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Iceland Mag


5 Things to know about Snæfellsnes Peninsula

By Agnes Valdimarsdóttir

  • Snæfellsjökull glacier The pearl of Snæfellsnes national park

  • Snæfellsjökull glacier graces the skyline to the north-west from Reykjavík.

  • At Hellnar cove close to the old fishing village with the same name, located on the the westernmost part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

  • Breaking the waves In Snæfellsnes National Park the sea is always a stone's throw away.

  • Snæfellsnes peninsula is the birdwatcher's paradise.

Every website tells you its got the best information about everything you need to know about your trip to Iceland. But this is the site you’ve been looking for. Here are the five things you need to know when visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula.


Photos by Vilhelm Gunnarsson

1. Snæfellsjökull National Park
That glacier you can see at a distance of about 120km from Reykjavik on a clear day? That’s Snæfellsjökull volcano. At an elevation of 1,446m (4,744ft) is glacier isn’t only magnificent but also serves as the setting of the worldfamous novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Once you’ve reached Snæfellsjökull National Park and booked your snowmobiling trip on the glacier, you should keep in mind that in the Park there’s also an 8,000-year old cave called Vatnshellir. The ultimate chance to go 200 meters in and 35 meters below the surface to experience amazing underground colours and lava formations.

2. The Sagas
Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a key setting in Eyrbyggja Saga. It’s also the birthplace of Bolli Bollason who was the first West Norse member of the elite unit of the Byzantine Army, from the 9th and 14th centuries, the Varangian Guard.

3. Ólafsvík, Grundarfjörður, Stykkishólmur, and Búðardalur
The Peninsula is made up of four fishing villages and small towns whose inhabitants continue to rely on fishing as their main source of income. The road leading from Grundarfjörður to Stykkishólmur crosses a big lava field that is partially warm so that even in winter there’s no snow everywhere.

4. Baldur, the ferry
Stykkishólmur serves as a gateway not only to the West Fjords by sailing across Breiðafjörður on the ferry Baldur, but the ferry also brings people to the island of Flatey in Breiðafjörður. The island is inhabited in the summer and is home to and old church that is now both the oldest and smallest library in Iceland. The church, now library, was once home to the Flatey Book, the largest of medieval Icelandic manuscripts. (It was given to the King of Denmark in 1656, but made its way back to Iceland in 1971 and is preserved at the Arni Magnusson Institute at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik).

5. Swimming in a Library of Water
The first of its kind in Iceland, Stykkishólmur is the home to the Library of Water, housing three collections: water, words, and weather reports. The library is housed in a building that stands on a promontory overlooking the ocean and the town. Once you’ve soaked up information about water, the next step would be to soak in it yourself at the Lýsuhóll swimming pool in Staðarsveit. The pool water is rich in minerals which makes it both healthy and healing. 

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