things to do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula + MAP

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Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a land of waterfalls, glaciers, beaches, cliffs, volcanoes, lava fields, and charming villages. As you can imagine, there is a lot to see here, so I’ve created this guide for things to do in Snæfellsnes. With these tips, you can plan the ideal trip to this beautiful part of western Iceland.

It’s possible to see the main points of interest on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in one day. Even so, I recommend spending at least one night here if you’re traveling between September and March because it’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Besides, the peninsula is just a 2-hour drive from Iceland’s capital, so it’s easy to rent a car to visit it or to take a tour from Reykjavík.

We take a Snæfellsnes day trip during our annual photography tours in Iceland. We love this part of the country, and we’re quite familiar with it, so we’ll share all our recommendations in this guide.

Are you ready to explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula?

Snæfellsnes Peninsula map

Before I talk about the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, I want to make it easier to help you plan your itinerary. Here is a map of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to help you quickly locate the main tourist attractions.


 

Best things to do in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

After reviewing the map of Snæfellsnes attractions, you might think there are too many places to see in a single day. However, keep in mind that most of the Snæfellsnes activities that I recommend are very close to each other. Most of them are in and around Snæfellsjökull National Park, so you shouldn’t have any trouble seeing your favorite attractions.

So, let’s dive into the best things to do in Snæfellsnes!

1. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss, the best place to visit in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufell is Iceland’s most photographed mountain and is one of the best things to see on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Part of the mountain’s appeal is its appearance in the Game of Thrones TV series. Even if you haven’t seen the show, you’ll be amazed by Kirkjufell’s beauty.

Kirkjufell, Snæfellsnes Peninsula

1. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss, the best place to visit in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Also known as “Church Mountain,” Kirkjufell is nearly 1,520 feet tall and sits along the shoreline. It’s not the highest mountain in Iceland, but it’s easy to recognize thanks to its conical shape.

This area is very popular, especially around sunset, as the mountain is a gorgeous backdrop for the sparkling Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. If you want to get a great view, I recommend planning your Snæfellsnes day trip, so you arrive at least an hour before sunset.

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are, without a doubt, two must-see places in Snæfellsnes, as well as two great areas to see the Northern Lights.

2. Arnarstapi and Hellnar, two popular fishing villages to visit in Snæfellsnes

Arnarstapi is a fishing village near the Snæfellsjökull National Park, right at the foot of the Snæfellsjökull glacier. Many Snæfellsnes day trips from Reykjavík stop by this small town, so it’s worth a look.

Arnarstapi and Hellnar, Snæfellsnes places to visit

2. Arnarstapi and Hellnar, two popular fishing villages to visit in Snæfellsnes

The most impressive thing about Arnarstapi is its cliffside landscape, which attracts many sea birds. To get a good view of them, I recommend taking the coastal route from Arnarstapi to Hellnar, another lovely fishing village. It’s a pleasant journey, and you can take your time admiring the scenery.

During your time here, you can see huge lava walls and incredible rock formations, like the famous Gatklettur Arch. One of the most unique things to do in Snæfellsnes is to take a picture with the statue of Bárður Snæfellsás, Protector of the Peninsula.

3. Djúpalónssandur, the popular black sand beach on Snæfellsnes

Djúpalónssandur is a black sand beach in Snæfellsnes that you should visit. While it’s not as popular as Reynisfjara beach, it’s a unique sight, and you won’t have to deal with as many visitors.

When you get to this beach, you’ll notice that the sand is made of small black stones. These are known as Djúpalón pearls, hence the name Djúpalónssandur beach. The pearls are a precious commodity and are even used for jewelry.

Djúpalónssandur, Snaefellsnes black sand beach

3. Djúpalónssandur, the popular black sand beach on Snæfellsnes

Another thing to be aware of is that this beach is a bit deceiving. The waters along this strip of Snæfellsnes, Iceland may look calm, but there are strong currents below the surface. Combined with the sharp rocks under the water, this makes the sea quite dangerous, so swimming is prohibited. Even so, the surrounding landscape is spectacular, so it’s still a worthy visit.

As you look around, you’ll see large rock formations, each with a distinct appearance and shape, and most covered in moss. The area is also home to the shipwrecked remains of the Epine GY-7, an old fishing boat that crashed over 70 years ago, which adds to the slightly eerie scene.

Djúpalónssandur is full of hidden treasures, and it’s one of the more uncommon places, so I recommend adding it to your Snæfellsnes road trip itinerary.

4. Visit the Vatnshellir Cave, the best thing to do in Snæfellsnes

Visiting the Vatnshellir lava cave is one of the most interesting things to do on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, and something you won’t soon forget. This cave is about 8,000 years old and is the setting in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.

The cave is in the Snæfellsjökull National Park, about a 10-minute drive from Hellnar. You can book this cave tour, which takes you about 115 feet underground.

Vatnshellir Cave, Snaefellsnes cave tour

4. Visit the Vatnshellir Cave, the best thing to do in Snæfellsnes

Vatnshellir opened to the public about a decade ago, and the immense lava tube extends over 650 feet. The Snaefellsnes cave tours include a helmet and headlamp since there is very little visibility in the cave. This way, you can see the stalagmites and pretty colors on the walls.

Doing this Snæfellsnes Peninsula and cave exploration tour is a fun family activity, too. It’s suitable for kids over five years old and will be a memorable experience to share.

5. Snaefellsjokull National Park, one of the best hikes on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

As you can see on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula map, the Snæfellsjökull National Park is Iceland’s only national park that extends to the coast. It’s also the best place for hiking on the peninsula, as there are about 30 different routes of varying length and difficulty.

Snaefellsjokull National Park, Snæfellsnes national park

5. Snaefellsjokull National Park, one of the best hikes on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Within the park, you’ll find some of the most important sites to see in Snæfellsnes, such as the Djúpalónssandur black sand beach and the Vatnshellir lava cave. You can also visit the glacier covered Snæfellsjökull volcano, a fun place to go hiking on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

This tour is one of the best Snæfellsnes hikes if you want to climb to the top of the Snæfellsjökull glacier. The hike takes about 5-6 hours, after which you’ll be 4,745 feet above sea level. The views from here are magnificent and span the entire peninsula.

6. Búðakirkja, the famous black church of Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

ðakirkja is Iceland’s famous black church in Snæfellsnes, a must-see for any traveler. Not only is it an uncommon attraction, but it’s also an Icelandic national monument.

Búðakirkja, Snaefellsnes church

6. Búðakirkja, the famous black church of Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

What makes this such an interesting sight is the contrast of the black building against the moss-covered lava fields of Snæfellsnes. During the winter, the church’s white door complements the snowy landscape, creating a scene that’s perfect enough for a postcard.

If you’re wondering what to do in Snæfellsnes near the church, you should know that this area has incredible sunrises and sunsets. If you stay at one of the nearby hotels during Northern Lights season, you might luck out and see the aurora borealis over the church.

7. Seal watching at Ytri Tunga, one of the best activities to do in Snæfellsnes

The southern beach of Ytri Tunga is one of the best places to see seals in Snæfellsnes. This area is one of the best places in Iceland to see wild seals, along with Vatnsnes in north Iceland and Jökulsárlón lagoon in the south.

Ytri Tunga, Snaefellsnes seal beach

7. Seal watching at Ytri Tunga, one of the best activities to do in Snæfellsnes

If you want to see the seals, you’ll have to visit between May and July. When the tide is low, you’ll see the critters resting on the sand, and it’s truly a Snæfellsnes highlight. Of course, these are wild animals, so be sure to respect their turf and stay about 50-60 yards away.

While there is nothing better about a day trip to Snæfellsnes Peninsula than seal watching, Ytri Tunga is worth a visit year-round. The beach itself is quite beautiful, and you’ll have stunning views of the Snæfellsjökull glacier.

8. Gerðuberg, a spectacular place to visit in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Gerðuberg is a cliff that was formed by a row of basaltic rock columns, and it’s one of the most impressive places on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It’s a cool place for hikers, but even if you don’t want to go on a hiking excursion, you should see this large geological formation because it’s quite impressive.

Gerðuber, Snaefellsnes things to do

8. Gerðuberg, a spectacular place to visit in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The cliff is a little over half a mile long, and the columns range from 23 to 46 feet tall. These hexagonal structures look as if they’ve been carved by hand because their geometric forms seem so perfect. However, they’re a natural phenomenon and I think they’re one of the coolest things to see in Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

In reality, the columns formed when rivers of lava cooled after coming into contact with the sea. Today, you can witness these peculiar shapes up close, as well as the delicate wildflowers surrounding Gerðuberg. If you aren’t sure what to do in Snæfellsnes, this unique and picturesque scene won’t disappoint!

9. Svörtuloft and Öndverdarnes, two popular lighthouses on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Iceland has many colorful lighthouses, but Svörtuloft and Öndverdarnes are two Snæfellsnes lighthouses that stand out thanks to their vibrant orange color. Best of all, they’re only a 10-minute drive from each other, in the northwestern corner of the Snæfellsjökull National Park.

Svörtuloft, Snaefellsnes lighthouse

9. Svörtuloft and Öndverdarnes, two popular lighthouses on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Svörtuloft is about 20 feet tall, while Öndverdarnes is about half the size. Both overlook an incredible cliff area, making them quite a sight in Snæfellsnes. Their boxy shapes may seem a bit strange to some travelers, but that’s another thing that makes them unique.

While Svörtuloft and Öndverdarnes are in the same general area, they’re quite secluded from other attractions on Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Still, they’re well worth seeing, especially since they’re surrounded by lava fields on one side and the sea on the other, so you get to experience two landscapes at once.

10. Stykkishólmur, one of the most beautiful towns to go in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful towns to see in Snæfellsnes, Iceland is Stykkishólmur. Interestingly, the village is on a peninsula that extends from the north of Snæfellsnes. It’s a traditional seafaring town that I think you’ll find quite charming.

What stands out the most about this town is the Stykkishólmskirkja Church, which has a rather peculiar shape, especially its bell tower. Another cool attraction is the Norwegian House, a black 19th-century building that’s like a time machine to the past. Inside, various old objects are displayed, creating a small exhibit.

Stykkishólmur, guide to Iceland Snaefellsnes, Iceland

10. Stykkishólmur, one of the most beautiful towns to go in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

During our Snæfellsnes excursion from Reykjavík, we visited this town and took an enjoyable kayak tour. Not only did we see some beautiful coastal landscapes, but we also reached the island of Landey, the site of the Thorgeir shipwreck.

Another interesting place to visit in the area is Súgandisey, an island made entirely of basaltic rock. Nearby is the small mountain of Helgafell, which is a sacred monument to the Viking god Thor. Legend says that if you can climb the mountain silently without looking back, you can make three wishes at the top. Why not give it a try on your Snæfellsnes route?

11. Berserkjahraun lava field, something to visit in Northern Snæfellsnes

According to scientists, the Berserkjahraun lava field is around 4,000 years old, so it’s a popular stop on many Snæfellsnes Peninsula tours. The most likely explanation for it is that four craters – Rauðkúla, Kothraunskúla, Smáhraunskúla and Grákúla, erupted one after the other with little time in-between.

Berserkjahraun, Snæfellsnes Iceland

11. Berserkjahraun lava field, something to visit in Northern Snæfellsnes

To get the best views of the lava field, there are several viewpoints on Routes 56 and 54. Besides, if you’re driving a 4wd car, you can travel the gravel route with stunning views that crosses Berserkjahraun. For those wondering if this area in Snæfellsnes is worth it, my answer is a resounding yes!

Please be aware that stepping onto an unmarked area of a lava field can be quite dangerous. There are many hidden lava caves in Snaefellsnes that can collapse under your feet!

12. Whale watching from Olafsvík, the best thing to experience on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Olafsvík is a lovely seaside town north of Snæfellsnes and less than 30 minutes from the Snæfellsjökull National Park. It’s also one of the best places for whale watching in Iceland.

There are lots of Snæfellsnes whale watching tours, but I recommend this excursion because it goes into the bay of Breiðafjörður. You’re very likely to see whales in these waters, and in the winter, it’s not uncommon to see orcas there.

Whale watching Snæfellsnes Peninsula

12. Whale watching from Olafsvík, the best thing to experience on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

In fact, winter travelers will have double the fun because they can see orcas and the Northern Lights, another must-see on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it in the winter, because you can see minke whales, porpoises, white-nosed dolphins, and humpback whales throughout the year. From the end of May to the beginning of August, the puffin colonies are active, so that’s something unique to see in Snæfellsnes in the summer.

Moreover, while you’re in Olafsvík, I suggest checking out the Gamla Pakkhúsið Museum, an old trading house from 1844. Here, you can look at or buy local Icelandic handicrafts and wool products.

13. Hellissandur, a beautiful town to visit in Iceland

In the northwestern part of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you’ll find the village of Hellissandur. This town once relied heavily on the fishing industry, but today it thrives on tourism. It’s right next to the northern entrance of the Snaefellsjökull National Park, so it’s easy to get to.

Hellissandur, what to see Snaefellsnes Peninsula

13. Hellissandur, a beautiful town to visit in Iceland

The coolest thing about Hellissandur, and one of the first things you’ll notice, is the Ingjaldshóll Church. The stark red and white building is over 100 years old and stands out among the town’s natural, hilly landscape. The juxtaposition creates a gorgeous photo opportunity, and the church is a common attraction on many Snæfellsnes Peninsula day tours.

You can always visit Hellissandur and the church on your own, too. While you’re there, I recommend visiting the Maritime Museum, where you can see old maritime artifacts, including an 1826 rowboat. You’ll also see authentic Icelandic homes with grass-covered roofs, known as Turf Houses or Torfbæir.

14. Skardsvík, one of the most beautiful beaches in Snæfellsnes

Skardsvík is a pristine beach and a must-see in Snæfellsnes. The entire area is a treat for your eyes, thanks to the deep blue waters, golden sand, and black lava surroundings. Many consider Skardsvík to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Iceland, thanks to the colorful display of contrasts.

Skardsvík, Snaefellsnes attractions

14. Skardsvík, one of the most beautiful beaches in Snæfellsnes

Of course, like most Icelandic beaches, Skardsvík can be dangerous, especially on windy days when the waves get choppy. If you’re going to brave the waters, do it only during low tide.

Even if you choose to stay on dry land, this beach is well worth the visit, and its striking beauty makes it a staple on many Snæfellsnes Peninsula tours. Besides, it’s in the northwestern corner of Snaefellsjökull National Park, so it’s not out of the way at all.

15. Hike in Raudfeldsgjá, one of the best things to do in Snæfellsnes

Rauðfeldsgjá is a natural Icelandic wonder and makes for one of the best hikes in Snæfellsnes. This ravine has some interesting geological formations and mossy cliffs that pictures can’t fully capture. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t plan to hike the area.

Raudfeldsgjá, best hikes Snaefellsnes Peninsula

15. Hike in Raudfeldsgjá, one of the best things to do in Snæfellsnes

That said, Rauðfeldsgjá offers some of the best trails for hiking on the peninsula. The paths lead to black canyons covered in moss and larger than life gorges. You don’t have to go far to see these incredible sights, and I only advise hiking the area in the summer, as the winter conditions can be dangerous.

Most Snæfellsnes day tours of Rauðfeldsgjá end at the river, but you can go a bit further if you have the right footwear. It’ll be slippery and hard to navigate, but it’s an exciting hiking excursion for veteran hikers.

16. Bjarnarfoss, a famous waterfall to see on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

I mentioned the Búðakirkja Church earlier, and if you go to visit it, you’ll be close to the beautiful Snæfellsnes waterfall of Bjarnarfoss, one of the best waterfalls in Iceland. It was one of my favorite places to see on the peninsula because, like the one at Svartifoss, this waterfall has stunning basalt rock formations.

Bjarnarfoss is over 260 feet tall, and if you look carefully, you’ll see that it’s a two-tiered waterfall. The upper tier has eroded a lot, so the water doesn’t even appear to touch the rocks anymore.

Bjarnarfoss, Snaefellsnes waterfall

16. Bjarnarfoss, a famous waterfall to see on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Another cool thing about this waterfall is that it splits into two separate flowing streams of water towards the bottom. This draws your eye to the basaltic rock behind the falls and creates one of the most impressive sights in Snæfellsnes, Iceland.

You can see Bjarnarfoss from Route 54, as it’s visible from the road. However, I think it’s a Snæfellsnes highlight that you should see up close, and the best way to do that is by walking the path leading to the falls. Besides, there is a parking lot near the waterfall.

17. Eldborg Crater, a natural wonder to visit in Snæfellsnes, Iceland

Eldborg crater is one of those natural works of art that you have to see to believe. This oval-shaped crater in Snæfellsnes is over 650 feet long and nearly 165 feet deep. Experts say its last eruption was between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, but it’s still an amazing thing to see on the peninsula.

Eldborg, Snaefellsnes volcano crater

17. Eldborg Crater, a natural wonder to visit in Snæfellsnes, Iceland

The Eldborg crater may be a natural wonder, but it also resembles a military fortress or castle. It’s one of the most unique Snæfellsnes sights that I don’t think you should miss.

To visit Eldborg, drive towards Snorrastadir Farm, where you’ll see a parking lot. From here, you’ll have to walk about two miles to the crater, but it’s an enjoyable walk. Along the way, you’ll pass through lava fields and see Eldborg in the distance. It’s one of the best things to do on the peninsula, especially if you love getting out in nature.

18. Saxhóll Crater, another extinct volcanic crater in Snæfellsnes

Saxhóll is another extinct volcanic crater in Snæfellsnes, Iceland, and it’s much more accessible than Eldborg. Saxhóll is just 5.5 miles from Hellissandur, and it overlooks some of the most incredible landscapes on the peninsula.

Saxhóll, Snæfellsnes what to see

18. Saxhóll Crater, an extinct volcanic crater in Snæfellsnes

This is a unique volcanic crater in Snæfellsnes because it’s actually two craters in one. The first one is the most popular since it’s easier to get to, and it’s more impressive. At nearly 330 feet tall, the crater provides panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Snæfellsnes lava fields.

To get to the Saxhóll crater, follow Útnesvegur Road to the western end of the peninsula. From there, you’ll be able to see the crater from the road, although I encourage you to walk up to it!

19. Londrangar Cliffs, the nicest views on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The Londrangar cliffs are huge basaltic formations made of volcanic rock. The cliffs extend over the sea and, due to erosion, have taken on peculiar shapes over the years. This place is unlike any other I’ve seen in Snæfellsnes, Iceland, so I recommend checking it out.

If you look at the Snæfellsnes attractions map, you’ll see that Londrangar is close to Snæfellsjökull National Park and the Vatnshellir cave, so it won’t be hard to find. Plus, the crystalline blue waters against the black basalt cliffs paints quite the picture.

Londrangar Cliffs, things to do in Snaefellsnes Iceland

19. Londrangar Cliffs, the nicest views on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Once you’re there, take a look around, and you’ll see the surrounding lava fields and the Thufubjarg cliffs below. Legend says that this area belongs to the magical elves of Iceland, and I must admit, the place does seem like a fairytale setting.

Another legend claims that the Icelandic poet Kolbeinn Joklaskald had an encounter with the Devil under this cliff. Regardless of these tall tales, there is no denying the otherworldly appearance of these sea stacks, and they’re a must-see in Snæfellsnes.

20. Lýsuhólslaug, the best hot springs in Snæfellsnes

Although it’s not one of the most popular hot springs in Iceland, the Lýsuhólslaug thermal bath is the perfect way to end your day in Snæfellsnes.

These geothermal baths include one pool and two hot tubs. Like other Snæfellsnes hot springs, Lýsuhólslaug’s waters contain green algae, calcium, and magnesium, which are said to be healing for the skin. The water temperature ranges from 98.6°F to 102.2°F.

Lýsuhólslaug, hot springs Snaefellsnes

20. Lýsuhólslaug, the best hot springs in Snæfellsnes

Also, these hot springs have clean changing rooms and facilities, and you can even rent a swimsuit if you forget yours. The baths close during bad weather, so I recommend checking ahead here, where you can also see the current admission prices.

We’ve only been to Lýsuhólslaug once, but it was one of the Snæfellsnes highlights I won’t forget. I know it may seem strange to bathe in green water, but don’t worry because it’s regularly filtered and replaced.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula tours from Reykjavík

If you don’t feel like driving in Iceland, or you don’t want to rent a car to see all these Snæfellsnes attractions, don’t worry. You can book a Snæfellsnes Peninsula day tour from Reykjavík, and I’ll share the best options below.

1. Best Snæfellsnes tour from Reykjavík

If you only have one day to take a Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour, I recommend this excursion from Reykjavík.

You’ll depart in the morning and travel by bus to some of the most iconic places on the peninsula, including Grundarfjordur, Arnarstapi, and Hellnar. You’ll also see some of the best Snæfellsnes attractions, such as Kirkjufell mountain, Ljósufjöll, Djúpalónssandur black sand beach, and the Snæfellsjökull glacier.

This is the most complete Snæfellsnes day trip itinerary from Reykjavík available, and the price is great.

  • Highlights: Kirkjufell, Ljósufjöll, Grundarfjordur, Arnarstapi, Hellnar, and Djúpalónssandur Black Beach
  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Price: $135

 

2. Small group Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour from Reykjavík

If you want to enjoy a small-group Snæfellsnes tour from Reykjavíkthis excursion is the best choice.

You will leave Reykjavík first thing in the morning to visit the fishing village of Arnarstapi. From there, you’ll visit several Snæfellsnes Peninsula attractions such as the Londrangar cliffs and Djúpalónssandur black sand beach. Next, you’ll go to the Saxhóll volcano, followed by Kirkjufell mountain and the stunning Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.

If you’re not sure what to do on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this small-group tour will take you to the top places, all in an intimate setting.

  • Highlights: Arnarstapi, Londrangar, Djúpalónssandur black beach, Saxhóll, Kirkjufell, and Kirkjufellsfoss
  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Price: $117.50

 

3. Snæfellsnes 2-day tour from Reykjavík

If you have more time to spend in Snæfellsnes, Iceland, I highly recommend this two-day excursion from Reykjavík. Not only will you see all the highlights, but you’ll visit other attractions that the previous tours overlook.

The first day includes the Snæfellsnes Peninsula must-sees, such as Arnarstapi, Djupalonssandur, and Hellnar. You’ll also have the choice to go to the Vatnshellir cave or hike through Snæfellsnes National Park. In the evening, you’ll pass through Kirkjufell mountain and enjoy the sunset before heading to the hotel.

Day 2 includes a visit to the Deildartunguhver Thermal Area, the Reykholt Historic Site, and the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. For the price, I think this tour to Snæfellsnes from Reykjavík is a deal, as you’ll see just about everything on the peninsula.

  • Highlights: Arnarstapi, Vatnshellir cave, Snæfellsnes National Park, Djupalonssandur, Hellnar, Kirkjufell, Deildartunguhve hot spring, Reykholt, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, Borgarfjordur and Gerðuberg basalt columns
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Price: $385

 

Best hotels on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

If you decide to spend the night, below you will find the best places to stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

If you’re not sure where to stay in Snæfellsnes, my first recommendation is the Arnarstapi Hotel. It’s right in front of the Arnarstapi cliffs and within walking distance of the Gatklettur natural arch.

It’s also one of the best Northern Lights hotels in Iceland. Of course, you’ll have to travel at the right time of year and have good weather conditions during your stay. Still, this hotel is included in many Northern Lights excursions from Reykjavík to Snæfellsnes because of its prime location.

Best place to stay in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Arnarstapi Hotel, the best Northern Lights hotel on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

The Kirkjufell Guesthouse and Apartments is where we stayed on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The best thing about this accommodation is the amenities. It’s an apartment-style hotel, so you have a kitchen and access to a shared living room.

Also, some of the rooms have been updated and include views of Kirkjufell. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for families who are staying overnight in Snæfellsnes, Iceland.

Snaefellsnes where to stay

Kirkjufell Guesthouse and Apartments, a good hotel in Snæfellsnes

 

Við Hafið Guesthouse is on the Ólafsvík Coast, a popular destination on many Snæfellsnes itineraries. The Guesthouse offers simple lodging in a prime location. You can choose between a private bathroom or a shared bathroom, and guests have access to the accommodation’s small fitness center.

Best of all, the rooms face the sea or the mountains, so you’ll have great views no matter what. The hotel is close to Snaefellsjökull National Park, so it’s quite convenient. Overall, it’s the best place to stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula if you’re on a budget.

Best hotels Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Við Hafið Guesthouse, a modest accommodation on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

I thought the Kirkjufell Hotel was the best place we stayed on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. We had a room with views of Kirkjufell mountain, although other rooms face the sea or the fjord, and are also scenic.

Also, the rooms have all the amenities you need, and you can’t beat the location. Since it’s so close to Kirkjufell, this is one of the hotels where you can see the Northern Lights in Snæfellsnes.

Snaefellsnes accommodation

Kirkjufell Hotel by Snæfellsnes Peninsula West Iceland

 

The Kast Guesthouse is a quiet and cozy hotel that’s in the middle of nowhere on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. You’ll enjoy a restful night in this well-kept accommodation, which is surrounded by a pristine, natural landscape.

The Guesthouse also has a nice restaurant that’s worth eating at even if you aren’t staying overnight. However, what I liked best about this hotel is that it’s next to the Lýsuhólslaug hot springs, so if you’re only spending one day in Snæfellsnes, you can make the most of it.

Where to sleep in Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Kast Guesthouse, a quiet hotel to spend the night on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

The Hótel Fransiskus Stykkishólmi is in Stykkishólmur, and it’s one of the best places to stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, especially if you want to be well taken care of. Not only is the location great, but your stay includes a buffet breakfast.

This is one of those Snæfellsnes hotels that will have you living in the lap of luxury. It’s the ultimate accommodation if you don’t want to have to worry about anything.

Good hotels to stay in Snæfellsnes, Iceland

Hótel Fransiskus Stykkishólmi, a good overnight option on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

The Helgafell Hotel is another pleasant place to stay, and it’s very close to Stykkishólmur. It’s one of the best places to stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula if you want great views. Several of the hotel’s cabins are in front of the Helgafellsvatn Lake, which is quite romantic.

Moreover, the accommodations are clean, comfortable, and have all the proper amenities. You’ll also be surrounded by nature, so this is the perfect lodging option if you plan to take a day trip on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Hotels in Snæfellsnes

Helgafell Hotel, another accommodation in Snæfellsnes

 

The Rjúkandi Hotel is another good place to stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It may not be as centrally located as the others, but it’s a modern, clean accommodation with a restaurant. Here, you can dine on traditional Icelandic dishes made with local and organic ingredients.

This Snæfellsnes accommodation has all the amenities you need, so you’ll have a restful night’s sleep. I recommend the Rjúkandi Hotel if you’re going to arrive late or leave Snæfellsnes early since it’s on the outskirts of the peninsula.

Accommodation in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Rjúkandi Hotel, a great hotel on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

 


 

Snæfellsnes Peninsula driving tips

Before renting a car in Iceland, I recommend checking our guide to find out which type of car you’ll need to self-drive in Snæfellsnes or elsewhere in Iceland.

As you might notice from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula map, the different areas of this country contain a variety of landscapes. This can make it more difficult to drive, so I’m sharing some information below about how to choose a car and navigate this island.

Although the main Snæfellsnes attractions are accessible in conventional cars, several areas have unpaved roads that can be dangerous. If you want to access these more remote parts of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, I recommend renting a 4×4.

The best time to visit Snæfellsnes depends a lot on your interests. In the summer, you can see puffins and different species of whales. It’s also easier to do things in Snæfellsnes because the landscapes are more accessible.

That said, if you visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in winter, you can see orcas and unbelievable snowscapes. If it’s the Northern Lights you want to see, then you should travel between the end of August to the beginning of April.

During your Snæfellsnes road trip, you won’t have problems finding a gas station. To be on the safe side, I recommend checking the Snæfellsnes attractions map to see how far each place is from a gas station. You want to be sure that you’ll have enough gas between trips, especially if you take a detour or two.

Most of the restaurants in Snæfellsnes are in urban areas. As I mentioned above, some accommodations have restaurants, too. In general, I don’t think you’ll have any issues finding a grocery store or a place to eat on the peninsula.

If you want to plan a complete Snæfellsnes day trip itinerary with meals, I have some restaurant recommendations. My top three choices are Bjargarsteinn Mathús, Langaholt Guesthouse & Restaurant, and Viðvík.

Yes, it’s safe to drive on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in winter as long as you take proper precautions. If you’re going to self-drive in Snæfellsnes, rent a 4×4 and check the weather conditions before heading out. I recommend Vedur.is for weather updates and Road.is for current road conditions.

If you’d like to take a Snæfellsnes road trip, the shortest route is about 210 miles. Of course, if you don’t want to see all the Snæfellsnes attractions I mentioned, you’ll travel less. The total time depends on how long you stay at each attraction.

While touring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, be sure to respect the speed limit. Paved roads typically have a speed limit of 55 mph, while unpaved roads are reduced to 50 mph. If you visit Snæfellsnes attractions in the cities, be aware the speed limit is usually 30 mph.

Everyone should always wear their seat belt, not only in Snæfellsnes but throughout Iceland. Also, you should keep your lights on during the day as well as at night.


 

Snæfellsnes day trip itinerary

Planning a complete Snæfellsnes day trip itinerary is possible, although if you have time, I suggest spending the night here, especially if you’re traveling during Northern Lights season.

We always travel clockwise around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula map so we can end at Kirkjufell around sunset. Then, we plan our route so we can hit all the Snæfellsnes Peninsula must-sees during the day.

I suggest starting your journey at the Gerðuberg cliffs. If you’re traveling between May and July, you can stop at Ytri Tunga to see the seals. Then, continue along the coast until you reach Arnarstapi, taking a short pitstop to photograph the famous black Búdakirkja Church.

From Arnarstapi, you can drive to Hellnar and see the cliffs and the Gatklettur Arch. After some lunch, continue on Route 54, making a quick stop at the Lóndrangar Cliffs before taking the Vatnshellir cave tour. Just be sure to book in advance, as the last group leaves at 3:00 PM.

Snaefellsnes day trip itinerary

Snæfellsnes day trip itinerary

After that, I suggest heading to the Djúpalónssandur black sand beach, followed by the Snæfellsjökull volcano and glacier. From there, you can make your way to Kirkjufell. If you have time to spare before sunset, check out the Saxhóll crater, Skarðsvík beach, and the Svörtuloft and Öndverdarnes lighthouses.

Now, you have all the information you need to organize your trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula! If you have any questions, just leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help.

I know you’ll love Snæfellsnes, and I wish you a safe trip!

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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