Text by: Agata Ryszkowska
Are you short on time? Do you have a stopover in Iceland but you still want to experience its beauty? You’re not fancy of crowded landmarks? Well, there is one answer and it’s called Snæfellsnes. Let me explain why 🙂
Snæfellsnes is a peninsula not far away North from Reykjavik. It’s the perfect one or two-day road trip, depending on how much time you want to spend on travelling. It’s often referred to as a miniature of Iceland due to its numerous attractions including volcano, glacier, mountains, waterfalls, beaches, coasts, seals, caves and cute little towns. Spoiler alert: I bet you’ve seen that one extra popular photo of a mountain called Kirkjufell. Some articles claim that it’s the most photographed view of Iceland and it happens to be situated in the Northern part of the peninsula. But it’s so much more than that and I’ll guide you through it in this post.
How to get there?
The best possible way is to rent a car. It won’t cost you a fortune if you plan to do this road trip in max. two days. It’s very easy to get there from Reykjavik, all you have to do is to drive North through Borgarnes, follow the road number 54 and turn left so you can begin your sightseeing on the Southern part of Snæfellsnes. You most probably won’t get lost since all of us use google maps nowadays, but once the road 54 turns right to the mountains, turn left to the road leading to Arnarstapi. You’ll be able drive along the coast and see the glacier in its full glory. Then you’ll be able to enter the road 54 again which will lead you up to the left turn where you can follow up the road to Stykkishólmur. If you have time, you absolutely have to visit this tiny, adorable town! Going back to the road 54, you’ll have a chance to either follow it or go back and take the road 56 instead which will take you to the South again. If you happen to choose the first option, keep in mind that after the turn to Stykkishólmur the road 54 changes to a gravel one, so I’d definitely recommend driving it with a 4×4 car. I’ve never done that though since my care does not have a 4WD.
Do I need to book accommodation?
Absolutely not. But it’s worth leaving from the capital very early in the morning as the drive + sightseeing takes about 12 hours. But if you want to wake up with a stunning view outside your window, I’d recommend spending a night in Hótel Búðir. It lets you dive into the surroundings on another level and the hotel itself offers gorgeous interiors. If you’re on a budget though, there are quite a few campsites along the way. Keep in mind that’s it’s illegal to put a tent or park overnight in places that are not officially meant to do so 🙂
Attractions along the way
I’ve created a map that you can save up on your phone and access it offline so you won’t miss any of the interesting places worth seeing.
I’m not going to mention every single one because I’d bore you to death but I’ll quickly introduce you to some of my fave ones.
- Ölkelduvatn Mineral Spring – a place where you can find a tap from which you can drink highly mineralized water straight from the ground. It’s bubbly and it tastes like liquid metal but it’s fun and it makes you cringe when you try it. Recommend! 👌🏻
- Ytri Tunga – gorgeous beach with golden sand and black rocks. It’s famous thanks to seals that like sunbathing there during the summer season. It’s a perfect lunch spot as well.
- Bjarnarfoss – one of those waterfalls that just take your breath away. I’m in awe whenever I’m there, it always amazes me to watch the water flow down from the rocky mountain’s edge. It’s easily accessible and requires a very short walk upwards, suitable for children as well.
- The whole Western coast – there’s so many places worth seeing you have to literally stop every 10 minutes. You can see all of them marked on the map but my faves are: the cliffs near Arnarstapi and Djúpalónssandur and Skarðsvík beaches. Though while visiting the beaches, remember to mind the sneaker waves, which are extremely dangerous due to their unpredictability.
- Stykkishólmur – the last place on my list is the gorgeous town of Stykkishólmur, where most of its inhabitants make a living from fishing and tourism. You can enjoy a wander through narrow streets surrounded by colorful tiny houses, hike the cliff on the coast and admire the ocean view and the surrounding islands next to a red lighthouse. Then I’d recommend having a little rest at the nearby coffee shop called Café Nú, which offers a fairly wide range of vegan friendly goods.
If you’re still hesitant about how to spend your precious hours in Iceland, let me take you on a visual journey I filmed last August.
Have a wonderful trip and don’t forget to tell me how was it!