Guide to Mount Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

  • by Irena
  • Snaefellsnes
  • 12 Oct 2023

In this guide we will explore the famous Kirkjufell - the Church Mountain, situated on Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west Iceland.

Guide to Mount Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

Where is Kirkjufell and how to get there

Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall are situated on the stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a must-visit region for anyone traveling to Iceland. 

It takes about 2.5 hours to drive to Kirkjufell from Reykjavik. You’ll first want to head north along the Ring Road and then take the Road 54 towards the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. As you’re driving, keep an eye out for the Grundarfjordur town, as Kirkjufell rises majestically above it. To make things even easier, here are the GPS coordinates for the area: 64°56′28″N 23°18′20″W.

Once you arrive, you’ll find convenient parking facilities close to the mountain and the waterfall. It’s worth mentioning that even though Kirkjufell has gained popularity, especially after its appearance in the Game of Thrones TV series, the area remains easily accessible and enjoyable for visitors.

If you happen to be traveling from Akureyri or other locations in the north of Iceland, you can also reach the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with relative ease. Just make sure to plan your route accordingly and keep in mind that journey times may vary.

For those who don’t plan to rent a car, there are day tours around Snæfellsnes, and all of them include a stop near the Church mountain. 

Kirkjufell Mountain and a field of yellow flowers. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

How was Kirkjufell formed

Kirkjufell Mountain, also known as “Church Mountain” due to its resemblance to a small church, is a fascinating landmark in Iceland. Throughout its history, this volcanic rock has been shaped by numerous geological events, giving it the unique, arrow-shaped peak we see today.

We can learn a lot about Iceland’s geological past by examining Kirkjufell’s composition and structure. The mountain is made up of various layers, including tuff, sandstone, and lava. These layers have formed over time as volcanic eruptions deposited different materials on the landscape. This combination of layers not only makes Kirkjufell look fascinating but also tells the story of Iceland’s dynamic geological history.

Erosion caused by the movement of glacier during the Ice Age sculpted Kirkjufell into the majestic peak that has become Iceland’s most photographed mountain. In addition to its geological importance, Kirkjufell also boasts a rich variety of fossils and sedimentary rocks. These remnants of ancient life give us further insight into the different environmental conditions that existed on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula over time.

Kirkjufell mountain and its reflection in water.

The Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

We couldn’t talk about Kirkjufell Mountain without mentioning the stunning Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall. Situated right near the famous mountain, this waterfall is actually a combination of three smaller waterfalls that flow together to form the river Kirkjufellsá, which takes its name from the mountain itself.

When you visit Kirkjufellsfoss, you’ll be treated to not only the sight of the beautiful water tumbling over the edge of the waterfalls but also the incredible backdrop of Mount Kirkjufell. This combination makes for one of the most iconic and photograph-worthy scenes in all of Iceland.

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and Mt. Kirkjufell in winter. [Photo credit to Danni Arndt]

One of the best times to visit Kirkjufellsfoss is in the winter when the water has frozen and snow covers the surrounding landscape. This creates a magical, almost otherworldly atmosphere that adds to the captivating beauty of the waterfall. Don’t worry though – if you can’t make it during the colder months, the stunning view of Kirkjufellsfoss is equally enchanting in the summer when the vivid green of the plants contrasts perfectly with the deep blue of the sky.

Kirkjufell Mountain and Waterfall Snaefellsnes
Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and Mt. Kirkjufell in winter. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

Things to do near Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell’s surroundings offer endless opportunities for photography, nature walks and just enjoying the picturesque scenery.

For those who love hiking, the mountain trails offer a fantastic experience. However, climbing in the area can be dangerous and challenging, so always consider the weather conditions and your level of experience.

In the nearby town of Grundarfjörður you can find activities like horse-riding and golf, and of course shops, restaurants and accommodation.

If you travel by car on your own, don’t miss other beautiful spots on Snæfellsnes peninsula like Djúpalónssandur beach, Búðir Black Church, Ytri-Tunga beach, Lóndrangar rock pinnacles, and Arnarstapi village, cliffs and stone bridge.

View on Grundarfjordur town from Kirkjufell parking lot. [Photo credit to Danni Arndt]

Kirkjufell mountain and the nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall have become important icons in popular culture. It’s no surprise, given their stunning beauty and captivating presence.

One of the most well-known examples is their appearance in the hit TV series, Game of Thrones, as the “arrowhead mountain“. Fans of the show will instantly recognize them as the famous landmarks that graced the backdrop of several riveting scenes featuring Jon Snow and Jorah Mormont. 

Aside from being a hot spot for Game of Thrones enthusiasts, Kirkjufell is often referred to as the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its unique shape and proximity to the charming fishing village of Grundarfjörður make it an irresistible subject for photographers and travelers alike. In fact, some even consider it to be among the top 10 most beautiful mountains in the world.

As the popularity of this picturesque, free-standing mountain and its nearby waterfall continues to spread, we expect that more and more visitors will be drawn to the area, making it an essential stop on any Iceland itinerary. So, whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or simply appreciate stunning natural landscapes, a visit to Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss should definitely be on your list.

Aerial view on Kirkjufell mountain
About the author
Irena
Irena
In 2010, Irena moved to Iceland, instantly enchanted by its breathtaking beauty. Her deep love for Icelandic culture and the natural surroundings fills her with excitement as she endeavors to convey these wonders to others through her photography and writing.

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