Discover the Captivating Snæfellsjökull National Park

  • by Yanshu
  • Snaefellsnes
  • 21 Jan 2024

Snæfellsjökull National Park is a place filled with stunning sights and natural wonders. Here, the interaction of ice and fire has created a varied landscape. In the park, you'll notice this mix in the overwhelming glacier, Snaefellsjokull, as well as the volcanic remnants scattered around, and the striking coastal areas of the peninsula.

Discover the Captivating Snæfellsjökull National Park

Snæfellsjökull Glacier

Snæfellsjökull stands as a majestic glacier-capped stratovolcano and is the crown jewel of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is estimated to be around 700,000 years old and provides a unique spectacle where a glacier covers an active volcano. From this 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano, on clear days, one can gaze out across Faxa Bay to see the sights of Reykjavik, 120 kilometers away.

The ice cap of Snaefelljokull glacier.

Lava Fields and Rock Formations

The park’s lava fields are extensive and serve as a stark reminder of the region’s turbulent geological past. The Haahraun lava field, for example, presents an eerie landscape, and within the park, one finds intriguing rock formations that have taken shape over millennia.

Volcanic Features

Volcanic craters and lava tubes are prominent throughout Snæfellsjökull National Park. The Saxhóll volcano crater, easily accessible by a staircase, offers a panoramic view of the surrounding lava fields and is a testament to the area’s volcanic activity.

Saxhóll Crater is a popular destination on Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

The park is located on the westernmost tip of the winding Snæfellsnes Peninsula, featuring rugged coastlines that bear the marks of the sea’s relentless sculpting. Cliffs and beaches alternate, creating a variety of coastal landscapes that are as beautiful as they are geologically fascinating.

Djúpalónssandur black pebble beach

The most renowned beach in the area is Djúpalónssandur, a black pebble beach celebrated for its stark, natural beauty. Encircled by rugged cliffs, the beach also showcases remnants of a historic shipwreck. Its dark sands and pebbles craft a unique, otherworldly landscape. With so many captivating features, Djúpalónssandur is a must-visit destination in Snaefellsnes.

Djupalongssandur black pebble beach, Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Arnarstapi fishing village

If you are looking for a relaxing stroll along some spectacular coastal paths, you need to visit Arnarstapi fishing village. Here, you’ll find yourself meandering through stunning natural arches and observing an abundance of birdlife. The dramatic basalt rock formations that line the shore offer breathtaking views of the North Atlantic, creating a perfect blend of serene beauty and rugged nature. This charming village also serves as a gateway to many other picturesque spots along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Snow covered sea stack arch in Arnarstapi, Snaefellsnes Peninsula. [Photo credit to Danni Arndt]

Lóndrangar basalt sea stacks

Another must-see within the national park is Lóndrangar. It’s a pair of distinctive, towering rock formations located on the southern coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula. These basalt sea stacks, rising dramatically from the ocean, are remnants of a larger volcanic crater, which has been eroded away by the sea over thousands of years. The area around Lóndrangar, with its unique volcanic landscape of lava fields and rugged terrain, is a favorite among photographers and nature lovers.

Lóndrangar Basalt Cliffs in summer
Londrangar basalt sea stacks on Snaefellsnes Peninsula. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

What You Need to Know about Visiting Snæfellsjökull National Park

When visiting Snæfellsjökull National Park, I find it essential to plan our trip well, considering how to get there and the amenities we can expect upon arrival. Detailed information on travel routes and the visitor center will enhance our experience in this majestic landscape.

How to Get to Snæfellsjökull National Park

Reykjavík to Snæfellsjökull: The park is pleasantly accessible via road travel. Visitors typically start the journey from Reykjavík, taking the Ring Road (Route 1) before steering onto Route 54. The drive is approximately 120 miles (193 kilometers), which can take you around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on road conditions.

  • Main roads: Utmost care is necessary while driving on Utnewegur (Road 574), which leads directly to the park.
  • Maps and Guidance: Always carry updated maps. GPS devices are helpful but always double-check with local travel advisories for any changes.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula day tour passes by Snaefellsjokull glacier. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

Visitor Center and Facilities

Visitor Center at Malarrif: Upon our arrival, you can find the park’s Visitor Center to get familiarised with the area. This facility is a trove of valuable information.

  • Address: Malarrif, 360 Snæfellsbær, Iceland
  • Services: Here, we find detailed maps, exhibitions about the park’s unique geology and wildlife, and insights into historical fishing practices.

The availability of facilities can change with seasons, so it’s prudent to check the park’s official visitor center guide for the latest updates before we set out.

Visitor Center at Malarrif on Snaefellsnes Peninsula-4547
Visitor Center at Malarrif on Snaefellsnes Peninsula. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]
About the author
A journalist and photographer, Yanshu is driven by a deep passion for Iceland. She's on a mission to share her love for authentic travel experiences and exciting adventures with fellow explorers. Armed with her camera, she sets off on hikes, delving into Iceland's intricacies while mastering the art of Icelandic language whenever possible.

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