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Snaefellsnes Peninsula One Day Trip Itinerary

Find the Best of Western Iceland

|September 7, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

For those trying to have the best time at Snaefellsnes Peninsula and conquer the limit of time, check out some of its jewels worth visiting.

What can you do in just one day of traveling? In Iceland, a lot! If you narrowed down your choices and stopped at Snaefellsnes Peninsula, here are some ideas of what you can do in the area in 24 hours. The place that’s often called “Miniature Iceland” is ready for you with its breathtaking nature, beautiful towns and villages, unseen beaches, dramatic cliffs, and so much more.

How to get to Snaefellsnes Peninsula

If you’re planning your day trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula from the capital, it will take 2 to 2.5 hours by car to reach the destination. Just take the well-known Route 1 (also known as Ring Road) and finish your journey on the peninsula Road 54. 

Does Snæfellsnes Peninsula stand first on your “to-do” list? In case you wonder how to reach it straight from the Keflavík International Airport on your stopover in Iceland. Prepare for approximately a 3-hour ride through Route 41 until you get to the Ring Road. Once you reach the town of Borgarnes, Route 54 will take you to Snæfellsnes Peninsula. 

Akureyri is the second-largest city in Iceland, and you can reach the area in around 4.5 hours by car. Most of your trip will consist of going on Ring Road and later switching to Route 54. If you’d prefer to be a passenger for the journey, take a look at our Snæfellsnes Peninsula tours.

Kirkjufell waterfall in Iceland

How much time do you need in Snaefellsnes Peninsula?

The rule here is simple – the more time you have, the more you get to explore. But having in mind how limited in time we all usually are, it’s possible to see the best of Snæfellsnes Peninsula in one day. Perhaps this one day will encourage you to come back and spend more time here.

What to see in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

It might seem that one day is a short period, but we can guarantee that a lot can be seen during this day. Whether it's a day spent sightseeing Snaefellsnes' most famous attractions or an afternoon here chasing the Northern Lights, continue reading to find the most exciting places to visit in Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Snaefellsjokull National Park

Picturesque fishing village of Arnarstapi during the summertime

Opened in 2001, Snaefellsjokull National Park is located in the west part of Iceland. The park's size is around 170 km2, and it's open all year long. One of the main attractions here is Snæfellsjökull, a snow-capped volcano.

Ytri Tunga Beach

Seals resting on rocks at Ytri Tunga Beach, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Ytri Tunga Beach is one of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula gems known for its golden sand. While you might wonder what's so special about this fact, remember that many Icelandic beaches are filled with black sand. If you're a nature and animal lover, you'll also love Ytri Tunga as it's a "hotspot" for seals, such as Harbour seals, Grey seals, and on occasion, Hooded and Ringed seals.

Skardsvik Beach

Rainbow shining over the Skardsvik Beach in Iceland

Another beautiful beach in Iceland with its blue water and golden sand. While Skardsvik mesmerizes with its beauty, be aware of its strong and unpredictable waves. It's strongly advised not to go too close to the shore or bathe in the water because of its dangerous currents. But you're more than welcome to admire the landscape from a safe distance or choose one of the hiking trails that start from the beach.

Svortuloft Lighthouse

Öndverðarnes lighthouse in the Snaefellsness Peninsula in Iceland

On a 4-kilometer-long black cliff, you'll be met by the bright orange lighthouse that was built in 1913 and is more than 12 meters in height. It's a great place to admire Iceland's breathtaking scenery with giant lava cliffs, blue water, and green moss. It's also a bird-watching spot where you can see European Shag, Common and Brünnich's Guillemot, Razorbill, and Kittiwake.


Djúpalónssandur Beach in Iceland

As you can guess, your Snaefellsnes itinerary will include a lot of beaches, one of them being Djúpalónssandur. What makes it so special? This black sand beach is known for its spectacular rock formations. Take a walk on the shore, admire nature's "sculptures," and play a guessing game of what they remind you of.

Bjarnarfoss waterfall

Landscape of the Bjarnarfoss Waterfall in Iceland

The two-tier waterfall drops 80 meters down to river Hvítá. What makes the whole view even more spectacular is the waterfall’s structure. The water drops down the basalt cliffs that were formed by floating lava many years ago. There’s a legend about why the waterfall is called Bjarnarfoss – back in the day, farmer Bjarni threw all his money into the waterfall, so now people are welcome to come here and look for it.

Gerðuberg Cliffs

Gerduberg basalt columns during the fall

The Snaefellsnes day trip itinerary also includes its geological wonders, such as Gerðuberg Cliffs. An impressive wall of basalt columns is between 7 and 14 meters in height and from one to one and a half meters in width. What surprises many visitors is how symmetrical these stacks are. This nature’s architecture could be explained by looking back at when lava flowed down and was quickly cooled off by the sea, forming these columns.

Kirkjufell Mountain

Man taking a photo of sunrise at Kirkjufell Mountain

Things to do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula include visiting “Church Mountain.” 463 meters in height, it’s known as one of the most “photogenic” mountains in Iceland. The mountain is located in the North of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Those who are fans of the TV series “Games of Thrones” might recognize this place from the show. What makes the scenery around Kirkjufell even more spectacular is the nearby Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, dropping from a glacier river.


Church of Ingjaldshólskirkja in Iceland

The fishing village is situated in the northwesternmost part of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It’s one of the oldest towns in Iceland, with a fascinating fishing history that you can learn in Hellissandur’s Maritime Museum. Hellissandur is also worth visiting by those who enjoy art as it’s often referred to as the “Street Art Capital Of Iceland”. The art here is not only in galleries but also in building walls.


Beautiful panoramic view of the Stykkisholmskirkja Harbor

Why should the town of Stykkisholmur be on your Snaefellsnes one day itinerary? It’s the largest town in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, whose surroundings you can see in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The town is focused on keeping up its tourism service as well as preserving the environment and its heritage. Because of this mission, you can see a lot of old but preserved buildings and learn something new in the town’s museum – The Library of Water. If you're interested to know what other hidden gems this town has, check out things to do in Stykkisholmur.

Londrangar Cliffs

Londrangar cliffs at dramatic and colorful sunset, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula itinerary also includes two interestingly-looking rock formations that are now the remains of a crater. The first cliff is 75 meters, and the second one is 61 meters in height. Also known as “The Rocky Castle”, these cliffs can be reached through Arnarstapi village within just a 10-minute drive. It’s believed that Londrangar and its surrounding area actually belong to elves. For this reason, farmers never used these lands.


Panoramic view of impressive Icelandic seascape

Snaefellsnes Peninsula in one day means you'll also get to visit its southern side, where the village of Arnarstapi is. Once, it was a strong trading center, but now it's known as a fishing village that's visited every summer by tourists who want to experience the small village life. Another name used for Arnarstapi is Stapi. According to the legend, the village was guarded by Bárður, half-giant and half-man, who lived here.


Summer view of Gatklettur Arch in Arnarstapi village

Gatklettur, or the Arc of Hellnar, is a stone arch that's situated between Arnarstapi and Hellnar villages. This attraction is among one of the most photographed spots in Iceland. Gatklettur got its distinct shape over thousands of years when the strong waves started causing the erosion of the rocks. Because of this, the basalt arch isn't here forever. This natural attraction may break down in the future.

Saxholl Crater

Aerial view of the Saxholl Crater in Iceland

One of the most well-known craters of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is the Saxholl Crater. The 45-meter high crater formed after a volcanic eruption, and now its top can be reached by following the steps of a walking path. Once at the top, you're met with an incredible view of the surrounding area. Saxholl consists of two craters, the second one being below Saxholl.

Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge

Bottom view of the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, Iceland

A beautiful gorge located in Snæfellsjökull glacier. This hidden Icelandic gem fascinates visitors with its tragic story, also known as Bárðar Saga. According to the tale, Bárðar lost his daughter when two boys pushed her from the iceberg. The dad then got his revenge by throwing them from the gorge. Find out the full story by visiting Rauðfeldsgjá and cross out one of the must-see places in Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Vatnshellir Cave

Vatnshellir Cave in Iceland

Situated in Snæfellsjökull National Park, this lava tube was formed around 8000 years ago. 

It's a popular destination for those who want to try guided caving tours during summer. Known as one of the oldest caves in Iceland, Vatnshellir was "born" after an eruption, being 200 meters long and 35 meters deep.

Búðakirkja Black Church

The black church of Budir in Iceland

On the South of Snaefellsnes is a little black church called Búðakirkja. This wooden building was first built in 1703, but the one that you see now was constructed in 1848. In 1987, it was reconstructed, but some of the things, such as its bell, remained from the old days. A fascinating matter about this place is its appearance and the fact that Búðakirkja is still in use to this day. 

The diverse Snaefellsnes is ready for you, but if you're still at a loss, check out things to do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula to ensure you have an unforgettable experience and don't miss out on anything. If you are looking to combine a day on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with a few more in the North of Iceland, then check out our 5-day tour.

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