Top 10 places on the Snæfellsnes peninsula
Snæfellsnes peninsula is known for its beauty, diverse nature and friendly fishing villages. The beautiful landscape of the peninsula has a lot to offer and so many things to see. Spend the day exploring beautiful beaches, friendly villages, lava caves, picturesque mountains, glacier and more.
How to get there:
Snæfellsnes peninsula is the perfect day trip from Reykjavik, it’s located about 2 hours (150 km) drive from the capital. Take Ring Road nr. 1 towards Borgarnes and from there take road nr. 54 towards Stykkisholmur. This is a list of our top 10 places on the peninsula but there are many other things to see and do and you can definitely spend more then one day there if you have the time.
Arnarstapi is a small fishing village located at the foot of Mount Stapafell and close to another small village, Hellnar. The hike along the coastline from Arnarstapi to Hellnar is highly recommended, it’s an old horse trail and takes you through a lava field called Hellnahraun. On the way you will see interesting lava formation and the beautiful cliff Gatklettur or “the rock with a hole”. The hike is about 2,5 km long and takes about 1 hour and when you arrive in Hellnar make sure to visit the cozy café Fjöruhúsið, where you find home cooked Icelandic cuisines like waffles, seafood soup and baked bread. (Only open during summer).
Lóndrangar basalt cliffs
About 10 minute drive from Arnarstapi you will find the Lóndrangar basalt cliffs that strike out from the ocean. There are two rocks, one is about 75 meters high and the other one is about 61 meters. There is a rich birdlife around the cliffs, where you might find the puffin, fulmar, common murre and kittiwake. From Malarrif there is a relatively easy hike along the beach to Lóndrangar.
Please be careful when walking on the rocky beach and always keep in mind that the waves by the beaches in Iceland are very unpredictable and the suction of the sea is very powerful and dangerous.
Vatnshellir cave is 8000 years old, about 200 meters long and goes 35 meters below the surface. The cave was created in a volcanic eruption and it’s a must do when in Snæfelssne! To explore the cave you must book a guided tour where you will get all necessary safety equipment.
Stykkishólmur is probably the most beautiful town in Iceland but also the largest town in Snæfellsnes and home to about 1200 people. The town is known for many colorful and well preserved houses and don’t miss the local folk museum located in an old house built in 1828. In Stykkishólmur you will also find swimming pool, restaurant, café and you can take the ferry to Flatey and the Westfjords.
Located close to the town Grundafjörður is the beautifully cone-shaped mountain, Kirkjufell. This 463 meters high mountain is the most photographed mountain in Iceland and the mountain is especially popular during winter with the Northern Lights dancing around in the sky. It’s possible to hike around the mountain and to the top, but be careful the mountain is rather steep.
Snæfellsjökull glacier is part of Snæfellsnes national park and is also a 700.000 year old stratovolcano. It’s an active volcano but last eruption was about 1800 years ago. The glacier is probably most famous for being the entrance to center of the earth in the famous novel by Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of Earth. It’s peak reaches about 1446 meters and it’s possible to take a tour to the top of the glacier in a snowcat.
Djúpalónssandur and Dritvík
Located at the foot of Snæfellsjökull glacier is Djúpalónssandur black pebbled beach. The scenery around the beach is amazing with interesting rock formation and Snæfellsjökull glacier towering over the place. There are old ruins of a shipwreck lying around on the beach from the British fishing ship called The Epine GY7. From Djúpalónssandur it’s possible to take a short hike (about 1km) to Dritvík. It’s a small bay and used to be the largest seasonal fishing station in Iceland from the 16th century until the mid 19th century.
Remember the waves by the beaches in Iceland are very unpredictable and the suctions of the sea in Djúpalónssandur is very powerful and dangerous.
Seal watching Ytri-Tunga
Ytri-Tunga is one of the best places in Iceland to spot seals. There are two kinds of seals species that live permanently around the Icelandic shore, the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) and the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus). Both kinds can be spotted in Ytri-Tunga. The best time to see seals in Iceland is in June or July.
From road nr. 54 turn where the sign says Ytri-Tunga and then it’s a short walking distance from the farm to the beach.
The black little church at Búðir is located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by Búðahraun lava field. The lava field is about 5,000-8,000 years old and there is a crater in the middle of it called Búðaklettur. It’s possible to hike around the lava field to the crater. The area around the church has this romantic feeling and is very popular among photographers.
The mineral springs
In Snæfellsnes you can find several mineral springs, where you can drink fresh soda water straight from the ground. It’s probably the healthiest water in Iceland and it’s believed to have healing benefits, it’s especially good for people who suffer from heart and kidney diseases as well as diabetes. In Ölkelda there is a tab that delivers the water from the ground so you can fill up your bottle.