If you are looking to plan a trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula you are in for a real treat! The Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland is truly a hidden gem just waiting to be explored and is a unique destination you will surely fall in love with.
Unlike the very popular south coast of Iceland, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a bit out of the way but that is part of its charm. The extra effort is worth it when you are rewarded with sparkling fjords, stunning glaciers, beautiful beaches, world-class landscapes, and more!
We recommend spending between 1-3 days on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, depending on how much time you have. On our first visit, we spent 2 nights and 3 days there and it was wonderful. On another past trip, we didn’t even plan on going but made a detour and saw everything in one day. If you want to see the Snaefellsnes Peninsula but don’t have multiple days to devote, you can still swing by, see what it has to offer, and plan to come back on a future trip!
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How To Get To The Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Getting to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is actually quite easy and pretty straightforward. If you simply put the destination you want to visit in your GPS, you should be taken right there. No matter where you are coming from, you are going to be taking a detour from Highway 1 which is the Ring Road.
If you happen to be coming from the Westfjords, you will take a dirt road to connect the Westfjords to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You can drive with a 2×2 on this dirt road and it isn’t too difficult, just make sure you go a bit slow in case there are potholes you come over.
Alternatively, you can take a ferry from the Westfjords to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula but it takes around the same amount of time and costs around $45 per person and $45 for your car.
When heading to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula from Reykjavik, take Highway 1 [The Ring Road] to the west. Your GPS may give you multiple route options, but the option that takes you through a tunnel under the water will be the fastest and best way to get there.
There is an alternative longer way which you may want to take if you want to visit areas along that drive. Shortly after the tunnel, you will pass a town called Borgarnes. After the town, you will come across Highway 54 to your left. Once you are on Highway 54, you are on the road that circumnavigates Snaefellsnes Peninsula! Yes….it really is that easy! Alternatively, there are a variety of Snæfellsnes Peninsula tours you can take from Reykjavik as well!
If you are heading to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula from North Iceland, simply head on the Ring Road/Highway 1 south toward Reykjavik from the north. Like our instructions above, you will turn on road 54 when coming from the north as well.
If you hit the town of Borgarnes, you have gone too far and need to turn back around. Road 54 will set you up for heading around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula either in a circular route or driving through one of a few dirt mountains passes to cut the drive shorter in the event you want to get to the other side more quickly.
Getting Around The Snaefellsnes Peninsula
The best way to get around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is to rent a car and drive yourself. If you don’t plan on driving, the other alternative is to book a tour. There aren’t any reliable public transportation options for tourists visiting the Snaefellsnes Peninsula so you will have to consider one of the alternatives. Hitchhiking is popular around Iceland but, of course, is hit or miss. If you are up for an adventure, that is one option to consider as well.
Road 54 is the main road circumnavigating the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This road is also known as Snaefellsnesvegur. There are two mountain passes on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula that will get you from the south side to the north side if you don’t want to make a full loop.
These mountain passes are dirt and you should proceed with extreme caution if you drive during the winter. We have driven across the Snaefellsnes Peninsula during the winter in the snow with a 2×2 car and you must drive slowly and make sure that you listen to all road closures.
If you don’t want to drive the mountain passes, you will head off of Road 54 to a road called Utnesvegur which takes you around the very tip of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
This road also circumnavigates the Snaefellsnes Peninsula’s only glacier as well as provides access to multiple activities and things to do. If you want to quickly get from one side to the other, choose a mountain pass. If you have time to explore or are driving in winter when the mountain passes may be closes, this road will be your only option.
10 Epic Things To Do On The Snaefellsnes Peninsula
There are so many incredible things to do on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and you are in for a real treat! Depending on what time you arrive and leave, you can hit many of these places in one day if you move quickly and don’t spend hours and hours at each one.
Alternatively, it is a great idea to spend at least one night so you can spend more time enjoying what it has to offer. Either way, spending any amount of time here will leave you speechless!
See Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes Peninsula Most Famous Mountain
You have probably seen photos of Kirkjufell in travel magazines or on Instagram. It is Iceland’s most famous mountain and one of the most photographed sites in the country. It is also the most popular thing to do on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Kirkjufell is located on the north side of the Peninsula near the town of Grundarfjordur. It is easy to navigate if you simply put the name in your GPS. It is free to visit Kirkjufell and the nearby Kirkjufellafoss [waterfall of Kirkjufell].
This mountain can be visited in both the winter and the summer and is an iconic spot for photographs when visiting Iceland and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Since it is so iconic, it can get quite busy with other tourists so if you want the place to yourself, go early in the morning or after sunset.
We aren’t too bothered by other tourists at Kirkjufell so any time of day is fine to visit. Kirkjufell is a wonderful place to visit on Snaefellsnes Peninsula and should top your stops on any Iceland itinerary.
Find Arnarstapi’s Hidden Land Bridge
It literally took us 2 full days and almost getting caught in the dark to find Arnarstapi’s famous hidden land bridge. This spot is quite under the radar and you can visit without seeing another tourist or traveler the entire time. The town of Arnarstapi is located on the southern coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and a cute and small fishing village.
When you arrive in Arnarstapi, drive all the way to the end of the road where there is a small marina. Park your car and walk up over the hill toward the water away from the houses.
If you continue to walk along the top of the cliffs for a few minutes, you will come to a sign that says “Midgja” which is the official name of the land bridge. As long as you get to the Arnarstapi Cliff Walk and walk around 5 minutes away from the Port of Arnarstapi, you should be on track to coming across the bridge. It’s a “sunken” bridge so it is more difficult to find than a regular arch so keep your eyes out!
See Exact Google Maps Location Here and these are the exact GPS coordinates 64.7686242,-23.6202019
Enjoy A Stroll On The Arnarstapi To Hellnar Cliff Walk
While you are in Arnarstapi, we highly recommend taking a small hike to Hellnar along the cliffs. Hellnar is a neighboring town only a few kilometers away.
You can drive to Hellnar if you want to take a quick look and don’t have time to spend hiking, but the best part is the enjoyable cliff walk from Arnarstapi to Hellnar. From the Port Of Arnarstapi to Hellnar, the cliff walk is 1.5 miles [2.5km] one way or 3 miles round trip.
This walk makes our list of best easy hikes in Iceland because it takes you along the coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula over stunning cliffs and through rocky lava fields. The walk is easy with slight up and down as you go over cliffs and down through lava fields, but not difficult at all.
If you are looking to get a little active during your time on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, this is one of the best things you can do! The path will also take you right by the stone bridge/Arnarstapi Arch so keep your eyes out!
When you park your car, head to the coastal cliffs and lookout for signs that mark the walk. The easiest way to start is either at the Port of Hellnar or the Port of Arnarstapi.
Visit Budir Black Church
Budir Black Church is one of Iceland’s most photogenic churches! It is completely black with white trim and is one of the few black churches in Iceland [there is another in the Westfjords] and the only black church on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Budir Church is often rented out for wedding ceremonies and is a popular site for people getting their wedding photographs done.
It is a unique spot for photos and is located on the southern coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You can walk around the church, peek inside its windows, walk through the fields surrounding the church, and walk all the way down to the rugged coast.
If you plan to take pictures at Budir Church, always be respectful of others. No tourist owns the church so take your photos and get out of the way [we pray others respect you in the same way!] Also, there is a real graveyard by the church so please be respectful of the dead and avoid walking on any graves.
See Google Maps Location For Budir Church as well as the GPS coordinates 64.8547652,-23.8108739
Explore Londrangar Basalt Cliffs On Snaefellsnes Peninsula’s Rugged Coast
Londrangar Basalt Cliffs are a fascinating stop on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula that really showcases the dramatic and rugged landscape Iceland has to offer. When we visited Londrangar Basalt Cliffs, it was so windy we nearly blew away! Photographers who had their tripods set up couldn’t even take photos without their tripods falling over! The wind was powerful and the scenery incredible!
Londrangar Basalt Cliffs make a great quick stop when visiting Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The stacks were formed from a volcano and make for a great focal point for photography. If you aren’t a professional photographer and just want to see the cliffs, this location is easy to get to and shouldn’t be missed.
See Google Maps Location For Londrangar Basalt Cliffs as well as the GPS coordinates 64.7325293,-23.7867982
Marvel at the Snaefellsjökull Glacier
The Snaefellsjökull Glacier sits atop an active volcano and looks over the entire peninsula like a dedicated watchman. The glacier can best be seen from Snaefellsjökull National Park or from inland roads on the peninsula. Fun fact: the glacier was actually the setting for the popular Jules Vern novel “Journey To The Center Of The Earth.”
Snaefellsjökull Glacier is also the only glacier on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula so if you are visiting Iceland and you have yet to see a glacier, now is the perfect opportunity to check one out! Since Snaefellsjökull Glacier is one of the smaller glaciers in Iceland, it is quite unique to view and worth the stop if you are driving around the tip of the Peninsula through Snaefellsjökull National Park.
Go Underground In The Vatnshellir Lava Cave
The entrance to the Vatnshellir Lava Cave is actually the perfect place to also view Snaefellsjökull Glacier so you get to see two sights at once if you want to explore the lava caves. The Vatnshellir Lava Cave is also located in Snaefellsjökull National Park and is over 8000 years old! If you are into nature and history, this tube is a wonderful experience, especially for families with kids!
During the summer, guided tours are offered between 10 am to 6 pm and during the winter there are two tours per day offered. You cannot visit the Vatnshellir Lava Cave without a guide and without proper safety gear so if this is something you are looking to do on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, make sure to check out times for tours so you can be prepared ahead of time!
See Google Maps Location For Vatnshellir Lava Cave as well as GPS coordinates 64.7478033,-23.8202637
See The Picturesque Svörtuloft Lighthouse
Svörtuloft Lighthouse is eye-catchingly beautiful because the orange color of the lighthouse contrasts nicely with the rest of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula landscape.
The lighthouse is located on the northwest tip of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and is perfect for photography or a quick informational stop as there are interpretive panels on the base of the lighthouse that discuss its history.
Svörtuloft Lighthouse is pretty easy to find and all you have to do is follow the main road 574 to the very western edge of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula then take a turn onto road 579. When that road ends, head south to Svörtuloft Lighthouse where you will come to a small parking lot.
From there, simply walk across a wooden boardwalk to visit the location. Svörtuloft Lighthouse sits atop jet-black basalt cliffs which make the scene even more beautiful and impressive!
See Google Maps Location For Svörtuloft Lighthouse as well as GPS coordinates 64.863439,-24.0383732
Try To Find The Hidden Landbrotalaug Hot Springs
Landbrotalaug Hot Springs is one of the few hot springs on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and it is basically a hole in the ground with geothermal water in the middle of nowhere!
To find it, you either have to follow local directions or something you found on the web or put in the location coordinates, which we will provide for you below! The Landbrotalaug hot pot is located on an abandoned farm which makes it even more unique and alluring!
When visiting Landbrotalaug Hot Springs, make sure to be respectful of the environment and property and take your trash with you when you leave. Many hot springs on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and around Iceland are closing down because of disrespectful tourists.
We are providing the name and location to this one and we expect that you will keep it clean and be respectful when visiting. If we find out that tourists are treating Landbrotalaug badly, we will be forced to take this suggestion down so as not to ruin the pool for locals on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
The GPS coordinates to get to this secret hot spring in Iceland are as follows N64°49.933 W22°19.110. Also, check out this blog post written by another traveler to Iceland which lays out how to get to Landbrotalaug Hot Pot in great detail and includes lots of photographic tips.
Explore The Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge
The Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge is a lesser-known thing to do on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. If you want to visit this Gorge, you are in luck as it is quite near other places of interest. If you visit Budir Black Church and are heading to Arnarstapi, Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge will be on your right as you head to Arnarstapi. If you are doing the reverse, it will be on your left.
The distinctive-looking gorge is easy to spot from the road, but only accessible during the warmer months. When it is snowing during the winter in Iceland, Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge isn’t accessible and it isn’t advised to try and visit it.
See Google Maps Location For Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge and the GPS coordinates 64.7982715,-23.6403834 View this post on Instagram
Recommended Snaefellsnes Peninsula Tours
So you want to visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula but you aren’t planning on driving in Iceland? That is okay! There are plenty of tours that go there! Most tours to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula start and end in Reykjavik so if you are based out of the capital city, you will have no problem going!
From Reykjavik: Snaefellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour
This is one of the best-selling Snaefellsnes Peninsula tours out there and we highly recommend it. It is a full-day tour so you get to see the best of what the Snaefellsnes Peninsula has to offer without driving yourself and worrying about where to go. This tour lasts for 11 hours and you have an English guide. Book Snaefellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour.
Snaefellsnes & Cave exploration Full-Day Trip
Want to explore the lava caves suggested above as well as visit the rest of what the Snaefellsnes Peninsula has to offer? This tour is the perfect way to go underground into the lava cave while having time to explore the rest of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This tour lasts for 10 hours and begins and ends in Reykjavik. Book Snaefellsnes & Cave exploration Full-Day Trip.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula Small-Group Scenic Tour
If you are looking to visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula but don’t want to be stuck on a tour with a hundred other people, why not consider booking a small group tour? This way, the tour is more personalized and you have more private time to yourself at each location. It also includes Icelandic food tasting, free wifi, Icelandic music, and an English-speaking guide. Book the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Small-Group Scenic Tour.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula Map
If you are a more visual person, that is okay! We created this Snaefellsnes Peninsula map just for you! It shows all the best things to do on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula all in place including GPS coordinates. We suggest that you simply save this link or screenshot this map so you can refer back to it when you are visiting!