Highlights of Snæfellsnes peninsula
Snæfellsnes is also known as “Miniature Iceland” because here you can find almost all the natural phenomena of Iceland. For book lovers, it is here that Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Center of the Earth takes place.
Photo by: Jane Perez
1. Helgafell mountain
Helgafell Mountain is a historic, sacred mountain. At the top was once a monastery, of which we can still see some remnants.
In Stykkisholmur, the capital of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you can take a boat trip on the impressive Breiðafjörður Fjord. The fishing nets are thrown out during the 2-hour cruise and you can taste the freshly caught seafood on board (Viking Sushi Adventure). You will sail along numerous islands and impressive basalt formations.
Be also sure to visit the modern and futuristic Stykkishólmskirkja. The ceiling of the church, with hundreds of bulbs, is well worth a look.
3. Bjarnarhöfnshark museum
In the Shark Museum you can find harpoons and hunting boats. You can also have a taste of some shark meat. If you wish to visit the drying-house where shark meat is hanging, ask the staff. Beware of the smell!
4. Berserkjahraun lave field
An impressive mossy lava field of Berserkjahraun,
5. Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall
The mountain has a very particular shape and is 463 metres high. Nearby is a small river with an old bridge over it. You can visit the beautiful Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall there.
6. Svörtuloft lighthouse
You will reach the orange Svörtuloft lighthouse where you can sometimes spot whales. You will also find the Saxhólsbjarg cliffs with birds there.
7. Saxhóll crater
The Saxhóll volcano erupted about 3000 years ago. You can easily climb to the top of the crater via a staircase. From the top, you’ll have a beautiful view of the surroundings and the Neshraun Lava Field.
8. Djúpalónssandur and dritvík
Follow the footpath from the car park through the jagged lava formations; it leads to the black pebble beach of dritvík.
Near djúpalónssandur you’ll find four stones, which you should try to lift. These were used to test the strength of the fishermen. The stones weigh between 23 and 154 kg. Walk a little farther to the beach, where you can find the faded remains of a 1948 British ship.
14 seamen were drowned here, only 5 were rescued.
9. Vatnshellir cave
The Vatnshellir cave is accessible only with a tour. You descend into the 200-metre-long cave by a spiral staircase. The tour lasts about an hour.
Hellnar offers some beautiful rock formations. You can also visit a small church. Take a stroll through the lava field between Hellnar and Arnarstapi (2.5 km one way). Along the coastline there are lava rocks in all possible forms; the most notable is Gatklettur, a natural arch that extends into the sea
In Arnastapi you can visit the beautiful columnar basalt and rock formations, and a small, old harbour. Walk along the bird cliffs that are coloured white by the the guano (bird droppings). You will also find another troll-like monument, Bárður. You can walk to the monument and beach via a walkway.
The black church in Buðir is one of the three black Lutheran-style churches in Iceland. It gets its black colour because the wood, as in the hull of a ship, is painted with tar. The first church stood here in 1703. This was later demolished, and a new one was built in 1848. The church contains some valuable pieces, including a clock from 1672 and a chalice, door ring and candlesticks from the 18th century.