Best Hikes in the Snæfellsnes National Park
Want to experience Iceland's raw natural beauty up close? Explore Snaefellsnes National Park on foot with our guide to the best hikes in the area.
From lava caves to black beaches, Snaefellsjokull National Park has so much to offer. Find the top things to do while you are exploring this incredible peninsula.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula has so much to offer its visitors: Waterfalls, mountains, caves, lava fields and much more. This headland, north of the capital, could satisfy every visitor to Iceland which is why we have many day and multi-day tours heading there. From black beaches to wildlife, compiling a top 10 isn't easy, but we have assembled the ultimate list of things to do in Snæfellsjökull National Park so you don’t miss a thing!
To start, let's explore the tallest natural attraction in this area: Snæfellsjökull Glacier. This impressive glacier, visible from miles away and even from the capital city on a clear day, attracts visitors worldwide. Standing at 1,446 meters tall, this glacier-capped volcano is famous for its beauty and for inspiring numerous literary works. Snæfellsjökull is said to possess mystical powers and is believed to be one of the world's energy centers.
If you're looking to visit the icy summit, a tour is recommended. A snowcat tour is a great way to reach the top of Snæfellsjökull glacier and explore its enchanting landscapes.
The most famous landmark in the national park has to be Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss (the waterfall). It is said to be one of the most photographed places in Iceland and there is no doubt you've already seen pictures of this national wonder before. This natural stop is a must-see on your trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
From the car park, you can walk towards Kirkjufellsfoss, the waterfall overlooking the mountain. During your 20-minute walk, you'll notice how each face of the mountain is unique, courtesy of the fascinating geology of Iceland.
If you want to head underground and explore how Iceland was formed, then Vatnshellir Cave is the perfect thing to do. Vatnshellir is an 8000-year-old lava cave and makes for an exhilarating adventure into the earth. Here, you will see the formations and colors created by lava 35 meters down. To visit the cave, you must go with a certified guide which can be organized in advance with a multi-day cave tour.
The unique wildlife is another reason why many people come to Iceland and the Snæfellsjökull National Park. Ytri Tunga is a beach that is known for seals. Sunbathing here, you can find seals laying on stones and the golden-sand beach. The rocks, protruding from the water, are a favorite for harbor and grey seals. Although, as with any wildlife, there is no guarantee you will see them.
Did you know that the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of the best places to see whales and dolphins? These waters are home to many whales that migrate to the waters of Iceland in search of food. Because of the peninsula's northern location, the waters are abundant in krill and herring which makes it an ideal location to take a whale watching tour. These fjords also host Orcas during the winter months and are one of the best places to see them in their natural habitat. Discover more about Iceland's orcas.
Arnarstapi cliffs are a stunning natural sight with towering basalt rock formations that rise from the sea. These cliffs offer an incredible hike to Hellnar, which follows the coastline and shows off the natural lava formations. If you don’t have the time to hike, it is still worth exploring Arnarstapi. It was once a thriving fishing village and is now home to cultural landmarks such as the statue of Bardur Snaefellsnes, a half-man, half-troll protector of the peninsula. The cliffs have historical significance.
Djúpalónssandur Beach is a gem on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula that offers a unique experience. Visitors can enjoy the dramatic scenery of jagged rock formations and crystal-clear waters. The beach was once a bustling fishing village and still holds remnants of its past, including the rusted remains of a shipwrecked vessel.
While exploring, you may come across the fascinating rock formations called "lifting stones,". These were traditionally used by fishermen to test their strength. Now, you can attempt to lift the stones, which range from 23 kg to 154 kg, and compare your strength to the fishermen who used them in the past. Explore tours which stop at Djupalonssandur Beach with our experienced guides.
Iceland's volcanic activity is a major attraction for visitors and scientists from all over the world. The country's unique geology creates thousands of natural wonders, including the Berserkjahraun lava field. A lava field is an area of land covered by cooled lava from a volcanic eruption.
Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the Berserkjahraun lava field is a remarkable sight that stretches over 4,000 acres. With its impressive lava formations and unusual rock shapes, it is highly recommended by photographers and wildlife enthusiasts as a must-see destination in the Snæfellsjökull National Park. To visit, join a day tour from Reykjavik that includes the lava fields.
If you are looking for one of Snaefellnes National Park's best-kept secrets, you've found it.
Svöðufoss waterfall is breathtaking. Water from the river plunges 30 meters down into a narrow gorge. The water flows over basalt columns, creating a stunning natural formation. With the backdrop of Snæfellsjökull glacier, this incredible waterfall is only recently becoming popular with visitors.
If you're looking to add a little history to your trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the Malarrif lighthouse is a must-see. Located on the west coast of the peninsula, the lighthouse has stood tall since 1917, serving as a beacon for sailors navigating the rugged coastline. A visitor center is available if you want to learn more about the lighthouse's history. From here, the nearby Londrangar rocks offer fantastic views.
One way to make the most of your time in Snæfellsjökull National Park is to book a tour. Try combining the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the North of Iceland on our multiday tour.