TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA
What in the world is the Snaefellsnes peninsula? What are the top things to do in Snaefellsnes? What can you see in Snæfellsnes during a day trip from Reykjavik? Where is Kirkjufell mountain? Snæfellsjökull glacier? Hellnar and Arnarstapi? What is the duration of a Snaefellsnes tour? & how much can I explore in one day tour from Reykjavik?
Snaefellsnes is a Western Iceland gem. A little off the beaten track for travellers staying in Reykjavik but so much worth the visit. In this blog I will do my absolute best in telling you all you need to know about the area and how to explore the best of it!
ABOUT SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA
Icelanders often say that Snaefellsnes peninsula (Snæfellsnes in Icelandic) is the only part of our beautiful country where you can see all of our unique natural elements in only a few hours drive.
In other words,
Snæfellsnes peninsula has everything to offer – from untouched lava fields, tall volcanoes, sharp glaciers, black beaches to white beaches and hazardous cliffs along the coastline. Even exciting wildlife such as rare Atlantic birds, seals, whales & more!
Snaefellsnes is a small region in Western Iceland, located between Reykjavik and the Westfjords. The Peninsula is known for incredibly beautiful and dramatic landscapes – making it the perfect place to explore Iceland although it is a lot less visited by tourists than other regions in South Iceland that are slightly closer to Reykjavik city.
The peninsula is most known for it’s beautiful National Park with Snæfellsjökull glacier in it’s center, hiding a volcano underneath it. The capital of Snaefellsnes is the quaint fishing village of Stykkishólmur (population approx. 1.200).
The heart of Snæfellsnes is only 2 hours drive from Reykjavik and can easily be explored as a one day trip from Reykjavik.
And actually, that’s the perfect way to explore the area!
There are two ways you can explore Snæfellsnes …
HOW TO EXPLORE SNÆFELLSNES
To explore all the wonders of this mystical peninsula we call Snaefellsnes there are two ways. You can rent your own car and drive for yourself or you can do a guided Snaefellsnes tour with a local from the area.
We’ll begin by covering the latter!
1) Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour
I personally recommend most of our guests to join the Small group experience “Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour”. We at Wake Up Reykjavik hand-picked this particular Snaefellsnes tour as we believe it is one of the best quality, best price, filled with value and is operated by a really great company that has one of the best customer feedback in the Icelandic travel industry.
Furthermore, if you are exploring this area for the first time it’s a great idea to explore with a knowledgable and fun local guide that knows the land like the back of his hand.
This tour is a 10 hour power day, where you will explore all the must visit attractions and it’s best kept secrets. Ranging from Glaciers, volcanoes, vast lava fields, waterfalls, black and golden beaches, caves & more!
You can read more about the Snaefellsnes tour here.
2) Rent a car and drive yourself
For adventurous souls that prefer to drive themselves, this is of course an options as well!
Just be careful on the road :)
Here below I’ll leave a list of some amazing attractions in the Snaefellsnes area that you can explore wether you are driving our doing the tour.
Hopefully this helps!
SNAEFELLSNES: TOP THINGS TO DO
CAVING IN ICELAND | VATNSHELLIR CAVE
Beautiful Vatnshellir Cave.
On the South/West corner of Snæfellsnes, you will find the truly amazing Vatnshellir cave. The whole peninsula is rich with hundreds of hidden caves but this one is sure to stand out! Vatnshellir cave is an 8.000-year-old lava tube that reaches 200 meters into the ground and goes 35 meters below the surface of the earth.
To explore this extraordinary cave you will have to take a 50-minute tour that starts right from the opening of the cave and you will be equipped with all the necessary caving equipment.
ERPSSTAÐIR: ICE CREAM AND SKYR FARM
How is this for an idea:
Visit a local dairy farm that makes one of the absolute best homes made ice cream we have ever tried + our most traditional cuisine, Skyr.
This farm is just fantastic in every way and their products are too good to describe. When the animals are out, you can sometimes play with them as well!
Location: Just outside of Búðardalur town.
Opening hours: from 13-17, 1.st of June – 15th. of September.
Looking for more things to do?
Find our best recommended local day tours right here!
SKARÐSVÍK WHITE SAND BEACH
Skarðsvík is one of our rare white sand beaches!
For those who have already traveled to Iceland, you might have seen our famous black sand beaches.
And while travelers are amazed by these unique black coastlines – Many locals tend to attract to white sand beaches – Just like we find in Spain or at almost every other place on planet earth!
Snæfellsnes is one of the few areas where you will find those beautiful beaches – heaps of them!
There, locals will gather on warm summer days to sunbathe, have a picnic or cool off in the fresh Atlantic ocean!
There are many hiking trails around the beach leading to and from it, surrounded by blue beautiful waters!
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
ARNARSTAPI IN SNÆFELLSNES
A small local fishing village, beautiful walks and the magnificent Gatklettur rock!
Arnarstapi is one of my favorite stops on my drives around Snæfellsnes peninsula. In the old days, it was an important harbor and a trading post for the area and the population was a lot bigger than it is today.
For travelers, I recommend a walk on the coastline through a really beautiful path right next to the ocean and its hazardous cliffs. Believe me, you are going to want to stop hundreds of times on your way to take pictures!
The significant of this area is the Gatklettur cliff which translates to “the rock with the hole in it”. But also make sure not to miss the one you can walk over! A very popular stop for many travelers.
April, one of the content creators of Wake up Reykjavik, having fun by Arnarstapi
Are you getting tired of driving around? I have got the perfect solution for you!
Park the car, tie on your hiking shoes and run up Mt. Kirkjufell! This beautiful landmark right at the doorstep for the beautiful town of Grundafjörður is the most photographed mountain in Iceland … and there is a good reason for all the hype.
Just look at that!
Photographers often try to get both the small Kirkjufell waterfall and the mountain itself in one photo. For you, just enjoy the natural beauty whether you decide to run to the top – Or just look at it before you drive along!
Fancy waterfalls? Explore the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland in our tour around the South Coast of Iceland!
NATURAL HOT SPRING | LANDBROTALAUG
That's me! Relaxing in Landbrotalaug after a long drive!
Out of all the incredible things that our beautiful country has to offer, one of the most wonderful thing simply must be our natural hot springs. In Snæfellsnes you might find this one!
Landbrotalaug is a tiny but perfectly temperature natural hot pot.
- Great fact: If you get there and no one else is close = Perfect! You will have it completely for yourself!
- Not as great fact: If you get there and someone is already there = You might not get to dip in at this time, as it’s so small that it barely holds more than 2-3 people.
Here is direction on how to find the natural hot spring:
Landbrotalaug is in the country of Landbrot in Kolbeinstaðahreppur. That is in the S-Snæfellsnes.
Drive on road no.54 and turn left when you see a sign that says “Stóra-Hraun”.
Drive approx. 1,5 km until you see an abandoned house and take a left. Shortly you should find a small parking area.
From the parking area, there is an unclear path that leads to the pool that is about 100 meters. You’ll simply have to walk, smell the sulfur in the air until you find the pool close by!
You might also like this reading: 6 Must-Visit Natural Hot Springs in Iceland!
RESTAURANT | FJÖRUHÚSIÐ
Right down at the coastline of Hellnar, you will find the wonderful tiny little cafeteria/restaurant called Fjöruhúsið (Translating to the harbor house in English).
At this old restaurant, you will only find simple home cooked Icelandic cuisines like freshly baked bread, pastries, homemade waffles and a fantastic seafood soup which is their specialty.
From Fjöruhúsið you can walk along the coastline for approx. 2-3 kilometers on a beautiful path that eventually leads to the Arnarstapi and the rock with the hole in it!
UPDATE: It’s a wonderful venue to visit but please note that they are closed during winter. Still worth the visit just to walk around in the area.
TRY NATURAL SODA WATER BY ÖLKELDA
April filling up her water bottle of some awesome natural mineral waters by Ölkelda
Yes, you read that right!
There are a few mineral springs in Snæfellsnes. If you ever want to try the absolute best and definitely the healthiest soda water in Iceland then you should make sure not to miss the turn to Ölkelda! There, they have a tab that delivers fresh mineral water straight from the ground! So amazing, interesting and delicious! The water is also believed to have several healing benefits, so don’t forget to bring your bottle!
LÓNDRANGAR AND THE LIGHTHOUSE
On the southern coast of Snaefellsnes peninsula, you will find the outstanding Lóndrangar basalt cliffs. They are a pair of volcanic lava pinnacles that stick out from the sea on the coastline. The higher pillar is 75 meters tall and the lower is 61 meters.
The cliffs and surrounding cliffs are rich with birdlife and there you can among other birds find puffins!
Close to the Lóndrangar cliffs, you will also see Malarrifsviti lighthouse that was built in 1917. Today, you will also find a small zip line next to the lighthouse, that can be fun to try out!
Also, one quick but crazy fact: In the past (and still today) farmers never used this land around the basalt cliffs, as it is believed to belong to the elves living there …
You might also like: The Reykjavik Food Walk (#1 rated tour in Iceland)
Locals in Stykkishólmur often say that their hometown is the most beautiful town of all in Iceland. And you know what? Many agree with them!
The town is in just 2 hours driving distance from Reykjavik.
Stykkishólmur is the capital of Snæfellsnes but still, it is just a small town in the west of Snæfellsnes peninsula and their total population is just over 1000 people. The buildings there are old, colorful and charming and if you don’t believe us – Check out their LIVE webcam and see how it looks right now!
What to do in Stykkishólmur?
- Visit their geothermal heated swimming pool.
- Join a boat tour where you will try seafood as fresh as possible – And see some puffins?
- Eat at the local seafood restaurant – Or the locals favorite, the pizza place in town!
- Or simply connect and brag about your Iceland trip with all your friends at home, because the entire town has free wifi!
If you would like more info on Stykkishólmur, here is the town’s website.
Snæfellsjökull glacier is undoubtedly the main attraction in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. This incredible phenomenon is an active volcano and a huge glacier that stands 1,446 meters high and is said to be one of the seven greatest energy centers on earth.
The glacier is also believed to have mysterious powers and is the setting for Jules Vernes’ famous novel ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’.
You can drive all the way up to the glacier and walk to its roots, but if you are interested in really exploring the glacier, we would highly recommend you to find some tours with experienced guides for safety reasons.
On clear days you can easily see Snæfellsjökull glacier from Reykjavik.
Want to hike & climb up Icelandic glaciers? Check out this glacier tour!
SECRET STOP IN SNÆFELLSNES: RAUÐAFELDSGJÁ
April in Rauðafeldsgjá
Rauðafeldsgjá is a stunning gorge, two minutes away from Arnarstapi. Filled with the rich and unique legend of anger, murder, misunderstandings and regrets, this giant gorge is beyond incredible and fun to explore.
Go and make your way through the crack to find a beautiful cave. For the extreme daredevils, you can make your way further into the mountain through narrow paths, what you will find there is yours to find out.
This list is only a fraction of what to expect while visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula! You could probably spend a whole week here without seeing the same thing twice as the area is super big and vast, filled with many sagas and fun ghost stories as well.
Wether you join the small group Snaefellsnes tour or do a self drive adventure, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will explore this beautiful gem and have the time of your life! Hopefully this blog has been helpful – and happy exploring!
PS. Don’t hesitate to leave your feedback in the comments!