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Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the long peninsula on the west coast of Iceland. The prominent volcano Snæfellsjökull Glacier is out on the tip of the peninsula. Jules Verne used Snæfellsjökull in his novel Journey to The Centre of The Earth as the gateway into the earth. 


There are various signs of volcanic activity out on the peninsula including craters and vast lava fields as well as some black sand beaches and rock formations creating an extraterrestrial ambient recalling stories of trolls and monsters roaming the wilderness. Out on the peninsula there are a few fishing villages here and there, the largest town being Borgarnes to the south and Stykkishólmur to the north. On the south coast you can find among other things the Black Church at Búðir and the so called golden beach close to Ytri Tunga where seals can often be spotted. On the northern side of the peninsula lies the beautiful bay Breiðafjörður, said to be the source of all things romantic in Iceland. Next to the small town of Grundarfjörður is the cone shaped Mount Kirkjufell which has become an increasingly popular photo stop combined with a pretty little waterfall next to the parking lot. A day tour of the peninsula should be really well planned out since it is not only quite a drive but also has so many interesting places to visit, it has in fact been said that The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is Iceland in miniature.


Starting with Borgarfjörður where Borgarnes is situated and the road splits into the Ring Road going north and the road out to Snæfellsnes. In Borgarfjörður there are few good stops including the great Deildartunguhver hot spring and the beautiful waterfalls at Hraunfossar which flow from underneath a lava field, plus there is Húsafell which is a departure point for the tours up to Langjökull and the glacier tunnel as well as the lava tube Víðgelmir. To the west lies the bulk of the peninsula and Snæfellsjökull National Park which covers an extensive area leading out to the settlements of Hellnar and Arnarstapi and further out to Djúpalónssandur and Lóndrangar. Rounding the tip of the peninsula on a clear day can offer some stunning views of Snaefellsjökull volcano rising up 1446 meters. The bay of Breiðafjörður has hundreds of small islands scattered over a large area and these are home to numerous bird species including fullmars, seagulls, eagles and puffins which use the islands as safe nesting grounds. During summer it is well worth considering some of the boat tours offered in the area specially Viking Sushi sailing out from Stykkishólmur offering a fresh catch dripping from the sea of scallops, mussels and sea-urchin roes served sushi style with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.


Most of the small towns out here have their own geothermal swimming pools and it might be a good a idea after checking out lava fields, fishing stations of the past and the setting for the start of Journey to the center of the earth, to soak in those healing waters for a while contemplating life, the universe and everything enjoying a pint of local brew.