Arnarstapi, often nicknamed Stapi, is a small town at the southern edge of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It’s located in between Breiðavík and Hellnar. Learn more about Arnarstapi to start planning a visit to this charming Icelandic village!
Arnarstapi is often displayed in photos from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, commonly framed with a small white house along under a spiky black mountain. Another famed shot is of the basalt stone arch of Gatklettur which stands strong in the beating ocean waves.
Today the small village becomes quite busy in the summertime with tourists coming to experience an authentic small fishing village vibe, as it is so conveniently located only about 2 hours away from the capital. Foodies show up for the fresh fish dishes and photographers for incredible photo opportunities.
There is a popular hiking path between Arnarstapi and Hellnar, about an hour long hike along an old trail across a lava field, Hellnahraun, and next to the beach with awesome views.
The area still serves private fishing companies and recreational vessels and has maintenance docks for boats and ships which has recently been renovated. For other villages on the Snæfellsnes peninsula are also very active fishing and trade common over Iceland
The names of places and things around Arnarstapi and the nearby village of Hellnar are very inspired by the legend of the half-human half-ogre Bárður who is believed to have lived in the area.
The area has a fantastic natural harbor, one of the few places like this in Iceland, so Arnarstapi was ideal for a shipping port and from this convenience the small fishing village grew. It became an active fishing port and a center for commercial services for West Iceland.
This business was ran under the Danish Crown, which had controlled the merchant monopoly since 1565. From that time and through the 18th-century commissioners of the Danish Crown ruled over the harbor and had sole commercial rights over the nearby land.
This Danish influence is very evident in the architecture and building of the area, the most noticeable being the Amtmannshús, a two-story-high black and white timber house.
Arnarstapi is located on the mid-southern Snaefellsnes peninsula about 193 km (119,9 mi) from Reykjavik, 117 km (72.7 mi) from Borgarnes and 428 km (265.9 mi) from Akureyri.
GPS coordinates of Arnarstapi: 64.7691° N, 23.6259° W
Arnarstapi is easy to reach, as well as finding it and there are plenty of other interesting sight and attractions to visit on the way.
Driving from Reykjavik to Arnarstapi should take about 2 hours and 30 minutes if driven without stopping. The drive first, take you along the Ring Road one into Borgarfjordur and later the town of Borgarnes.
There you will take a left turn, West, at the roundabout onto the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Follow the road nr. 54 along the southern part of the peninsula past Búðir and Lýsuhólslaug swimming pool before reaching Arnarstapi.
Read our detailed article about where to eat on the Snaefellsnes peninsula!
Guesthouses, B&Bs, Farmstays and Apartments
Cabins and Cottages
The campsite at Arnarstapi is more commonly known as the Snjofell campsite. It has quite a large field and excellent views stretching over the coast and ocean. The facilities are standard.
Other campsites nearby include the campsite at Lýsuhólslaug and á Eyrunum, Tradir.
Arnarstapi is relatively quiet in winter, in summer the place is buzzing with birds and people but winter is a bit more relaxed. When the snow settles in the hills and over the grounds the place turns peaceful, still and beautiful in a whole different way than it is in summer.
Still, the restaurants and hotels are open and the place is definitely worth having on your Snaefellsnes bucket list any season!
Note: the camping grounds are closed in winter!