökull National Park. Thanks to the staircase, it is very easy to climb to the top of the volcanic crater and enjoy the view on the lava fields underneath Saxhóll.
Vatnshellir Cave is a lava tube which has been formed by volcanic eruption. It is thought to be an entrance point in the famous novel Journey to the center of the Earth by Jules Verne. To enter the cave you will need to join a guided tour.
Djúpalónssandur Black Beach
Djúpalónssandur is a black sand beach situated in the western part of Snæfellsjökull National Park, only a short drive from the main road. After leaving your car on the parking lot, you can take several hikes around the coast and explore different rock formations in this area. As anywhere else in Iceland, it is important to respect the nature and do not underestimate its power. It is very dangerous and not suggested to swim in this location since the waves can be very strong and unpredictable. Djúpalónssandur is one of the most famous elf-locations and there are many sagas and tales which take place on this dramatic black sand beach. Respect for elves is deeply seated in mind of each Icelander and tourists should show the same behavior while visiting Iceland.
Lóndrangar and Þúfubjarg Cliffs
Lóndrangar and Þúfubjarg are two majestic cliffs in the south-west of Snæfellsjökull National Park. The cliffs are situated very close to the main road, so you can take a quick break and enjoy the impressive view from the coast.
Hellnar is a former fishing village and our next stop when exploring Snæfellsnes peninsula. Today, the area mostly functions as a touristic spot and offers a restaurant, café and hotel. On the other hand, down by the sea the visitors can see a beautiful rock formation with a big opening. I would definitely recommend a short hike between two villages Hellnar and Arnarstapi. The hiking path lies along the coast and the hike itself takes approximately half an hour one way.
Arnarstapi is probably my favorite place in Snæfellsnes. A former fishing village, nowadays a centre of tourism in Snæfellsnes offers breathtaking views of both rock formations by the sea and Stapafell volcano mountain in the background. You cannot miss it!
Rauðfeldsgjá is a narrow gorge not far away from Arnarstapi, in the south-west of Snæfellsnes. Rauðfeldsgjá gorge lies between two cliffs and extends about 40 meters into the mountain. When entering the canyon, you should beware of a slippery terrain and occasional streams of water. Explore Rauðfeldsgjá gorge when visiting Snæfellsnes and enjoy a mystic Icelandic atmosphere!
Búðakirkja Black Church
Búðakirkja is a famous black church in the southern part of Snæfellsnes peninsula. In the winter time, the black color of the church in combination with snow creates an authentic fairytale scenery which attracts many tourists. Búðakirkja is also surrounded by a historic graveyard and it is considered to be one of the most photogenic places in Iceland.
Ytri-Tunga is a sandy beach in the southern part of Snæfellsnes. The beach is known for seals that use to spend their time on the rocks near by, which makes it a very popular spot to visit.
Ölkelda Mineral Spring
Ölkelda is a mineral spring in the south-east of the peninsula and our last stop in Snæfellsnes. It contains drinking water full of minerals such as calcium and potassium. A very strong taste and typical red color of this water comes from a high iron concentration.
Snæfellsnes peninsula is a magical place and a real Icelandic wonder. It has become a popular destination for its geological uniqueness, lava fields, waterfalls, mineral springs, craters and glaciers. With Snæfellsjökull in the middle, it has inspired many travelers; so enjoy your stay and get inspired by Iceland!