Snaefellsnes Peninsula Iceland in a Nutshell

Snæfellsnes

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a region in Western Iceland, located between Reykjavík and the Westfjords. The area, easily accessible all year round and a short two hour drive from the capital area, is a popular destination amongst tourists and Icelanders alike.

The Peninsula is known for incredibly beautiful and dramatic landscapes, and a common knowledge amongst Icelanders is that the area is the only part of Iceland where you can see all of the unique natural elements in one place. In other words, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula has everything to offer, from untouched lava fields, tall volcanoes, mystical glacier and black beaches to white beaches, a National Park and hazardous cliffs along the coastline. Uniquely diverse geology, folklore, sagas, ecology, food and more have enough to offer for several days.

Simply put, the area is a true paradise for the outdoor enthusiast and, with magical sights on every turn, a feast for lovers of photography. Make sure you bring that extra battery as this is the perfect place to explore Iceland.

Snæfellsjökull National Park

The symbol of the area is the mysterious Snæfellsjökull glacier, located near the tip of the peninsula, and where the National Park was established in 2001. Its mystique and majestic features have inspired many throughout the years, including French writer Jules Verne and Icelandic Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness. 

The Park's purpose is to protect and conserve the area's unique landscape, indigenous plant and animal life as well as important historical relics. At the same time, the Park is meant to allow visitors easier as well as improved opportunities to get to know the area.

Captivating Nature 

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is known for its vivid wildlife and picturesque surroundings. Such as Kirkjufell mountain, hugely popular since it’s appearance in Game of Thrones, and the beautiful town of Stykkishólmur, with colorful houses and vivid museums, as seen in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The waters around the peninsula, especially in Breiðafjörður bay on its northern side, are bountiful with diverse ecosystems and sources of food that have sustained the population throughout its history. Breiðafjörður and its ecosystem is preserved by law. Its inner part is characterized by countless little islands and strong tidal currents. Various species can be seen in the area, such as the white-tailed eagle and puffins. Whales and seals are a common sight and the arctic fox can be spotted in the National Park and surrounding areas. Sandy beaches on the south of the peninsula are perfect for horse riding.

We care about the environment...

The community of Snæfellsnes has for a long time emphasized on sustainable development in all areas of society. Therefore, the municipalities have jointly been working on their diverse collaboration with businesses, associations and organizations resulting in a formation of the Snæfellsnes Regional Park – forming a complex landscape and cultural whole. The cooperation is based on a common vision of the uniqueness of the area and its utilization and especially its protection.  In addition, Snæfellsnes has been awarded EarthCheck destination certification confirming an environmentally conscious community that strives for improvements in the spirit of sustainable work practices. This experience, further emphasized by globally increasing enthusiasm for sustainability, social responsibility and food traceability, provides good encouragement for further steps.

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Snaefellsnes Peninsula
GPS Points N64° 49' 28.637" W23° 57' 54.564"
Postal codes

340,350,355,356,360

Travel directory for Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Brimhestar
Cottages
  • Brimilsvellir
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 436-1533, 864-8833
Ocean Adventures
Day Tours
  • Höfnin Stykkishólmi / Stykkishólmur Harbour
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 8982028
Boðvík
Day Tours
  • Háarif 35
  • 360 Hellissandur
  • 865-2008
Dagbjört Dúna Rúnarsdóttir
Hiking Tours - Hiking
  • Böðvarsholt
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 867-4451
Þórunn Hilma Svavarsdóttir
Hiking Tours - Hiking
  • Neðri-Hóll
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 893-5240
Krums
Crafts & Design
  • Eyrarvegur 20
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 842-1307
The White House
Exhibitions
  • Krossavík
  • 360 Hellissandur
  • 692 4440 / 896 6860, 896 6860
Gallery Braggi
Crafts & Design
  • Aðalgötu 28
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 893-5588 , 438-1808
Gallery Lundi
Crafts & Design
  • V/Frúarstíg
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 893-5588, 845-9269
Stykkishólmur Slowly
Hiking Tours - Hiking
  • Hafnargata 4
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 766-0996
Storyteller´s Lodge
Cultural Centres
  • Sæból 13
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 893-7714
Sögufylgja
Hiking Tours - Hiking
  • Álftavatn
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 848-2339

Others

Welcome Hotel Hellissandur
Hotels
  • Klettsbúð 9
  • 360 Hellissandur
  • 487-1212
Við Hafið Guesthouse
Guesthouses
  • Ólafsbraut 55
  • 355 Ólafsvík
  • 436-1166
Gíslabær Hellnum
Guesthouses
  • Gíslabær, Hellnum
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 898-8885, 867-7903
Brimhestar
Cottages
  • Brimilsvellir
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 436-1533, 864-8833
Hruni Cottage
Cottages
  • Háarif 33, á Rifi
  • 360 Hellissandur
  • 436-6644, 896-3644
North Star Apartments
Guesthouses
  • Hafnargata 11, Rif
  • 360 Hellissandur
  • 487-1212
Hvitahusid
Cottages
  • Skjöldur, Helgafellssveit
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 820-6578 , 893-6097
Journey to the center of the earth
Cottages
  • Hellnar, Kjarvalströð 3-5
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 663-5790, 898-8212
Hálsaból Cottages
Cottages
  • Gröf 1
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 8476606
Bikers Paradise
Guesthouses
  • Sandholt 45
  • 355 Ólafsvík
  • 436-1070, 896-2845
Nátthagi
Cottages
  • Lýsudalur
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 895-8987, 898-7086
Lárperla / Ocean Pearl
Apartments
  • Grundargata 78
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 868-8316
Guesthouse Hof
Guesthouses
  • Hofgarðar
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 8463897
Stundarfridur
Cottages
  • Hólar 1
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 8642463, 856-2463
Setberg Travel Service
Guesthouses
  • Setberg
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 438-6817
Vatnsás 10
Cottages
  • Vatnsás 10
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 8683932
Guesthouse & Gallery
Guesthouses
  • Brautarholt 7
  • 355 Ólafsvík
  • 8311411
Dísarbyggð
Cottages
  • Þórdísarstaðir
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 892-7746
Ennisbraut 1
Guesthouses
  • Ennisbraut 1
  • 355 Ólafsvík
  • 821-9217
Hotel Breiðafjörður
Hotels
  • Aðalgata 8
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 433-2200, 861-2517
Sæból / Ocean Lair
Apartments
  • Sæból 46
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 868-8316
Harbour Hostel
Guesthouses
  • Hafnargata 4
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 517-5353
Hraunhals
Cottages
  • Hraunháls
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 897-2558
Heimagisting Ölmu
Bed & Breakfast
  • Sundabakki 12
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 438-1435, 848-9833, 894-9542
Helgafell 1 and Helgafell 2
Cottages
  • Helgafell II
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 869-3184
Fosshotel Hellnar
Hotels
  • Hellnum
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 435-6820
Grundarfjörður Hostel
Hostels
  • Hlíðarvegur 15
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 895-6533, 562-6533
Snoppa Apartment
Bed & Breakfast
  • Grundargata 18 n.h.
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 897-6194, 868-5167
Skjöldur Community Center
Sleeping bag accommodation
  • Helgafellssveit
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 841-9478
Skálholt 6 Home Accommodation
Guesthouses
  • Skálholt 6
  • 355 Ólafsvík
  • 867 9407
Bjarg Apartments
Apartments
  • Grundargata 8
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 616-2576

Others

Söluskáli ÓK
Shopping
  • Ólafsbraut 27
  • 355 Ólafsvík
  • 436-1012
Skúrinn Restaurant
Restaurants
  • Þvervegur 2
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 544-4004
Stykkid Pizzeria
Restaurants
  • Borgarbraut 1
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 438-1717
Olís - Service Station
Gas station
  • Aðalgata 25
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 438-1254
Bjarnarhöfn Bistro
Restaurants
  • Bjarnarhöfn, Helgafellssveit
  • 340 Stykkishólmur
  • 438-1581
Fosshotel Hellnar
Hotels
  • Hellnum
  • 356 Snæfellsbær
  • 435-6820
Mæstro - Street food
Diners
  • Grundargata 33
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 7745534
Kaffi 59
Cafés
  • Grundargata 59
  • 350 Grundarfjörður
  • 4386959
Nature
Ólafsvíkurenni

The mountain Enni is 418 meters high Tuya mountain. There is a hiking trail up the mountain but along you can also walk to look at Ólafsvíkurfoss waterfall. An information sign is laid out at the western entrance to Ólafsvík, from where there is a "path or old path that can be followed all the way up to the waterfall edge.

Nature
Bjarnarfoss Waterfall

Bjarnarfoss is a majestic waterfall that falls down a basalt cliff which was formed by the now extinct volcano Maelifell. The waterfall, along with the columnar rocks around it, is on the Nature Conservation Register. A car park is near the waterfall and a good walking path. In 2018, the tourist attraction at Bjarnarfoss received the Icelandic Tourist Board´s environmental awards.

History and Culture
Ingjaldshóll

This former parsonage and estate between the villages Hellissandur and Rif was the common assembly site of the parish in the past.

The present church was built in 1903 and is the oldest concrete church of the country, perhaps even the world. When it was built, it received a replica of the altarpiece of the Lutheran Cathedral of Reykjavik.

Nature
Vatnshellir Cave

Exploring Vatnshellir cave is truly amazing and unforgettable experience. This 8000 year old lava tube reaches over 200 meters and goes 35 meters below the surface.

During summer, guided tours are offered from 10am-6pm. During wintertime 2 tours a day are offered. Please check on the website www.vatnshellir.is.

All guests will be equipped with flashlights and helmets.

Hiking shoes and warm clothes reccommended.

10 minute drive west of Arnarstapi. 25 minute drive south of Hellissandur.

Further info: vatnshellir@vatnshellir.is www.vatnshellir.is (+354) 787 0001

Nature
Hólahólar Crater

Hólahólar are an ancient crater cluster. One of the craters is open on the side and formed like a huge amphitheater. The deserted farm Hólahólar was formerly the capital of a settlement in Dritvík and Djúpalónssandur but was deserted in 1880 and since then invisible elves (Huldufólk) have been ruling there ever since.

Nature
Drapuhlidarfjall Mountain

Drapuhlidarfjall Mountain is beautifully colourful. It is composed of sulphur, basalt, jasper, rhyolite and lignite. As usual with lignite deposits, fossiled plants and petrified wood can be found. Drapuhlidarfjall is 527 m high.

History and Culture
Fiskibyrgi

Near Gufuskalar on the uttermost part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, there was one of the many winter fisher villages consistant in Iceland in former times.

If you come from Hellnar and look at the lava fields at your right, you may disover the ruins of some 200 very small stone buildings which were used to dry and stock the fish. Their age is estimated at 500-700 years.

It is a 10 minutes walk from the road to one of the ruins which is still in so good condition that you can crawl inside. There, to your surprise, you may find the ceiling high enough for an adult to stand upright.

Nature
Malarrif

At Malarrif is the Visitor Center for Snaefellsjokull National Park. It´s fun to walk around the area and explore the nature, the beach and the lighthouse.

Nature
Kirkjufell mountain

Grundarfjörður's beautiful landmark is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its isolated position jutting out into the sea makes it a focal point for tourists and seamen alike.

Kirkjufell (Church Mountain) is 463 meters high and visible from all angles in town.Grundarfjörður is the ideal place to enjoy the amazing colours of the sunset behind the mountain.

Nature
Budir

Budir is a popular destination. The landscape consists of golden sand beaches, rugged lava field and great vegetation and bird life. Budahraun lava is a nature reserve. The little black church, Budakirkja, is located at Budir. People come from all around the world to seal their love at the church. Visitors also have an impressive view of the breathtaking Snaefellsjokull glacier from Budir.

Nature
Ondverdarnes

Ondverdarnes is the westernmost point of Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Nature
Helgafell Holy Mountain

Holy Mountain, 73 m with a breathtaking panoramic view across Breiðafjordur Bay. A viewing dial is at the top.

Folklore advises anyone climbing the mountain for the first time to walk straight up without looking back or speaking and three wishes will be granted. The wishes have to be of good intent and the wisher tells no one and faces east when making them.

A small remnant of a wall on the mountain top is dated 1184 and was a part of a nearby monastery built at this time.

Nature
Skardsvik

In stark contrast to the majority of black sand beaches in Iceland, Skarðsvík resembles a Mediterranean shoreline with turquoise water and the surrounding dark, volcanic landscape. Be warned, the waves at Skarðsvík are renown for being aggressive. It is recommended to visit the beach at low-tide in order to ensure safety.

Wild Life
Nature
Svalthufa

Svalthufa is a high cliff teemed with birdlife and there is a great view to Lóndrangar Cliffs. Lóndrangar are uniquely-formed remnants of ancient basalt volcanic dikes sticking out from the sea. The higher pillar is 75 m high and the lower one is 61 m. On these cliffs, fulmars have their nests. At Malarrif is the Visitor Center for Snaefellsjokull National Park and it´s fun to walk around the area and explore the nature.

Nature
Djupalonssandur & Dritvik

Djupalonssandur is a beautiful pebbled beach, with a series of rocks of mysterious form emerging from the ocean.

It is one of the few areas that lead down to the sea along this coast with its high dramatic cliffs. Watch out for the famous ghosts roaming the place!

The rests of a shipwreck can be seen on the beach. On the beach there are also big stones which people tried to lift and test their strength in the days of the fishing stations: Fully Strong 154 kg, Half-Strong 100 kg, Weakling 54 kg and Bungler 23 kg. Weakling marked the frontier of wimphood, any man who couldn't lift it was deemed unsuitable for a life as a fisherman.

History and Culture
Stadarstadur

Ari-the-Wise served as a priest at Stadastadur from 1067-1148. He is well-known for his Book of Icelanders, the first work of history written in Iceland.

The place is also the setting of a very known novel by the Nobel price winning Icelandic author Halldor Kiljan Laxness: "Under the glacier".

Nature
Hellnar

For centuries, Hellnar was among the largest fishing villages beneath the Snaefellsjokull ice cap.

Valasnos, a freestanding rock, extends east of the bay. One of Iceland's most peculiar caves, Badstofa, is there. It is known for its special light exposure and colourful interior.

A cold water spring is to be found at the lava's edge. It is dedicated to the Holy Virgin because it is said she appeared there once.

The Hellnar church was built in 1945 on a picturesque site where a church was first raised in 1833.

Located at Hellnar is a Hotel and a charming little café.

Nature
Arnarstapi

Arnarstapi was an important trading post in the past and had a much bigger population than it has now.

Columnar basalt, ravines and grottoes surround the Arnarstapi pier. There is good anchorage for small boats.

There is quite a large arctic tern colony in the village itself. A walk along the coastline is recommended to watch the birds and the magnificent lava formations. The seaside and the cliffs between Arnastapi and Hellnar have been made a Natural Reserve in 1979.

A very interesting old path follows the coastline where you can see old lending places of fishermen, lots of birds like the kittiwake, the Arctic tern and the fulmar and pass through a lavafield. If you take a guided tour, you will also hear a ghost story.

A sculpture of Bardur Snaefellsas by Ragnar Kjartansson stands by the beach at Arnarstapi.

Nature
Saxholl crater

Saxhóll Crater is located in the Snaefellsjokull National Park. It´s easy to climb and the view from the top is spectacular. A low-set metal stair follows the path´s course to the top. The stair is made up of modules three meters long and 1,5 meters wide that hold seven treads each between solid stingers with open risers. The units join together like a necklace on the slope. The stairs were awarded Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize 2018 which are the fourth awards the project achieves since 2017.

History and Culture
Songhellir, cave

Songhellir is a famous cave. The name means the cave of songs. It is well known because of its echo.

Nature
Snaefellsjokull glacier

The Snæfellsjökull glacier is 1446m above sea level. The glacier is an active volcano, having been built up through numerous eruptions during the last 800,000 years. Many believe the glacier to be one of the seven main energy centres of the earth and its mystique is noticed by many. The glacier plays big role as the Center of the Earth in the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne. Snæfellsjökull is a part of the Snæfellsjökull National Park which was established on June 28, 2001. The Park's purpose is to protect and conserve the areas unique landscape, indigenous plant and animal life as well as important historical relics. At the same time, the Park is meant to allow visitors easier as well as improved opportunities to get to know the area. Driving on the Glacier is prohibited except with a permission from the park ranger.


History and Culture
Budakirkja Church

The little black church, Budakirkja Church is located at Budir on Snaefellsnes Peninsula. People come from around the world to seal their love at the church.

Nature
Londrangar basalt cliffs

Uniquely-formed remnants of ancient basalt volcanic dikes sticking out from the sea.

Londrangar and the hill Svalthufa are the remains of a crater, which has been eroded to its present form by the sea.

The farmers in the area never made or make hay on the hill, because it is said to belong to the elves living in the area.

Younger lava fields surround this old crater ruin. The higher pillar (75m) was first climbed in 1735 and the lower (61 m) in 1938.

Below the hill you may find Thufubjarg cliff where according to a folktale the poet Kolbeinn Joklaskald had an encounter with the Devil.

On these cliffs, puffins and fulmars have their nests.

Nature
Gatklettur - Arch Rock

Gatklettur - Arch Rock - is a cliff with a circular arch. Rock Arch shows how distinctive wave action has eroded the rocks into arches and beautiful swirled patterns.

There is great birdlife around the cliffs and pretty flora surrounding the area.

Nature
Svodufoss

Svöðufoss is a beautiful waterfall in the Hólmkelsá river. The waterfall is 10 meters high and falls off a beautiful basalt column cliff. a parking lot has been built near the waterfall so today it is fairly easy to visit and enjoy. The walk from the parking lot to the waterfall is only about half an hour.

Nature
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West Iceland

Towns & Villages

The population centres in West Iceland are as varied as they are many. Ten places have over 50 residents and Akranes is the most densely populated with 6,500 inhabitants. 

All of the larger communities put ever-increasing emphasis on dynamic tourism where a wide selection of recreation and services are offered.   

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Map Hellissandur, Rif Grundarfjörður Stykkishólmur Búðardalur Dalir Arnarstapi Hellnar Snæfellsnes Bifröst Húsafell Reykholt Borgarfjörður Hvanneyri Borgarnes Hvalfjörður Akranes Ólafsvík Bjarteyjarsandur