Text by: Samantha Bazely
A quick Google Image search for “Iceland” brings up for images of a stunning, unique peaked looking mountain. This mountain is one of the most photographed in all of Iceland and is known as Kirkjufell. Directly translated into Church Mountain, this picturesque mountain brings in tourists from all over the world.
Kirkjufell mountain is located on the north side of the Snæfellsness peninsula. Located just outside of Grundarfjordur, Kirkjufell stands at 460m tall. It’s rigid, pointed shape, jutting straight out of the ocean, makes for some stunning photos and has tourists flocking to the site all year round. Poised on right on the coast, with a classic Icelandic waterfall in the background, Kirkjufell has enticed many to try and hike to see what the view would be like from the top. However, beauty is not the only thing that brings this mountain attention, it is an extremely dangerous mountains to climb and there have been quite a few tragedies. Authorities warn that this mountain is only for the most experienced climbers as there is a need for true mountaineering equipment in order to summit the mountain. However, there is a chance to hike up a waterfall for a better vantage point across the road.
So how do you get there?
If you are coming from Reykjavik you’ll want to head out towards Stykkishólmur. When you come to Vatnaleið (56) you’ll want to turn right. This mountain pass is home to many sheep in the summer months, which are always a delight to see. You’ll come to a T intersection and turn left onto 54. This will lead you down the north side of the peninsula. It is about a 2.5-hour drive from Reykjavík but makes a fabulous day trip in the summer months. In the winter months you’ll want to plan to have somewhere to stay on the peninsula to be able to take advantage of the limited sunlight.
Located right on the main highway (a 10-minute drive west of Grundarfjorður), this mountain is the perfect place to stop off for a picnic lunch, or even a small hike to break up the drive around the Snaefellsness peninsula. With free parking off the road, you can understand why it is a sought-after tourist destination. On one side of the road you have Kirkjufell, and on the other a beautiful waterfall that you can hike right up to. If you are interested in a longer hike, you can even hike up to the top where many have found fossils of fish and small birds.
The best time to visit
Whether you are coming to take in its beauty yourself, or capture some photos of Kirkjufell, I believe there is no bad time of year to come. During the bright midnight sun, you would capture the green vibrant colour of the mountain. During the darker winter months, you would either capture the icy white snowscape, or could be lucky enough to catch the northern lights dancing overhead.