08. sept. 2017

A Day in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Snæfellsnes peninsula is one of the most magical places in Iceland.

Stories of Snæfellsjökull glacier‘s power and mystical energy have been around for centuries. It's the reason Jules Verne chose it as the location of the entrance into the centre of the earth in his novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth and why UFO experts anticipated aliens would land there in 1993 (alas, they did not). But magical mystery is not all Snæfellsnes in known for. Sometimes called "mini-Iceland," the peninsula is an excellent showcase for all the varied landscapes and geological wonder Iceland has to offer. So if you only have a short time in Iceland, The Premium Snæfellsnes day tour will give you a great taste of the country and offer some breathtaking views.


You'll be picked up from your hotel or a special pick-up point in a small bus. The maximum group size for this tour is 15 people, so even if it's sold out, you’ll still get an intimate experience and will get to know your fellow travellers which adds to the feeling of community. The driver/guide entertains the group on the drive up to Snæfellsnes with information about the surrounding landscape and stories connected to it.

Mt. Kirkjufell


Soon you’ll arrive at the charming fishing town of Grundarfjörður. This small town is most famous for its picturesque mountain Mt. Kirkjufell, seen in films such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and on countless Instagrams. Opposite the mountain is a lovely little waterfall that perfectly complements the mountain. No filter needed.

Arnarstapi


Onwards to the charming twin towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar were you’ll get to sample some of the locals’ tasty fish soup as you look out over the magnificent rock formations by the beach that connects the two towns. The cliffs are alive with birds going about their business on land and sea and prove the perfect background sound to the story of Bárður Snæfellsás, a half-man, half-giant who lived in Snæfellsnes until he vanished into the glacier and became the peninsula’s guardian spirit. A large sculpture of Bárður by artist Ragnar Kjartansson is situated in Arnarstapi.


Not far from the towns is another landmark connected to Bárður, Djúpalónssandur beach, where he is said to have first touched land. The beach is famous for its smooth, round pebbles and gorgeous rock formations. On the beach you can still see the remains of a Grimsby fishing trawler that was wrecked there on March 13, 1948. The rusty remains remind you of the incredible power of the ocean and the respect it commands. For those wanting to test their strength, there are four lifting stones on Djúpalónssandur beach. They were traditionally used by fishermen to test their strength for working on the boats. The stones are called Fullsterkur (full strength) weighing 154 kg, Hálfsterkur (half strength) at 100 kg, Hálfdrættingur (weakling) at 54 kg and Amlóði (Useless) 23 kg. Hálfdrættingur was the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify on a boat so if you can only lift Amlóði sorry, the seaman’s life is not for you!

Djupalonssandur beach


The highlight of the tour however, is without a doubt the seal sanctuary at Ytri-Tunga. This sandy beach is full of friendly seals in summer, lounging on the stones and frolicking in the water. The animals are so unafraid and curious that they’ll let you get pretty close (just don’t try and pet them, they can bite).

Snaefellsjokull glacier


All the while the majestic Snæfellsjökull looms over the landscape. On a clear day you can see all the way to the top and it is truly beautiful. It really puts things into perspective, the awesome beauty of nature. And I’ll be damned if you won’t feel a little bit infused with mystical powers in its presence.

After an adventurous day you’ll head back to Reykjavík, taking one last look at Snæfellsnes in the dusk, it’s not hard to see why this place has been an inspiration to so many writers and storytellers (and aliens). It is truly a unique place on earth.

Interested in taking this tour? Book online today!

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About the author

 

Áslaug Torfadóttir

Áslaug recently joined the Iceland Travel team after a decade of adventures out in the big, wide world. But all roads lead to Iceland as they (totally) say, and Áslaug is happy to now have the opportunity to introduce her home country to other travellers. Her favorite spot in Iceland is Skarðsvík beach on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, with Húsavík  a close second.
When not hard at work with the Iceland Travel team Áslaug writes scripts and plays and does copious amounts of research by watching hours upon hours of Netflix and visiting the local theatres and restaurants. Her favorite Icelandic saying is „Þetta reddast“ – roughly translated as „Eh…it‘ll be fine“