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Choose your own adventure travel blog
The biggest surprise from my most recent trip to Iceland (June 2018) was the discovery of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
I was blown away by how much it has to offer explorers. Within 2.5 hours of downtown Reykjavik, visitors can find waterfalls, lava fields, volcanic craters, picturesque hikes, charming small towns, black- and tan-sand beaches, lighthouses, basalt columns, incredible cliffs and a lot more.
Check out the interactive map and article below for a breakdown of the perfect itinerary for a day trip on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
A day trip will take you between 10 to 15 hours -- starting and ending in Reykjavik. With very few gas stations and restaurants along the way, I suggest stopping at the first N1 you see and grabbing a full day of snacks.
PRO TIP: There is a $10 toll going in and out of the Hvalfjörður Tunnel. They take debit and credit cards. So be prepared to spend $20 to get through the tunnel twice.
We stumbled on Bjarnarfoss while we were driving along Highway 54. It is spectacular. A 5-minute hike gets you amazing views of the waterfall. If you hike up about 30 minutes you can reach the top of the waterfall. Basalt columns lines the cliff side.
While the church had gone through several iterations over the years, the incredible Búðakirkja that you see today was built by Steinunn Sveinsdóttir in 1847. She was an absolute bad ass. When religious leaders told her she could not rebuild the church, she said "Screw that!" and built one anyway.
An inscription on the church door says "The church was rebuilt in the year 1848 without support from the spiritual fathers." I like her style.
I will tell you this about the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge; it is an absolute brutal climb to reach. Now, that is coming from an out-of-shape 33-year-old. Other people had a relatively 15-minute hike to the gorge. I was sweating like a disgusting monster.
Once you reach the top, you can walk into the gorge for photos or explore the nearby cave.
I, instead, panted for 10 minutes, took 5 photos and started my hike back down.
Bárðar Saga Snæfellsáss Statue
It's a giant stone statue that's meant to look like a puffin. What else do you need to know? Take a photo, put it on Instagram and move on.
After a brisk 10-minute walk along a very manicured walkway, you will reach the Arnarstappi Cliffs. There's a big platform that allows you to take some time and take in the incredible views.
There are a ton of birds and beautiful scenery all around you.
It's hard to take a bad photo of Gatklettur, a beautiful cliff and circular arch. You can spend an hour taking photos. It is a spectacular sight to behold.
Like many sites along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Londrangar is an incredibly beautiful place to visit. Everything is picturesque: the basalt cliffs, the bright green moss, the birds. The rock formation are awesome enough for you to stop.
Black sand beaches aren't just along Iceland's South Coast. Dritvik Djúpalónssandur has great natural features, including a lava field leading up to the beach.
What? Regular sand beaches in Iceland? Yup!
Stop by Skarðsvík Beach for beautiful views and a great chance for photos.
BE WARNED: DO NOT DRIVE TO THIS LIGHTHOUSE UNLESS YOU HAVE 4WD OR ARE DRIVING A SUV!
The road leading up to the lighthouse is brutally rough. We didn't feel comfortable driving our tiny rental car all the way up. We stopped halfway, snapped a couple photos and carefully drove back.
Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss
This is one of the, if not the, most iconic mountain in Iceland. Which seems a little odd to me, because it's not that big and spectacular.
You will pass a lot bigger, grander, more beautiful and more significant mountains during your day trip. The nearby waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss, offers a great opportunity to get a great photo of the mountain and waterfall in a photo. However, there are a LOT OF TOURISTS doing exactly that.
Súgandisey Island Lighthouse
A narrow road leads visitors from Stykkishólmur to Súgandisey Island. A quick 5-minute walk gets you to to top of the island. That short hike offers great photos of the very tiny lighthouse and Stykkishólmur.
FUN FACT: Stykkishólmur is where they filmed the scene in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" where Ben Stiller dove into a helicopter. I began travling because of that movie.
What are your favorite stops along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula? Comment below!
Hey! I'm Christian.