The Snaefellsnes region, under two hours to the north-west of Reykjavik, is a starkly beautiful peninsula jutting out into the North Atlantic on Iceland's western coast. In the long summer days, when the sun hardly sets, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from: fishing for sea trout or river salmon, riding, sea kayaking, whale-watching, hiking or snowmobiling on the glacier-topped volcano that dominates the end of the peninsula - and plenty of daylight hours in which to enjoy them. Snaefellsnes Peninsula holidays also have a lovely literary angle, because the region is closely connected with the Norse Sagas,
and the crater of Mt Snaefells - the volcano in question - is the access point for Jules Verne's heroes in the Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula was also the birthplace of Leif Erikson, the first European to reach North America, some 500 years before Columbus.
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What can you find in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula that you won't find anywhere else?
The concentration of natural beauty that’s packed into the 60-mile long Snaefellsnes Peninsula that extends out from Iceland’s west coast is truly astounding. Expect to see imposing volcanoes, towering glaciers, tumbling waterfalls, moss-covered lava fields, dramatic coastal cliffs, echoey caves and black-sand beaches; to say the region packs a mighty natural punch would be a big understatement. Known as ‘Iceland in miniature’ because it encapsulates so many of the country’s best bits, Snaefellsnes Peninsula holidays have a distinct end-of-the-earth feel to them.
What are the best ways to discover the Snaefellsnes Peninsula?
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is easily explored by car, and a self-drive adventure is an excellent way to get the most out of your trip. Stykkishólmur is the peninsula’s largest town and an ideal jumping off point for the region’s many charms; stroll past its colourful wooden houses, visit its Volcano Museum and simply take in its tranquil beauty. The glacier-capped Snæfellsjökull Volcano is the peninsula’s most famous landmark, which stands in a national park of the same name. Its magnificent soaring peak is an Icelandic icon and on a clear day it can be seen from Reykjavik. After filling up your memory card with photos of this natural giant, wander the pretty fishing villages, Arnastapi and Hellnar, that sit at its base. Continue your deep dive into the untamed beauty of the region with a guided tour of 8,000-year-old Vatnshellir Cave and its secret chambers, or visit the majestic waterfalls of Kirkjufellsfoss, which are backed by Iceland’s most photographed mountain, Kirkjufell (so magnificent it starred in ‘Game of Thrones’), and you’ll wonder what planet you landed on. Talking of otherworldly landscapes, Snaefellsnes Peninsula holidays are teeming with them, from the black sands of Djúpalónssandu to the towering cliffs of Svörtuloft. The black wood Búðarkirkja Church is another stirring sight of Snaefellsnes – the lone structure stands amidst an ancient lava field and its inky outline is a famed image of natural beauty and isolation.
Things to Do in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Snaefellsnes Peninsula holidays are all about outdoor adventure – drive from one awe-inspiring natural sight to the next and get closer to the landscape with whale-watching tours and fishing excursions, hikes through craters, snowmobiling on glaciers or kayaking through sparkling fjords. Take to the water and sail around the fairytale-like scenery as you spy the incredible bird life in the region or see some of the fantastic scenery by horseback.