Located just a couple of hours drive from Reykjavík, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula gives you the chance to see most of Iceland’s unique natural features in a relatively small area. Measuring about 100 km in length, in this peninsula you can see volcanic peaks, natural hot pools, glaciers, sea cliffs, lava fields, fjords, black sand beaches, and more…
It’s really no wonder why it’s such a popular destination for a day trip from Reykjavík. For our road trip in Iceland, we decided to go in the clockwise direction starting from Reykjavík. So this was one of the few detours we took from the Ring Road and it was a great introduction to the treasures we’d see in Iceland. There are plenty of things to do in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula; and these are some of the highlights we found during our trip.
Cute Anonymous Church
As we were driving to Ytri Tunga Beach, we spotted this cute church literally in the middle of nowhere. Since I was on a mission to photograph all the quirky Icelandic churches in our way, we took a small detour to see this one. And I think it was worth it! I just love those dramatic early morning clouds. For the exact location, you can check the map at the end of this post.
Ytri Tunga Beach
When we got to Ytri Tunga Beach, it was still early in the morning and there were not many people yet. We spotted a few seals on the rocks off the beach and went for a short walk to take in the serene scenery. As we returned to our car, a huge tour bus was pulling in to the parking lot; so we realised that this place can indeed get quite busy.
This tiny black church was one of my favorite finds. Sitting on an idyllic spot near the coast with the mountains as backdrop, Budakirkja has a dreamy air. The church was first built in 1703, but the current building is a reconstruction that is only about 30 years old. However, the church still has some features of the original construction.
Cutting deep into Mt. Botnsfjall, the Rauðfeldsgjá gorge is a huge crack on the side of a majestic mountain. You can see it from the road and it’s worth to stop and have a look. After a short walk to the entrance, you need to step on the stones in the stream to get inside, where the walls are covered with bright green moss and the creek continues further in.
Londrangar Basalt Cliffs
For some rugged coastal views, stop to admire the Londrangar cliffs. This place is also a popular nesting place for several bird species. If you have time, you can also go for a walk to get closer to this peculiar rock formations. Plus, the sunsets are just magical here!
On our way to the Svörtuloft lighthouse, we stopped at Skarðsvík Beach to have some lunch. It was a bit windy, but the beach was beautiful, with its golden sand and dark volcanic rocks.
This bright orange lighthouse is located 8 km southwest of Hellissandur. It is a bumpy ride to the Svörtuloft lighthouse, so we were glad to have a 4×4. The area is full of contrasts, with the blue ocean in the background and the black cliffs covered in moss and yellow lichen. The views were stunning.
One of the most iconic spots in Iceland, seeing Kirkjufellsfoss was one of our main reasons to making the Snaefellsnes Peninsula detour during our Ring Road tour in Iceland. And as soon as you get there, you can see why. The view of the waterfall with Kirkjufell mountain in the background is just splendid. The only thing though, is that it was quite crowded and getting a photo without people was nearly impossible at that time.
In just one day, we managed to cover some of the main things to do in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It was a day packed with gorgeous sights and we were even lucky to get some sunshine as well. This tour of the peninsula was also a great introduction to the raw beauty that Iceland has to offer.