Exploring Snafellsnes Peninsula In Iceland


Nicknamed 'Iceland in Miniature', Snafellsnes peninsula is one of my favourite areas in the whole of Iceland. Jutting out 90 km into the Atlantic Ocean, this peninsula receives a battering from the elements, and as a result, the landscape is wild and varied. Recently, Snafellsnes peninsula featured in the Hollywood movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller. So if you're heading to Iceland, I really recommend watching the film beforehand to get you all excited before your trip.
The scenery is incredible and you get to experience it all in just a couple of hours from Reykjavik. This is great if you're pushed for time and looking to see more beyond Reykjavik and the Golden Circle - the two most popular stops for those visiting Iceland for just a few days.
Before I dive into what this area has to offer, I've got a few comments on logistics. If you are super strapped for time you could visit Snafellsnes peninsula in a day but I would really recommend spending a night in order to fit everything in and enjoy this less visited area of Iceland. If you're not able to hire a car, then a day-trip from Reykjavik with a knowledgeable guide is available from several activity companies.
Kirkjufell
Perhaps the most photographed attraction of Snafellsnes is Kirkjufell, the symmetrical mountain also known as The Lonely Mountain. It rises 463m above the shoreline and nearby is the beautiful waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss. This striking mountain and waterfall combination means it's a highly coveted spot for photographers and instagammers trying to capture Iceland's unique landscape.
If you wish, it's possible to climb the mountain but this is recommended only for experienced hikers since the incline is very steep and exposed. Alternatively, there are some nice walking routes in the area that offer gorgeous views and varied birdlife.
Stykkisholmur
Stykkisholmur is the largest town on Snafellsnes peninsula. The funny thing is, with approximately 1100 people it's not even a large town - it's small - but this gives you an idea of how remote this peninsula can feel and also to live on. The town is picturesque but a few large box-shaped buildings give it an industrial feel as well. But all in all, the brightly coloured buildings from the late 19th century that have been built around a natural harbour add a lot of charm.
This fishing town is located on a promontory overlooking Breidarfjordur, a really beautiful bay and is best seen from the bright orange lighthouse which is a short hike from where the Ferry Baldur loading area is located. Afterwards, I suggest getting a bite to eat in one of the cafés or visit the volcano museum located in the centre of town.
From Stykkisholmur, you can also get a ferry over to Flatey, a unique and remote island that is part of a cluster of 40 or so smaller islands. The island is almost completely devoid of hills, hence the name Flatey meaning 'flat island'. Furthermore, the nature of Flatey is kept in pristine condition because no cars are allowed. It's small so you can walk around the whole island and enjoy the wild birdlife which is in abundance there, mostly migratory birds like puffins, arctic terns and more depending on the time of year.