Snæfellsnes Peninsula 101
5 minute read
25 Aug 2020
Often described as ‘mini-Iceland’, complete with black sand beaches, waterfalls, glaciers and mountains, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula really does offer something for everyone.
Tucked away on the western side of Iceland, jutting out from the mainland and into the North Atlantic Ocean, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula provides the ultimate day out in Iceland. Often overlooked by tourists, this hidden gem provides an authentic Icelandic experience. The peninsula offers it all, from sleepy little coastal villages and friendly wildlife, to a magnificent glacier-capped stratovolcano and spectacular locations from famous films and television series. Some may be familiar with the area, as it was described in Jules Verne’s famous book as being the gateway to the centre of the earth.
The roads in this part of the country can present challenges for those who are unused to driving in these conditions. You must monitor the conditions on the Icelandic meteorological website and the national road website. A benefit of a guided bus day tour is a safe a comfortable journey, but also the invaluable and unique experience of being led by a knowledgeable and friendly local.
Known for its dramatic landscapes, there are several must-see locations on any trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Arguably the most iconic location in Snæfellsnes, a picture-perfect view of a mountain rearing above a double waterfall. Unsurprisingly this is the most photographed mountain in Iceland, and features predominately on any Iceland search on Instagram. It was also made famous after featuring in the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Jutting out into the ocean, this mountain is a focal point for tourists and locals alike, and is a must see on your trip to Iceland!
The famous black-pebble beach of Djúpalónssandur should always be on your Snæfellsnes itinerary. Approaching the beach, you follow a short trail through an atmospheric lava field. Complementing the outstanding natural beauty is a fascinating history. Once it was home to sixty fishing boats and was one of the most successful fishing grounds in the whole of Iceland. Now the bay is quiet, and the fishing boats have followed the fish to other fishing grounds. However, this history can still be observed on the beach today with four large ‘lifting stones’. These stones would have been used to test the strength of potential sailors, and now you can try and see if you would have made the cut to gain a place on a fishing vessel.
This small picturesque fishing village on the south coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a great place to stop and stretch your legs. Full of history, always a thriving fishing port, this village remains a busy working harbour. In Jules Verne's “A Journey to the Center of the Earth”, this is the last place they stop before heading into the centre of the planet. Nowadays, visitors enjoy the scenic coastal walks, especially the photogenic cliffs, that surround the small village.
This coastal village is the perfect place to grab some local food, with freshly caught fish available and delicious baked goods at the local bakery. The cosy restaurant we like to stop at is called Skerið, and here you are able to get a delicious meal of freshly caught ‘fish of the day’.
This makes the perfect stop for a short walk and to see the famous pair of rock pinnacles. A great place to take some really unique and interesting photos of these special rock formations and to enjoy the Icelandic countryside. Seabirds, such as kittiwake, puffin and fulmar, nest in the cliffs, their cries add to the atmosphere. Often there are seals in the sea, curiously observing humans walking along the beach. It is the perfect nature stop.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula really does offer something for everyone, packed with history, culture and nature! This is a resoundingly favourite tour amongst our staff, and the guests who choose to take it often remark that it was their favourite tour of their trip to Iceland. Be sure to not overlook this unique gem, and consider following in the steps of Jules Verne and journey into the centre of Icelandic nature!