What to see in Iceland
Tourist attractions Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Nicknamed ‘Iceland in Minature’, the Snaefellsnes Penninsula is home to countless examples of the most unique and characteristic landscapes in the country. Imagine striking lava fields, volcanic craters, glistening glaciers and thundering waterfalls and you’ll begin to build an image of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula! Meaning ‘Snow Mount’s Peninsula’ in English, Snaefellsnes gets its name from the snow-capped glacier volcano that stands at the western tip of this rocky strip of land.
Around two hours drive north of Reykjavik, day trips to Snaefellsnes are popular, but longer stays on the peninsula are recommended to truly get to grips with the immense landscapes of this beautiful corner of Iceland. Black sand beaches, lapped by the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean encircle the peninsula on three sides, and if you visit Snaefellsnes you cannot escape the feeling of being humbled by the magnificence of nature.
Although this part of Iceland is far less popular or famous than the well-trodden ‘Golden Circle’ route of the south coast, Snaefellsnes is the perfect destination for those who prefer to truly immerse themselves in nature and venture off the beaten path. Snaefellsnes is situated on Iceland’s west coast and is suitable to visit at any time of the year. For the best weather, travel to Snaefellesnes Peninsula during the summer months, when you can also experience the unique phenomenon of the Midnight Sun!
Things to see on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
A drive along the peninsula will bring you face-to-face with an array of exciting natural attractions. One of the best places to begin a tour of Snesfellsnes is at the Snaesfellsjokull National Park, located at the tip of the peninsula. Covering an area of 170 square kilometres, this protected area is home to the glacier of the same name, towering over the landscape and measuring 1446 metres high at its peak. This area is shrouded in many local legends, so if you can visit with a guide, even better!
Another famous peak in the area is Kirkjufell Mountain, one of the best things to see on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Famously featured in the television series Game of Thrones, Kirkjufell is a much smaller peak, measuring only 463 metres tall. Despite its modest size, this mountain is famous for its pointy, triangular shape, said to be one of the most photographed natural features in Iceland. Covered in an emerald coasting of moss in the summer and snow-capped in the winter, this curious peak seems to take on different forms depending on the angle at which you view it. The nearby Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall is the perfect place to take photographs.
Another unique natural feature to discover on a trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is the incredible Gerðuberg Cliffs, the longest row of basalt cliffs in Iceland. This dramatic scene just goes to show the genius of nature and is an unmissable thing to see in Snaefellsnes.
Known for its population of seals, Ytri Tunga Beach is one of the few golden sand beaches in the country and another highlight of a Snaefellsnes tour. Although the seals tend to only make an appearance during the summer months, the surrounding landscapes, including the towering Snaefellsjokul glacier in the background, make this a dream destination for photographers at any time of the year.
Finally, if you travel to Snaefellsnes, be sure to stop in the charming town of Stykkisholmur. This colorful seaside settlement, complete with a fishing harbour, was famously featured in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The largest town on the peninsula, it’s home to historic wooden houses, a handful of museums and a unique futuristic-design church.