Although some might consider Snæfellsnes peninsula nothing but a detour on the traditional Ring-road road trip, it is well worth exploring. The region is a favorite amongst many Icelanders due to its magical and diverse landscape.
This itinerary is designed for those who choose to drive themselves and camp instead of staying at hotels. There are plenty of options for accommodation in the area so it's absolutely possible to do the same road trip without having to camp.
1. Eldborg crater and Snorrastaðir camping site
3. Grundarfjörður and Kirkjufell mountain
The camping site is called Snorrastaðir and it’s located 2.5 kilometers away from the crater. There is not much to see in the area aside from Eldborg crater, but it is well worth it to hike to the crater and back. After spending the night at the Eldborg area, you head north towards the town of Stykkishólmur.
A lighthouse in Stykkishólmur. Flickr/Karaian
Stykkishólmur is the largest town in Snæfellsnes peninsula. The town has been an important hub for the whole Breiðafjörður Fjord area for decades and is rich in culture and history.
There is a fabulous outdoor swimming pool in Stykkishólmur which was renovated in 1999. The water in the hot tubs is rich in minerals and has a healing effect on various skin conditions. If you are feeling too active to relax in the hot tubs, there is a big water slide and a 25 meters long swimming pool.
There are some other interesting things to do in Stykkishólmur. The church is a must see as its architecture is very unique. If you like art, there is an interesting installation in Stykkishólmur by the American artist Roni Horn. The installation is called Library of Water and it is a collection of glass pillars containing Icelandic water from various sources.
Grundarfjörður is a great destination for whale watching, and nowhere in Iceland are chances higher that you might spot orcas or porpoises. If you want to book in advance, check this tour out.
Pro tip: Before you leave the town of Stykkishólmur, to go to the camping site at Grundarfjörður you should go to the supermarket in Stykkishólmur. The only Bónus store in Snæfellsnes peninsula is in Stykkishólmur so it might be a good idea to stock up on food and other necessities while you are there.
The most photographed mountain in Iceland – Kirkjufell. Flickr/Glenn Harper
You will end your second day of the trip in Grundarfjörður. Take a moment to glance at Grundarfjörður’s most famous landmark: Kirkjufell mountain. It is often called the most beautiful mountain in Iceland, but more than that, it has a place on almost every list over the most beautiful mountains in the whole world.
Camp at the Grundarfjörður camping site and continue your trip towards the glacier next morning.
A naturally formed arch at Arnarstapi. Flickr/Meaknoide
Driving west from Grundarfjörður, you’ll pass the towns of Ólafsvík and Rif before entering the Snæfellsjökull National Park. The drive through the park offers some spectacular views of the glacier and there are a few places where you can stop and look around. I recommend stopping at Svörtuloft and walk to the Svörtuloft lighthouse.
Coming around the glacier and turning onto the south coast of the peninsula, I recommend you make a short stop at Vatnshellir (Cave of Water). Vatnshellir is a lava cave only recently opened up to visitors, around 200 meters long. It is lit up only by the flashlight you’ll be supplied at the entrance, and if you turn it off you will be immersed in absolute darkness.
Lóndrangar. Flickr/Marco Verch
Only a few minutes from Vatnshellir you can park your car and make a short hike along the coast to find Lóndrangar, a pair of basalt rock pinnacles. They are only around 230 ft (70 m) high, but tower above everything else in sight, except of course for the glacier itself.
Make your way to the small fishing town of Arnarstapi, where you can camp for the night. Arnarstapi itself has some great sights; its pier is surrounded by majestic columnar basalt formations, grottoes and ravines.
If you have some energy left you can drive up to Sönghellir (Cave of Songs), found a short drive north of Arnarstapi. Sönghellir takes its name from its clear and beautiful echo.
Snæfellsjökull glacier. Flickr/Christoph Strässler
Assuming you are travelling in the summertime, a hike up Snæfellsjökull glacier would be an epic way to end your road trip around Snæfellsnes. If you are not much of a hiker you can do something a little less demanding, for example walking up Saxhóll crater.
It is possible to go by yourself on the hike but it requires the proper gear, such as an ice axe, climbing belt and crampons. There are many dangerous rifts and crevasses on the way so we recommend that you go on a guided tour instead of going alone, unless you are an experienced climber.
The glacier is 4737 ft. (1444 m) tall and the total duration of the hike is 7–8 hours. It is also possible to ski down the mountain.
If you have time, you should definitely stop by at Búðir, on the south shore of the peninsula. Go and visit the church and take a walk at the beach. There is also a hotel and a restaurant at Búðir in case you are feeling hungry after a long day.