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Snæfellsnes National Park: Your Guide

Among all of Iceland’s parks and protected areas, Snæfellsnes Peninsula is unique.

6. febrúar 2023

Snæfellsnes National Park: Your Guide

Among all of Iceland’s parks and protected areas, Snæfellsnes Peninsula is unique.

6. febrúar 2023

With its incredible diversity of landscapes and geological wonders, there’s nowhere else in the country where there’s so much to see in so small an area.

In fact, that’s why the Snæfellsnes National Park—also known as the Snæfellsjökull National Park—is often known as “Iceland in miniature”. From glaciers to distinctive mountains, waterfalls to spectacular, wildlife-packed coastlines, there’s really something here for everyone.

In this article, discover everything that this magical place has to offer, as well as the key practical information you need for your visit.

Facts about Snæfellsnes National Park

At the far western tip of Iceland, you’ll find Snæfellsnes, the smallest of Iceland’s three national parks. Located at the end of a peninsula reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, Snæfellsnes is a world of its own.

The first thing you’ll see when approaching Snæfellsnes by road is Snæfellsjökull, the volcano and glacier that gives the park its name. Looming high above the surrounding landscape, the 700,000-year-old volcano holds a special place in the hearts of Icelanders, and is among the most mysterious sights in the country.

That’s in many ways thanks to the writer Jules Verne. His nineteenth-century novel, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, imagined the mountain being the gateway to the earth’s core. When you witness its breathtaking form for yourself, it’s easy to see how it captured his imagination.

Yet that’s not all that this national park holds. Spread across 170km², Snæfellsnes boasts black sand beaches and lava fields, dramatic cliffs, and teeming wildlife. As such, it offers a sample of some of the landforms for which Iceland is most famous.

You don’t need to trust just us when we say that it’s a magical place. Alongside the rest of West Iceland, Snæfellsnes recently won the prize for the best winter destination in Europe at the LTG Europe Awards.

Northern lights on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Wherever you go in Iceland during the winter, there’s something you really shouldn’t miss. That’s the northern lights. With its jaw-dropping landscapes and magical atmosphere, there’s nowhere better to see this display than Snæfellsnes.

What makes it so special? Firstly, the area’s dark skies mean that the northern lights are at their clearest. While light pollution can affect your experience in the big cities, here in Snæfellsnes you’ll be deep in the heart of nature. What’s more, you may even see the aurora borealis dancing over the ocean, where there are no human lights to spoil the view.

Then, imagine seeing the ethereal colours of the northern lights over some of the most iconic views in Iceland. Kirkjufell, or “church mountain”, with its distinctive spire, makes for an unforgettable backdrop to this spectacular show.


Visit Iceland with your family


Snaefellsnes 2

Think of Iceland and you’ll likely imagine epic adventures, spectacular landscapes, and thrilling opportunities to learn about our natural world. With so many amazing things to see and do, it’s the perfect destination for the whole family.

For example, there’s fun for all ages on a journey into Iceland’s unique countryside. The Golden Circle, for example, promises a wide range of delights, from fascinating geysers to thundering waterfalls. Or take the family to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, for a unique experience that’s literally straight out of the movies.

Alternatively, join a wildlife tour to experience some of the magic of the natural world. Discover opportunities to see whales in their natural habitat, or spot puffins along the Snæfellsnes coast.

Whatever it is you like to do as a family, you’ll find it in Iceland. Learn more in our guide to a family trip to Iceland.


Places to visit on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

What are some of the most incredible places to visit in the Snæfellsjökull National Park? From black-sand beaches to fishermen’s villages, we take you through 14 of our favourites.

Bjarnarfoss

Iceland is world famous for its waterfalls. From the mighty torrent of Gullfoss waterfall or the architectural form of Svartifoss, to the slender Seljalandsfoss, each has its own unique character.

The same is true of Bjarnarfoss, Snæfellsnes’s best-known waterfall. Set among tranquil green fields, with mountain peaks rising high on the horizon, Bjarnarfoss is a delightful stream falling over basalt cliffs.

The waterfall is visible from the road, but get up close to experience the full effect. In fact, you can climb high up the cliffs to see it at its best. Or visit on a windy day to see the torrent appear to stream upwards.

Gerðuberg cliffs

While not within the boundaries of the Snæfellsjökull National Park, one of the most surprising sights on the Snæfellsnes peninsula is Gerðuberg. A perfectly formed row of hexagonal basalt columns, these cliffs are perhaps the strangest in western Iceland.

They were formed by lava flows that once covered this area of the country. When the hot rock flowed over the cliffs, it cooled all at the same pace, creating this very regular pattern.

Snæfellsjökull

We couldn’t mention the Snæfellsnes National Park without mentioning its incredible centrepiece, Snæfellsjökull. This mighty volcano, towering over the landscape at 1,446 metres (4,744 feet), is the guardian of Snæfellsnes and one of the most captivating sights in Iceland.

If you’re an experienced walker, you can climb to the top. But most visitors will be happy to explore the surrounding glacier, or take photos from a distance. Wherever you are in the national park, it’s hard to miss this incredible mountain.

Kirkjufell

Often cited as the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell is distinctive, mysterious, and beautiful. In fact, given its popularity with photographers, you may well know that already.

But it’s so much more special when seen in person. Looming above the town of Grundarfjörður, on the north coast of Snæfellsnes, its elegant peak is stunning—whether shrouded in snow or in its green summer coat.

Lóndrangar

As a peninsula jutting far out into the sea, one of the highlights of Snæfellsnes is the coastline. The constant battering of the waves against the basalt rock has created some simply astonishing natural forms.

One of the most striking features of this coast is Lóndrangar. Often mistaken for a castle, what you’re really seeing is two rocky pinnacles that are the eroded remains of a volcanic crater emerging from the cliffs.

Due to their height and inaccessibility—they reach 21 metres (70 feet) into the air—the sea stacks are home to a wide variety of nesting birds that bring this castle to life.

Svalþúfa and Þúfubjarg

Lóndrangar isn’t the only spellbinding aspect of the coastline of Snæfellsnes. Look to the east and you’ll see the magical hill of Svalþúfa, with its cliffs known as Þúfubjarg.

We say it’s magical because Svalþúfa is thought to be home to elves. To this day, it’s forbidden to mow the grass on the hill, or to remove any items—such as rocks or flowers—that you find there. Otherwise, you risk upsetting the magical creatures.

Climb the hill and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of Lóndrangar. But watch out. The dramatic cliffs of Þúfubjarg can take you by surprise. These steep, exposed cliffs are a great place for bird watching.

Malarrif

A short distance along the coast from Lóndrangar you’ll find Malarrif. Recognisable for a rocket-shaped lighthouse, Malarrif is now home to one of Snæfellsnes’s visitor centres.

Stop here to learn about the area you’re visiting—and to see the remains of some of the fishermen’s homes that litter the area. Don’t miss the beach at Malarrif either.

Vatnshellir cave

In the west of Iceland, you’re in a landscape created by the power of lava. To see the effect of geothermal activity close up, why not head below ground into a mysterious lava tube?

Vatnshellir is the best place to see Snæfellsnes’s geology from a different perspective. At 200 metres (656 feet) long and about 8,000 years old, it’s a magnificent sight revealing the incredible processes that have transformed this landscape.

Entering the caves alone is not recommended. Without expert guidance it’s very easy to get lost. That’s not ideal, particularly as the cave is believed to be the home of trolls. ### Hellnar and Arnarstapi

Not so long ago, Snæfellsnes was home to innumerable farms and fishing villages. While the changing economy has meant that many of these have disappeared, Hellnar and Arnarstapi have remained.

Arnarstapi is today one of the biggest settlements in Snæfellsnes, where you’ll find a range of amenities and accommodation. But don’t just use it as a pitstop. Part of the appeal is the village’s historical sights, which shine a light on the traditions of Iceland’s fishing communities.

If you want to stretch your legs, take the walk between Arnarstapi and Hellnar. You’ll see unique rock formations, such as the impressive Gatklettur arch, and the area’s lively wildlife along the way.

Stapafell

Looming above Arnarstapi is the striking mountain of Stapafell. While it’s small in comparison to Snæfellsjökull not far in the distance, Stapafell holds an important place for those who have made this area their home.

The very fit can climb the 526 metres (1,725 feet) to the top, where you’ll find the Fellskross, another home of local elves. Or, on the northern side of the mountain, there’s the Sönghellir, the “Singing cave”, to visit, so-called for its echoes.

Drítvík and Djúpalónssandur

Further along the coast of Snæfellsnes, discover the enchanting Djúpalónssandur, the so-called black pearl beach. Here you’ll find twisted rock forms, the sites of magic and legend, and gorgeous views over the sea.

A kilometre west of Djúpalónssandur is Drítvík, a natural harbour once used as the hub of the main fishing centre in all of west Iceland. Today, you can explore the area’s ruins and see the rock formations long thought to be the petrified bodies of trolls.

Don’t miss the lifting stones at Djúpalónssandur. Once used to test the strength of fishermen before they took to the boats, today these four rocks—Fullsterkur, Hálfsterkur, Hálfdrættingur and Amlóði—are used for weightlifting challenges. Why not test your strength too?

Saxhóll

Iceland is perhaps the best place in the world to see the effects of volcanoes on the landscape. Alongside lava caves and basalt cliffs, there are the remains of extinct volcanoes themselves to explore.

Saxhóll is one of the most popular volcanic craters in Iceland. Climb the 100 metres (328 feet) to the top and see the place where lava once burst from the centre of the earth, transforming every part of the landscape you see around you.

Gufuskálar

Another old fishing hub, dating back to the thirteenth century this time, is Gufuskálar, on the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Here you can see the 14 grooves in the rocky beach where fishermen would haul up their boats. While the area hasn’t been used for about a century, archaeologists are studying the area to discover in more detail how these fishermen lived.

Don’t miss the so-called “Well of the Irish”, Írskrabrunnur, close by. Iceland is believed to have had Irish settlers even before the Vikings arrived, and this well may be a relic of that ancient era.

Berutóftir and Írskubúðir

If you want to explore the history of Iceland’s Viking settlement, head to Berutóftir and Írskubúðir, two ancient villages that date back over a thousand years. Today, they are archaeological sites, revealing the harsh life that the country’s earliest settlers had to endure.


Travel solo in Iceland


Snaefellsnes 5

Travelling alone? Thanks to friendly locals, reliable transport infrastructure, and plenty of fellow travellers just like you, there’s no better place to do it than Iceland.

If you’re heading off on your own solo adventure, self-drive tours of Iceland make it easy. With a planned itinerary, car hire, and plenty of options for customisation, you have the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Alternatively, if you want to meet like-minded people, a group tour is the perfect option. Join a coach trip or more intimate group and you’ll see the best of Iceland while making new friends along the way.

However you like to travel, we can help make it possible. Find out more in our guide to solo travel in Iceland.


Frequently asked questions about Snæfellsnes National Park

Want to know more about the Snæfellsnes Peninsula? Here, we answer some of the most common questions.

How long do you need in Snæfellsnes?

Snæfellsness can reward as much time as you can give it. If you have the time, you could happily spend weeks here to enjoy the area to the fullest.

However, most visitors will likely spend only a couple of days exploring the area. It can be a good idea to spend at least one night in the national park to have the chance to see the northern lights and enjoy Icelandic culture away from Reykjavik.

Of course, if you can only spare the day, it’ll be a day to remember. The convenient thing is that the national park is only two hours from Reykjavik, making it easily reachable for a day trip.

Can you hike Snæfellsjökull?

Yes, it’s possible to hike up Snæfellsjökull. However, as you’ll have to pass through snow-covered terrain and navigate the icy summit, it’s not an adventure to be undertaken casually.

If you want to hike the mountain, you can join a guided walking group that will make sure you do it safely. At the very least, you’ll need equipment for the snow, including crampons and a harness.

Where is the Snæfellsnes peninsula?

The Snæfellsnes peninsula is in the far west of Iceland. It is about two hours north of Reykjavik, and south of the large, wild region known as the Westfjords.

How do I get to Snæfellsjökull?

You will reach Snæfellsjökull from the main road into the Snæfellsness peninsula, the 54.

If you are travelling from Reykjavik, take Route 1 north before joining the 54 at Borgarnes. Head west until Búðir where you can join the Útnesvegur to Snæfellsjökull. You’ll see the mountain ahead of you as you approach.

How big is the Snæfellsnes peninsula?

The Snæfellsnes National Park is 170km². However, the national park only covers the very tip of the peninsula. In total, the peninsula is everything west of Borgarfjörður, where you’ll find the village of Borgarnes.

How much time do you need at Snæfellsnes peninsula?

That depends how much time you have!

We would recommend that you spend at least a day exploring the highlights of the region. But if you have more time, you can easily fill it at Snæfellsnes. There’s plenty of incredible things to do.

How do you get to Snæfellsnes peninsula?

You can reach the peninsula by car or public transport. When travelling from Reykjavik, you should budget at least two hours to reach your destination.

Alternatively, guided tours can take the hassle out of travelling yourself. For example, a day tour from Reykjavik can take you to Snæfellsnes and back in a day, while showing you some of the best sights along the way.

What is there to see between Snæfellsnes and Reykjavik?

While most visitors pass through the area between Snæfellsnes and Reykjavik to reach more famous sights, this historic area boasts a number of interesting things to see, including:

  • Some of west Iceland’s best waterfalls. Known as one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, Glymur is only an hour’s drive north of Reykjavik. Or there’s Hraunfossar and Barnafoss a short distance to the west.

  • Iceland’s settlement museum in Borgarnes. The village of Borgarnes on the Borgarfjörður hosts the Settlement Centre, a museum dedicated to the history of the Vikings’ migration to the area. It’s a delightful place to stop when passing through, even for just a walk along the coast.

  • The villages of Hvanneyri and Reykholt. As the centre of Iceland’s culture in the Middle Ages, the region boasts some fascinating historic villages.

When does the park close?

The national park doesn’t have closing hours. Instead, it’s open throughout the day all year round. After all, it’s a place where people still live and work.

If you’re visiting the park by yourself, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the conditions of the roads. Sometimes, during winter, the roads can be closed or only accessible by offroad vehicle.

Is there an entrance fee to the park?

There’s no entrance fee to the park. However, you’ll likely have to pay for parking, depending on where you leave your car. Of course, if you’re joining any tours of the area, you’ll have to pay for these too.

Can I visit the lighthouse at Malarrif?

You can visit the lighthouse at Malarrif, but it’s not possible to go inside. The building itself is not publicly accessible.

However, the visitor centre nearby is open all year round and will give you an informative and fascinating introduction to the national park.

When did Snæfellsjökull last erupt?

It’s thought that the last eruption of Snæfellsjökull happened about 1700 years ago, sometime in the third century.

Visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with Reykjavik Excursions

On a visit to Iceland, the Snæfellsness National Park shouldn’t be missed. With Reykjavik Excursions, we can show you the best that the peninsula has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a single-day trip or a longer adventure, we can make it easy. On all our tours, we’ll pick you up in one of our state-of-the-art coaches and organise all your activities and attractions along the way. Alternatively, we can help you arrange your own private road trip.

However you like to travel, we can help make your dream trip a reality. Start planning by exploring our tours of Snæfellsnes.

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Snæfellsnes National Park: Your Guide

Among all of Iceland’s parks and protected areas, Snæfellsnes Peninsula is unique.

6. febrúar 2023

Snæfellsnes National Park: Your Guide

Among all of Iceland’s parks and protected areas, Snæfellsnes Peninsula is unique.

6. febrúar 2023

With its incredible diversity of landscapes and geological wonders, there’s nowhere else in the country where there’s so much to see in so small an area.

In fact, that’s why the Snæfellsnes National Park—also known as the Snæfellsjökull National Park—is often known as “Iceland in miniature”. From glaciers to distinctive mountains, waterfalls to spectacular, wildlife-packed coastlines, there’s really something here for everyone.

In this article, discover everything that this magical place has to offer, as well as the key practical information you need for your visit.

Facts about Snæfellsnes National Park

At the far western tip of Iceland, you’ll find Snæfellsnes, the smallest of Iceland’s three national parks. Located at the end of a peninsula reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, Snæfellsnes is a world of its own.

The first thing you’ll see when approaching Snæfellsnes by road is Snæfellsjökull, the volcano and glacier that gives the park its name. Looming high above the surrounding landscape, the 700,000-year-old volcano holds a special place in the hearts of Icelanders, and is among the most mysterious sights in the country.

That’s in many ways thanks to the writer Jules Verne. His nineteenth-century novel, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, imagined the mountain being the gateway to the earth’s core. When you witness its breathtaking form for yourself, it’s easy to see how it captured his imagination.

Yet that’s not all that this national park holds. Spread across 170km², Snæfellsnes boasts black sand beaches and lava fields, dramatic cliffs, and teeming wildlife. As such, it offers a sample of some of the landforms for which Iceland is most famous.

You don’t need to trust just us when we say that it’s a magical place. Alongside the rest of West Iceland, Snæfellsnes recently won the prize for the best winter destination in Europe at the LTG Europe Awards.

Northern lights on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Wherever you go in Iceland during the winter, there’s something you really shouldn’t miss. That’s the northern lights. With its jaw-dropping landscapes and magical atmosphere, there’s nowhere better to see this display than Snæfellsnes.

What makes it so special? Firstly, the area’s dark skies mean that the northern lights are at their clearest. While light pollution can affect your experience in the big cities, here in Snæfellsnes you’ll be deep in the heart of nature. What’s more, you may even see the aurora borealis dancing over the ocean, where there are no human lights to spoil the view.

Then, imagine seeing the ethereal colours of the northern lights over some of the most iconic views in Iceland. Kirkjufell, or “church mountain”, with its distinctive spire, makes for an unforgettable backdrop to this spectacular show.


Visit Iceland with your family


Snaefellsnes 2

Think of Iceland and you’ll likely imagine epic adventures, spectacular landscapes, and thrilling opportunities to learn about our natural world. With so many amazing things to see and do, it’s the perfect destination for the whole family.

For example, there’s fun for all ages on a journey into Iceland’s unique countryside. The Golden Circle, for example, promises a wide range of delights, from fascinating geysers to thundering waterfalls. Or take the family to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, for a unique experience that’s literally straight out of the movies.

Alternatively, join a wildlife tour to experience some of the magic of the natural world. Discover opportunities to see whales in their natural habitat, or spot puffins along the Snæfellsnes coast.

Whatever it is you like to do as a family, you’ll find it in Iceland. Learn more in our guide to a family trip to Iceland.


Places to visit on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

What are some of the most incredible places to visit in the Snæfellsjökull National Park? From black-sand beaches to fishermen’s villages, we take you through 14 of our favourites.

Bjarnarfoss

Iceland is world famous for its waterfalls. From the mighty torrent of Gullfoss waterfall or the architectural form of Svartifoss, to the slender Seljalandsfoss, each has its own unique character.

The same is true of Bjarnarfoss, Snæfellsnes’s best-known waterfall. Set among tranquil green fields, with mountain peaks rising high on the horizon, Bjarnarfoss is a delightful stream falling over basalt cliffs.

The waterfall is visible from the road, but get up close to experience the full effect. In fact, you can climb high up the cliffs to see it at its best. Or visit on a windy day to see the torrent appear to stream upwards.

Gerðuberg cliffs

While not within the boundaries of the Snæfellsjökull National Park, one of the most surprising sights on the Snæfellsnes peninsula is Gerðuberg. A perfectly formed row of hexagonal basalt columns, these cliffs are perhaps the strangest in western Iceland.

They were formed by lava flows that once covered this area of the country. When the hot rock flowed over the cliffs, it cooled all at the same pace, creating this very regular pattern.

Snæfellsjökull

We couldn’t mention the Snæfellsnes National Park without mentioning its incredible centrepiece, Snæfellsjökull. This mighty volcano, towering over the landscape at 1,446 metres (4,744 feet), is the guardian of Snæfellsnes and one of the most captivating sights in Iceland.

If you’re an experienced walker, you can climb to the top. But most visitors will be happy to explore the surrounding glacier, or take photos from a distance. Wherever you are in the national park, it’s hard to miss this incredible mountain.

Kirkjufell

Often cited as the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell is distinctive, mysterious, and beautiful. In fact, given its popularity with photographers, you may well know that already.

But it’s so much more special when seen in person. Looming above the town of Grundarfjörður, on the north coast of Snæfellsnes, its elegant peak is stunning—whether shrouded in snow or in its green summer coat.

Lóndrangar

As a peninsula jutting far out into the sea, one of the highlights of Snæfellsnes is the coastline. The constant battering of the waves against the basalt rock has created some simply astonishing natural forms.

One of the most striking features of this coast is Lóndrangar. Often mistaken for a castle, what you’re really seeing is two rocky pinnacles that are the eroded remains of a volcanic crater emerging from the cliffs.

Due to their height and inaccessibility—they reach 21 metres (70 feet) into the air—the sea stacks are home to a wide variety of nesting birds that bring this castle to life.

Svalþúfa and Þúfubjarg

Lóndrangar isn’t the only spellbinding aspect of the coastline of Snæfellsnes. Look to the east and you’ll see the magical hill of Svalþúfa, with its cliffs known as Þúfubjarg.

We say it’s magical because Svalþúfa is thought to be home to elves. To this day, it’s forbidden to mow the grass on the hill, or to remove any items—such as rocks or flowers—that you find there. Otherwise, you risk upsetting the magical creatures.

Climb the hill and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of Lóndrangar. But watch out. The dramatic cliffs of Þúfubjarg can take you by surprise. These steep, exposed cliffs are a great place for bird watching.

Malarrif

A short distance along the coast from Lóndrangar you’ll find Malarrif. Recognisable for a rocket-shaped lighthouse, Malarrif is now home to one of Snæfellsnes’s visitor centres.

Stop here to learn about the area you’re visiting—and to see the remains of some of the fishermen’s homes that litter the area. Don’t miss the beach at Malarrif either.

Vatnshellir cave

In the west of Iceland, you’re in a landscape created by the power of lava. To see the effect of geothermal activity close up, why not head below ground into a mysterious lava tube?

Vatnshellir is the best place to see Snæfellsnes’s geology from a different perspective. At 200 metres (656 feet) long and about 8,000 years old, it’s a magnificent sight revealing the incredible processes that have transformed this landscape.

Entering the caves alone is not recommended. Without expert guidance it’s very easy to get lost. That’s not ideal, particularly as the cave is believed to be the home of trolls. ### Hellnar and Arnarstapi

Not so long ago, Snæfellsnes was home to innumerable farms and fishing villages. While the changing economy has meant that many of these have disappeared, Hellnar and Arnarstapi have remained.

Arnarstapi is today one of the biggest settlements in Snæfellsnes, where you’ll find a range of amenities and accommodation. But don’t just use it as a pitstop. Part of the appeal is the village’s historical sights, which shine a light on the traditions of Iceland’s fishing communities.

If you want to stretch your legs, take the walk between Arnarstapi and Hellnar. You’ll see unique rock formations, such as the impressive Gatklettur arch, and the area’s lively wildlife along the way.

Stapafell

Looming above Arnarstapi is the striking mountain of Stapafell. While it’s small in comparison to Snæfellsjökull not far in the distance, Stapafell holds an important place for those who have made this area their home.

The very fit can climb the 526 metres (1,725 feet) to the top, where you’ll find the Fellskross, another home of local elves. Or, on the northern side of the mountain, there’s the Sönghellir, the “Singing cave”, to visit, so-called for its echoes.

Drítvík and Djúpalónssandur

Further along the coast of Snæfellsnes, discover the enchanting Djúpalónssandur, the so-called black pearl beach. Here you’ll find twisted rock forms, the sites of magic and legend, and gorgeous views over the sea.

A kilometre west of Djúpalónssandur is Drítvík, a natural harbour once used as the hub of the main fishing centre in all of west Iceland. Today, you can explore the area’s ruins and see the rock formations long thought to be the petrified bodies of trolls.

Don’t miss the lifting stones at Djúpalónssandur. Once used to test the strength of fishermen before they took to the boats, today these four rocks—Fullsterkur, Hálfsterkur, Hálfdrættingur and Amlóði—are used for weightlifting challenges. Why not test your strength too?

Saxhóll

Iceland is perhaps the best place in the world to see the effects of volcanoes on the landscape. Alongside lava caves and basalt cliffs, there are the remains of extinct volcanoes themselves to explore.

Saxhóll is one of the most popular volcanic craters in Iceland. Climb the 100 metres (328 feet) to the top and see the place where lava once burst from the centre of the earth, transforming every part of the landscape you see around you.

Gufuskálar

Another old fishing hub, dating back to the thirteenth century this time, is Gufuskálar, on the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Here you can see the 14 grooves in the rocky beach where fishermen would haul up their boats. While the area hasn’t been used for about a century, archaeologists are studying the area to discover in more detail how these fishermen lived.

Don’t miss the so-called “Well of the Irish”, Írskrabrunnur, close by. Iceland is believed to have had Irish settlers even before the Vikings arrived, and this well may be a relic of that ancient era.

Berutóftir and Írskubúðir

If you want to explore the history of Iceland’s Viking settlement, head to Berutóftir and Írskubúðir, two ancient villages that date back over a thousand years. Today, they are archaeological sites, revealing the harsh life that the country’s earliest settlers had to endure.


Travel solo in Iceland


Snaefellsnes 5

Travelling alone? Thanks to friendly locals, reliable transport infrastructure, and plenty of fellow travellers just like you, there’s no better place to do it than Iceland.

If you’re heading off on your own solo adventure, self-drive tours of Iceland make it easy. With a planned itinerary, car hire, and plenty of options for customisation, you have the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Alternatively, if you want to meet like-minded people, a group tour is the perfect option. Join a coach trip or more intimate group and you’ll see the best of Iceland while making new friends along the way.

However you like to travel, we can help make it possible. Find out more in our guide to solo travel in Iceland.


Frequently asked questions about Snæfellsnes National Park

Want to know more about the Snæfellsnes Peninsula? Here, we answer some of the most common questions.

How long do you need in Snæfellsnes?

Snæfellsness can reward as much time as you can give it. If you have the time, you could happily spend weeks here to enjoy the area to the fullest.

However, most visitors will likely spend only a couple of days exploring the area. It can be a good idea to spend at least one night in the national park to have the chance to see the northern lights and enjoy Icelandic culture away from Reykjavik.

Of course, if you can only spare the day, it’ll be a day to remember. The convenient thing is that the national park is only two hours from Reykjavik, making it easily reachable for a day trip.

Can you hike Snæfellsjökull?

Yes, it’s possible to hike up Snæfellsjökull. However, as you’ll have to pass through snow-covered terrain and navigate the icy summit, it’s not an adventure to be undertaken casually.

If you want to hike the mountain, you can join a guided walking group that will make sure you do it safely. At the very least, you’ll need equipment for the snow, including crampons and a harness.

Where is the Snæfellsnes peninsula?

The Snæfellsnes peninsula is in the far west of Iceland. It is about two hours north of Reykjavik, and south of the large, wild region known as the Westfjords.

How do I get to Snæfellsjökull?

You will reach Snæfellsjökull from the main road into the Snæfellsness peninsula, the 54.

If you are travelling from Reykjavik, take Route 1 north before joining the 54 at Borgarnes. Head west until Búðir where you can join the Útnesvegur to Snæfellsjökull. You’ll see the mountain ahead of you as you approach.

How big is the Snæfellsnes peninsula?

The Snæfellsnes National Park is 170km². However, the national park only covers the very tip of the peninsula. In total, the peninsula is everything west of Borgarfjörður, where you’ll find the village of Borgarnes.

How much time do you need at Snæfellsnes peninsula?

That depends how much time you have!

We would recommend that you spend at least a day exploring the highlights of the region. But if you have more time, you can easily fill it at Snæfellsnes. There’s plenty of incredible things to do.

How do you get to Snæfellsnes peninsula?

You can reach the peninsula by car or public transport. When travelling from Reykjavik, you should budget at least two hours to reach your destination.

Alternatively, guided tours can take the hassle out of travelling yourself. For example, a day tour from Reykjavik can take you to Snæfellsnes and back in a day, while showing you some of the best sights along the way.

What is there to see between Snæfellsnes and Reykjavik?

While most visitors pass through the area between Snæfellsnes and Reykjavik to reach more famous sights, this historic area boasts a number of interesting things to see, including:

  • Some of west Iceland’s best waterfalls. Known as one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, Glymur is only an hour’s drive north of Reykjavik. Or there’s Hraunfossar and Barnafoss a short distance to the west.

  • Iceland’s settlement museum in Borgarnes. The village of Borgarnes on the Borgarfjörður hosts the Settlement Centre, a museum dedicated to the history of the Vikings’ migration to the area. It’s a delightful place to stop when passing through, even for just a walk along the coast.

  • The villages of Hvanneyri and Reykholt. As the centre of Iceland’s culture in the Middle Ages, the region boasts some fascinating historic villages.

When does the park close?

The national park doesn’t have closing hours. Instead, it’s open throughout the day all year round. After all, it’s a place where people still live and work.

If you’re visiting the park by yourself, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the conditions of the roads. Sometimes, during winter, the roads can be closed or only accessible by offroad vehicle.

Is there an entrance fee to the park?

There’s no entrance fee to the park. However, you’ll likely have to pay for parking, depending on where you leave your car. Of course, if you’re joining any tours of the area, you’ll have to pay for these too.

Can I visit the lighthouse at Malarrif?

You can visit the lighthouse at Malarrif, but it’s not possible to go inside. The building itself is not publicly accessible.

However, the visitor centre nearby is open all year round and will give you an informative and fascinating introduction to the national park.

When did Snæfellsjökull last erupt?

It’s thought that the last eruption of Snæfellsjökull happened about 1700 years ago, sometime in the third century.

Visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with Reykjavik Excursions

On a visit to Iceland, the Snæfellsness National Park shouldn’t be missed. With Reykjavik Excursions, we can show you the best that the peninsula has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a single-day trip or a longer adventure, we can make it easy. On all our tours, we’ll pick you up in one of our state-of-the-art coaches and organise all your activities and attractions along the way. Alternatively, we can help you arrange your own private road trip.

However you like to travel, we can help make your dream trip a reality. Start planning by exploring our tours of Snæfellsnes.

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