14 Things to Do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Welcome to Snaefellsnes peninsula, full of dramatic volcano peaks, lava fields, golden beaches and even more! This magical place is one of my favorites here in Iceland and it is only a couple of hours away from Reykjavik. Snaefellsnes peninsula is very dynamic and gives you totally different experiences depending on the time of the year.

Here is my top 14 things to do in Snaefellsnes. You can follow the route from 1 to 14 and do it yourself! To fully explore this peninsula, I recommend spending two days, but it is as well possible to do all 14 things in one (summer!) day.

1. Olkelda – mineral spring

Germans are big sparkling mineral water fans and so am I. That‘s why I was really happy to hear that I can try natural mineral sparkling water just right here! The water has a very strong iron taste, but don’t worry: It is absolutely safe to drink! The taste comes from the high iron concentration, which is about 2.000 times higher than in normal water. Also, the water is high in other minerals such as calcium and potassium. If you don’t mind the unusual taste, this is a good stop to fill up your water bottles before the upcoming adventures.

2. Ytri-Tunga – seal beach

Ytri-Tunga is a sandy beach with a lot of rocks in it where the seals like to spend their time. The seals are friendly and it is possible to climb the rocks and get pretty close to them. The best time to spot seals is in June, July and August.

3. Black little church

Budir – historic black church is in a profoundly beautiful setting with a small cemetery next to it. This little gem sits in a lava field overlooking a spectacular stretch of beautiful coastline. Definitely worth stopping by!

4. Rauðfeldsgjá (Red-cloak rift)

Rauðfeldsgjá is a deep rift extending about 40 meters into the mountain. While you can easily enter the first part of the cave, be prepared to get soaked, if you want to go deeper! To see the hidden waterfall in the rift you would have to do a little climbing on wet rocks. Be careful though, it is slippery!

5. Hike in amazing lava field

Between the two tiny villages Hellnar and Arnarstapi you will find a huge and beautiful lava field where you can go on a hike. The hike takes about 1.5 hours and you can start from either of those villages. In addition, you can also see beautiful cliffs and lots of birdlife as well as the interesting Bardur Snaefellsas sculpture in Arnarstapi.

6. Vatnshellir cave

This is a pretty impressive cave where you go down a spiral staircase into a chamber formed by magma flow. To enter this cave you need to join a guided tour.

7. Djúpalón Beach

It‘s a perfect place to take a walk with a dramatic background of rock formations. This black sand beach is covered with some rusty metal pieces which were shipwrecked more than 60 years ago. There you can as well find four stones that you can test your strength on and learn how aspiring fishermen were tested.

8. Saxhóll volcanic crater

The Saxholl crater is an interesting and quick stop where you can do an easy climb to the top of a volcanic crater. From the top you will have a great view over large lava fields.

9. Öndverðarnes – Westernmost tip of Snaefellsnes Peninsula

On the most western part of Snaefellsnes peninsula you will find a bumpy road that will lead you to a beautiful orange lightouse. The lighthouse was built in 1914 and is standing by the viewing platform, where you will have amazing views on the ocean. There you will find more interesting things and some history facts about Öndverðarnes, which used to be a very lively place. While you are there, keep your eyes open as it is sometimes possible to spot whales in the water.

10. Gamla Rif – best fish soup

The tiny village of Rif has only one restaurant and it is great. It has only two things on their menu (fish and vegetarian soups) and they both are really delicious. They have some desserts as well, so you might want to consider this as your lunch stop.

11. Grundarfjörður – Kirkjufell mountain & whale watching

Kirkjufell close to the town Grundarfjörður is a symmetric and beautifully cone-shaped mountain that is said to be the most photographed mountain in Iceland. On the other side of the road you will also find a waterfall where you can do a little hike and enjoy the great views. Most importantly, don‘t forget your camera!

Grundarfjörður is also one of the best locations in the world from which to watch orcas (also called killer whales). Therefore we highly recommend to join an orca whale watching tour during your time on Snaefellsnes.

12. Bjarnarhofn shark museum

If you are sensitive to smell, then we do not recommend stopping here. But if you are looking for something unique and fascinating – the shark museum is the right place for you. Here you can learn about sharks as well as taste them. Definitely an unforgettable experience!

13. Get three wishes on Helgafell

Helgafell is a special mountain that will help you to receive three wishes. It’s on the way to the city of Stykkisholmur and is not hard to find. Just follow the rules on the board that you will find near the mountain and do it very precisely: Do not look back, don’t talk and make sure your head is free of guile, while hiking up the hill. Finally, just head to the East while wishing and of course do not tell anyone about your wishes. This is all it takes for your three wishes to come true. Good luck!

14. Lovely old-fashioned town Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur is a small town situated in the northern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula. Though it is very small, it has a lot to offer – a beautiful hike to the lighthouse, scenic harbor area, interesting architecture. You can as well visit some interesting museums like the Volcano center or the Library of Water. Enjoy the city and your last stop in Snaefellsnes peninsula!

Marvin Kissmer
November 2016

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