THE MYSTICAL FASCINATION OF THE SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA
Sightseen, Designed for families, Culture & local gems , From 1 to 3 hours walking, Family friendly, 50
An itinerary to discover the extraordinary natural beauty of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, an immensely beautiful, fascinating area amidst volcanoes and towering mountains, sheer cliffs dropping to the sea, fishing villages and evocative volcanic landscapes, Nordic legends and sagas, for which this island is so famous.
- Rugged coastline of the Snæfellsnes peninsula
- Snaefellsjökull Glacier
- Black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur
- Tiny village of Malariff: lighthouse and ancient farmhouse
- Pillars of rock at Lóndrangar
- Hellnar: spectacular rock formations, Valasnös cliff and typical Icelandic church
- Lunch in a local restaurant with typical Icelandic cuisine* Fishing village ofi Arnarstapi
- Kerlingarskard and Helgafell, the sacred mountain
- Our tour begins along the rugged coastline of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, made famous by Jules Verne, who set the beginning of his novel “Journey to the centre of the earth” here (written in 1864). It then passes through a series of small fishing villages, as we admire the amazing, icy landscapes and mystical atmosphere blanketing the lower slopes of the Snæfellsjökull glacier.
- Our first stop is in Djúpalónssandur for a short walk along the black pebble beach lapped by the Atlantic Ocean; over the centuries, the strange rock formations all along the shore have given rise to legends, which give this place its mysterious charm.
- Our next stop is in the tiny village of Malariff, where we find an ancient farmhouse and an old lighthouse.
- A tarmac road descends to the strange, rocket-shaped Malariff lighthouse; from here we can walk for about 1 km eastwards along the cliffs as far as the pillars of rock of Lóndrangar (an eroded crater), which rise up like frozen jets of lava. The local inhabitants say the elves use these lava formations as their church.
- Today, Malariff is the main centre of the Snæfellsnes National Park.
- For decades, the old lighthouse played a major role for the Icelandic fishermen. It was built in 1917 and then rebuilt in 1947. 20 metres tall, its beam shone with a 30 km radius.
- The Malariff farmhouse used to be one of the most isolated farms in Iceland and the furthest west on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
- The next stage in our tour includes a stop in Hellnar, which for centuries was one of the largest fishing villages at the foot of the Snæfellsjökull glacier. On the beach we can admire the spectacular rock formations, one of which, called Valasnös, protrudes over the ocean.
- A cave has been dug in the cliff, which is renowned for its continual changes of colour and shadows, which vary according to the natural light and movement of the sea.
- We can admire Hellnar’s typical Icelandic church on top of the hill. With the mountains and the Snæfellsjökull glacier as a backdrop, this church offers the opportunity to take some beautiful photos of the fascinating Icelandic landscape.
- Before continuing our tour, we’ll stop for lunch in a local restaurant to enjoy a tasty soup, freshly baked bread and the catch of the day with a glass of the pure, clear, refreshing water of Iceland.
- Next, we come to the fishing village of Arnarstapi, which lies immersed in an impressive landscape of lava formations inhabited by a large variety of birds. There are many Nordic stories and sagas attached to this area, which add to the even more mysterious fascination of the surrounding environment. There we will enjoy a refreshing walk and admire the area's fascinating geological phenomena.
- Our tour continues along Kerlingarskard, or “Witch’s Pass”, towards Stykkishólmur, where we’ll stop briefly in Helgafell, the “sacred Mountain”, with its ancient legends. It actually appears more of a hill in size, but it is thought to have special powers and is the burial ground of Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir, the heroine of Icelandic sagas.
- Before our return to Grundarfjörður, we’ll call in briefly at Stykkishólmur, a fishing village that has been a trading post for centuries, thanks to its favourable location.
Good to know
- Sea bird-watching depends on the season and on the weather conditions and cannot be guaranteed after half way through August.