Often neglected over the other scenic jewels of Iceland , the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in west Iceland is truly a hidden gem just waiting to be explored. I am surely not the first one to say that Iceland landscape is very dynamic and Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a true testament to that. Most people while visiting Iceland totally ignore this area and head straight to the south. Snaefellsnes Peninsula makes for a great destination for a day trip ( and even multiple if you have time) . This is a much less visited corner of Iceland compared to the typical touristy areas of the South Coast and “Golden Circle”, and that being said , you will have some areas exclusive to yourself . I had totally missed on exploring this area on my first visit to Iceland , but this time I had it in my itinerary. If you are wondering ” Is it possible to road trip Snaefellsnes Peninsula in a day?” , the answer is YES. Now of-course in winters trying to explore this whole area in a day is literally like racing against the time. But if you have made your mind and set off for a day of exploring , this blog post will help you in planning , so here it is – Snaefellsnes Peninsula : Things to See. But first ——
Important Tips :
- Base yourself out of Reykjavik , it will be very convenient.
- Though there are some day tours now that offer trip to Snaefellsnes Peninsula , but my advice will be to drive it by yourself and do it at your own pace.
- According to google maps , the entire loop starting and ending at Reykjavik is almost about 500 km and will take 6 hours if you drive non stop. And since there are so many scenic viewpoints that you are bound to make frequent stop , it will easily take 10- 12 hours to explore the peninsular region.
- For all you winter explorers like me , start your day early so that you may cover maximum in day light. Also you might not find many restaurants on your way , so do not forget to pack lunch.
- Fill your gas tank as and when you see a gas station. In winters , not all gas stations are open and you may not find one for hours.
- Like always when you are traveling around Iceland in winter ,you have to make sure you keep an eye on the weather and road conditions.
- If you take the route via Hvalfjordur bay , you will have to pay the toll 100ISK. You can pay by card or in cash.
Things to see :
Now you can drive through Snaefellsnes Peninsula – Clockwise or Anti clockwise. In summer it does not matter which way you start but in for winters , I will definitely suggest you to do this trip anti clockwise. Reason is that you will want to reach Kirkjufell mountain before sunset to enjoy a true gem of a view. Since the days are really small in winters , if you drive clockwise considering the number of stops you will make on your way , you might not reach Kirkjufell mountain in time.
Mt. Helgafell :
Since it was snowy and extremely cold , I could not hike up Mount Helgafell even though it was only 15- 20 mins hike. But I learnt from some locals that hiking up Mt Helgafell keeping mum and not looking back , makes your 3 wishes come true. On my next visit , if the weather would be pleasant , I will definitely give it a shot , won’t you?
Eldborg volcanic caldera :
You will see the crater from the road and will have to take a dirt road to reach to the nearest parking lot. A walk up to crater is about 20 -25 mins.
Gerðuberg Basalt Columns :
A beautiful hill that definitely gives you an illusion of being on the sets of Game of thrones . You can see large basalt columns making a wall like structure here. Definitely worth making a quick stop..
Berserkjahraun (Lava field) :
While driving on Route 54 , you will see lava field on both sides of the road . The landscape is breathtaking . From Route 54 , you will have to take a dirt road – ( so make sure your car has good tires.) which will add another 20 mins to your drive to Kirkujafell Mountain.
Kolgrafarfjördur Fjord :
This fjord is known for the maximum concentration of marine life. In year 2003 -04 there had been an incident of mass death of marine life in this fjord because of lack of oxygen and since then it has been a popular stop for visitors. The area is beautiful and definitely worth spending some time and taking beautiful pictures.
The most photographed mountain of Iceland and the biggest highlight of Snaefellsnes Peninsula is Kirkujafell mountain. When you reach this spot , you will understand God’s perfect set up : Waterfall , Mountain , sea -> all in one sight. And if you are lucky , you will also find Icelandic horses running in the barn. Keep in mind that parking lot is small at this spot , so it does take some amount of waiting as this place remains crowded. For photographers, you will have to be in line to get the chance to photograph the mountain from the perfect angle.
I hope this blog post helps you in planning your trip at a pace where you could enjoy everything. I certainly could not see everything with 5 hours of daylight time , but the list above coupled with your own stoppages will guarantee an unforgettable day. Snaefellsnes Peninsula is truly dynamic and has some of the insane scenery to offer! If you planning a trip to Iceland and need some help , let me know in the comments below.
Have you been to Iceland yet? Have you visited Snaefellsnes Peninsula?
More travel tips and things to see in Iceland from me can be found here.
PhotoCredits : PHOTOSTAINS