The Wonders of Snaefellsnes
Absolute MUST for all nature lovers
Miniature version of Iceland
Spectacular glaciers, mountains
and volcanic craters
Extended Snæfellsnes Peninsula Day tour
Our day starts by picking you up at your hotel or Guesthouse at 8:00
We start our adventure driving through the tunnel of Hvalfjörður, through the main town of west Iceland Borgarnes witch is is the center of commerce for a large part of western Iceland
The town’s economy is mostly based on service to people traveling from Reykjavík, farmers and owners of summer houses in the countryside around the town, and also various industries. From Borgarnes we head west onto the beautiful multi-colored terrain of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
The Snæfellsnes is a peninsula situated to the west of Borgarfjörður, in western Iceland. It has been named Iceland in Miniature, because many national sights can be found in the area, including the Snæfellsjökull volcano, regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland. With its height of 1446 m, it is the highest mountain on the peninsula and has a glacier at its peak. (Jökull” means “glacier” in Icelandic). The volcano can be seen on clear days from Reykjavík, a distance of about 120 km. The mountain is also known as the setting of the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by the French author Jules Verne. The area surrounding Snæfellsjökull has been designated one of the four National Parks by the government of Iceland.
Next on your itinerary is the small hamlet of Búðir, meaning “shops.” The old trading post of the area from many years ago has all but disappeared into ruins, but the village survives and is home to the popular country inn and restaurant Hotel Búðir, where you can stop for a coffee (if you want to). Look out for shady looking characters. The hotel is often used as a remote meeting place and hideaway for Icelandic and foreign celebrities!
Next we will drive towards the glacier and visit the cave Sönghellir:
Sönghellir (“Singing cave”), known for its echoes. Many names are carved in the rock, including those of Eggert Ólafsson and Bjarni Pálsson who travelled the country in the 18th century. The story says that one of the Icelandic settlers, Bárður Snæfellsás, is believed to have lived in the cave Sönghellir when he first arrived to Iceland with his people. The name Sönghellir literally means a cave for singing and was given the name because of its echo. Places in the vicinity bear on the saga of Bárður Snæfellsás, who was half human and half giant. He arrived at Djúpalón and built his farm Laugarbrekka nearby. His daughters were good looking, strong and brave and Bárður loved them dearly. The eldest one was Helga. Bárður´s brother Þorkell, lived at Arnarstapi. He had two sons, Rauðfeldur and Sölvi. The children of the two brothers used to play together and try their strength. One foggy day, when there was pack ice along the shore, Rauðfeldur, son of Þorkell, pushed his cousin Helga out to sea on an iceberg. She drifted away to Greenland and was later to return to Iceland but was believed to have drowned. In his anger and sorrow, Bárður threw Rauðfeldur into a ravine and Sölvi off a high cliff by the coast. Since then, the ravine is called Rauðfeldsgjá and the cliff Sölvahamar. But Bárður Snæfellsás walked into the Snæfellsjökull glazier and – more or less – disappeared.
We go down to the tiny village at Arnarstapi with a chance to see the beautiful sea cliffs and views in this area
Arnarstapi or Stapi is a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell between Hellnar village and Breiðavík farms on the southern side of Snæfellsnes, Iceland.
Placenames in the vicinity of Arnarstapi and nearby Hellnar village are inspired by Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss, an Icelandic saga relating the story of Bárður, a half human and half ogre. Arnarstapi was a natural site for landings and harbor for small vessels, and therefore ideal for a shipping port. In the olden days, Arnarstapi was thus from very early on, a busy fishing port and commercial centre servicing the West coast area under the Danish crown and a merchant monopoly of Denmark was in effect from 1565. From thenon and through the 17th and 18th century, agents of the Danish crown had custodial power over Arnarstapi and commercial rights by royal appointment over nearby lands, formerly owned by Helgafell monastery and monopoly of all trade in the area. Several old houses from that time, each with its own unique history, can be seen at Arnarstapi, the old Amtmannshús (The Danish Prefect’s Residence (1774–1787) having a history of its own, it having been moved in 1849 to nearby Vogur á Mýrum, where it stayed until 1983, when it was moved back again to Arnarstapi in 1985 and declared a historical site in 1990. There resided amongst other notables, Danish Prefect Bjarni Thorsteinsson (1821–1849), whose son was renowned poet and writer Steingrímur Thorsteinsson.
Today Arnarstapi is still a somewhat busy harbor during the summer months serving private fishing and recreational vessels as well with its maintained docks that were renewed in 2002. Being a popular destination of tourists in summer, Arnarstapi is today a thriving centre for local tourism activities where there is a variety of natural and culinary attractions as well and a cluster of second homes are located in and around the village. There is much beauty to be found in nearby attractions, and an old horse trail past Neðstavatn is now a popular hiking trail across the lava and along the beach between Arnarstapi and Hellnar. This walk is about one hour. The lava field is called Hellnahraun, and its coast where at its westernmost edge can be found the ancient small village of Hellnar is a natural preserve. Along the coast there are some unique rock formations to be seen. There the waves of the ocean play along with the sun and the daylight to produce a natural show of which the most spectacular can be experienced at the cliff Gatklettur, and the rifts Hundagjá, Miðgjá and Músagjá.
As mentioned before, there is a beautiful walk from Arnastapi to Hellnar. (about 1 hour), otherwise we continue to Hellnar.
Hellnar is an ancient fishing village, a cluster of old houses and buildings situated close to Arnarstapi on the westernmost part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, Iceland.
Although Hellnar village used to be a major port of call for fishing vessels and the largest and busiest centre of fishing and fishing vessels in Snæfellsnes, there were also a few farms in and around Hellnar village along with quite a few semi-permanent and short-stay living quarters for seamen and the migrating workforce. Hellnar village can in all probability trace its function as a major port of call back to the Middle Ages, and the oldest written source of it being describes as a fishing port dates back to 1560.
In earlier times, Hellnar would have been in relatively large part fisheries-related farms and buildings, and in the national census of 1703, some 194 individuals were registered as being inhabitants of Hellnar. This same year the buildings and farms of Hellnar are listed as numbering 38 altogether, of which 7 farms are listed as agricultural farms, 11 as having fisheries and fisheries-related functions, and 20 as listed as being semi-permanent or short-stay lodgings for the migrating work force and displaced persons.
On the beach some spectacular rock formations are to be seen, one of which is a protruding cliff called Valasnös, which reaches across the ocean front and into the sea. Tunneling into this cliff there is a cave known for colorful changes of lighting and shades that vary in tune with the natural light and the movements of the sea
We’ll stop at the charming settlement of Hellnar nestled below the glacier at the ocean’s edge and view spectacular cliffs teaming with birds for a good part of the year.
During summer we take lunch at the charming Fjöruhúsið café located in a warm and sheltered spot near the beach. Enjoy the stunning view while listening to the calls of the seabirds, which inhabit the surrounding cliffs.
Next we’ll head down to the beach at Djúpalónssandur:
Djúpalónssandur is a sandy beach and bay on foot of Snæfellsjökull in Iceland. It was once home to sixty fishing boats and one of the most prolific fishing villages on the Snæfellsnes peninsula but today the bay is uninhabited.
Four lifting stones are in Djúpalónssandur, used by fishermen to test their strength. They are Fullsterkur (“full strength”) weighing 154 kg, Hálfsterkur (“half strength”) at 100 kg, hálfdrættingur (“weakling”) at 54 kg and Amlóði (“Useless”) 23 kg. They were traditionally used to qualify men for work on fishing boats, with the Hálfdrættingur being the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify.
On the beach there are remains of the Grimsby fishing trawler Epine (GY7) that was wrecked there on March 13, 1948.
Then we’ll head north around the peninsula and pass three small fishing willages Hellisandur, Rif and Ólafsvík the administrative center of the municipality of Snæfellsbær, with 1,010 inhabitants as of 1 january 2011.
We will carry on along the beautiful coastline to a small willage Grundarfjörður. The town is situated in front of an impressive mountain range which has a slightly alpine look. On the sea side, there is a mountain called Kirkjufell,
a diverted piece of the mountain strip Mýrarhyrna. The mountain forms a small peninsula.
As we continue our trip along the coastline we will cross a big lava field, called Berserkjahraun. This is partially warm, so that even in winter, there is not snow everywhere. The name of the lava field comes from the Eyrbyggja saga, according to which two Berserkers were slain here by their master, because one of them fell in love with his master’s daughter.
If you want to stop on the way to take pictures. Then we stop with a smile.
3rd person is free
Min 2 – Max 3 persons
60.000 ISK per person
538 USD per person
In Reykjavík / Reykjanes from hotel or guesthouse around 8:00
Meals, Entrance fees
Lunch can be bought on the way.
10 – 12 hours.
All dates all year round
Short, easy walks on the sites visited. Recommended to dress warm because the weather in Iceland can change in the matter of minutes