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Are you planning on making the journey from Akureyri to Snæfellsnes? Learn more about the route and the Icelandic wonders you can explore along the way.
A journey to Iceland is incomplete without taking a road trip that will allow you to soak up as many of the wonderful sights on the island as possible. Given the great places to stop along the way, the drive from Akureyri, a town in northern Iceland, to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west, is one of the most rewarding and certainly, one to consider if you are currently planning your visit.
View of rural Snaefellsnes from the road
How to Get from Akureyri to Snæfellsnes
Driving in Iceland is an experience in itself, and this 230-mile drive from Akureyri to Snæfellsnes, which typically takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes without making stops, is no exception. Of course, it’s much more worthwhile and enjoyable to plan extra time so that you can stop to enjoy the attractions and activities that you pass (or can make a small detour to visit). The majority of the drive will take place on the Ring Road until you get to Snæfellsnesvegur in Borgarnes, where you’ll need to take route 54 to the peninsula.
View from the inside of a car on a road trip in Iceland
If public transport around the island is your preference, then you’ll be pleased to know that the journey between Akureyri and Snæfellsnes can be completed using the local bus service. For the first leg of your trip, you’ll need to take bus line 57, changing at Borgarnes for line 58 which will take you to Vegamót. You should account for around 7.5 hours to complete the route.
It is always important to remember that the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, and extreme conditions can impact the reliability and punctuality of public transport.
If you simply want to sit back and relax without the stress of planning and navigating the route between Akureyri and Snæfellsnes, a guided tour may be the best option for you. Not only will all the transport be arranged on your behalf, but you’ll also get to enjoy the best attractions in the area with an expert, friendly guide.
Best Stops from Akureyri to Snæfellsnes
Covering such a vast area of Iceland by road means that your choice of sights, activities and attractions along the way are plentiful. Here are some of our favorite things to see on this stunning route.
1. Lake Mývatn
The Mývatn region is a great place to explore before heading too far from Akureyri. Not only can you enjoy views of the expansive volcanic lake, but you can also take a dip in the Mývatn nature baths and visit Grjotagja cave. There is so much scenery to enjoy here that many visitors take at least a day to enjoy the area.
Pseudocraters at Lake Mývatn, near Akureyri
Visible from the striking black sand beach at Húnaflói Bay, Hvítserkur is a distinctive geological wonder often referred to as the Troll of Northwest Iceland. The basalt sea stack is 49 ft tall and has 2 unusual holes at the base, creating a silhouette that is often likened to a dragon drinking water from the ocean or an elephant. The rock provides a popular home for masses of birdlife including gulls and fulmars.
Hvítserkur sea stack on a clear day
Given its name from the fire giant of Norse mythology, Surtshellir is a well-known lava cave in the Hallmundarhraun lava field. Deep inside the cave, which is the longest lava cave in Iceland, there are remarkable ice formations and columns to be seen. This part is aptly called ‘the ice cave’.
4. Kolugljúfur Canyon
Just a short drive from the Ring Road, you’ll find the breathtaking Kolugljúfur Canyon and Kolufossar waterfalls. You’ll need to take a short walk from the parking lot to view the canyon, which can be crossed by a footbridge. The rugged canyon which is complete with unusual potholes is lesser known, and therefore can often be enjoyed without crowds of tourists.