Mt. Kirkjufell is a 463-meter high mountain on the Snæfellsnesnes peninsula in the Western part of Iceland. It stands tall above the fishing village of Grundarfjörður where the population is about 900. Kirkjufell has been listed as one of the top 10 most beautiful mountains in the world and when encountering you will realize why. It’s posture and narrow top makes it look completely unique and mesmerizing. The mountain itself actually creates a small peninsula which frames in the village and makes the view from the town epic.
Kirkjufell is without a doubt the most photographed mountain in Iceland both by professionals and amateurs. It’s isolated location and the way it seems to rise from the ocean makes this landmark an exquisite photo opp and the trails around it are very easily accessible. It’s the walk to the top that is a challenge and only for the extremely brave-hearted!
Fun Facts about Kirkjufell mountain
- Fossils of birds and even fish can be found at the mountaintop!
- Danish travelers used to call the mountain Sukkertoppen e. Sugar top.
- The mountain is often referred to as the most beautiful mountain in Iceland.
When driving from Grundarfjörður toward Kirkjufell mountain you will soon spot the intensely beautiful waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss. Actually, the waterfalls are three, all running in the same river but for some reason, all share the same name. They form in the river Kirkjufellsá so you can see that almost everything has to do with the local’s favorite mountain. In the summertime when the weather gets warmed local children and brave adults cool off by jumping into the waterfall. Something that when visiting in winter is definitely not advised!
The waterfall is very easy to get to, there is a small parking lot and a path you can walk to get closer. We recommend this stop.
What does the name Kirkjufell mean?
Kirkja means church in Icelandic but like with most Icelandic words we tend to change them depending on how they are being used at each time. The word kirkja goes like this:
Here is Kirkja
So Kirkja’s mountain became Kirkjufell.
Kirkjufell and the Northern Lights
Kirkjufell is one of the most photogenic places in Iceland, there is no doubt about it and now imagine adding to the equation some dancing Northern Lights and your jaw will drop to Australia. Kirkjufell bathing in the Northern Lights isn’t an uncommon thing to witness if you stay in the area over some cloudless winter nights and when visiting restaurant in Grundarfjörður you will see photos of the phenomenon hanging on the walls all over the town. The location of Kirkjufell is also further North than for example Reykjavík and surrounding areas which up’s your chances of some Aurora Borealis action. If you are staying in Grundarfjörður you will not have to travel far to witness Northern lights above Kirkjufell as the mountain stands tall above the whole town and you can see it at almost any angle if the lights are out. Well worth a few nights in Grundarfjörður or a winter tours to Snæfellsnes.
Filming at Kirkjufell, Hollywood Films, and TV Shows
Kirkjufell mountain was one of the filming locations for the season 6 and 7 of the popular series Game of Thrones where it was featured as the “arrowhead mountain” that the Hound and the company North of the Wall saw when capturing a wight.
Grundarfjörður the town that Kirkjufell rises above is also on the screen in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which stars many places on the Snæfellsnes and the Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon in the South.
What not to do at Kirkjufell?
Hiking or climbing to Kirkjufell’s top without a guide is not advised as the narrow trails can be difficult to spot even in summer and it’s narrowness makes it very important that every step is the right one. Going off track has proven to be lethal.
Interesting places near Kirkjufell
- Grundarfjörður village
- Lýsuhóls swimming pool
- Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum
- Stykkishólmur village
- Ólafsvík village
- Snæfellsjökull glacier
Snæfellsjökull glacier is a 700.000-year-old stratovolcano on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Snæfellsjökull rises high from the ocean a staggering 1446 meters and can be seen all the way from Reykavík on cloudless days even though located 115 km away. In the midnight sun Snæfellsjökull is known to bath in the mesmerizing pinkish colors, a view you will never forget.
The glacier is a landmark you can’t miss while exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula, particularly since it stands so tall but also because no one should, Arctic Adventures offers hiking tours to the summit in summer but locals have in recent years started to explore it on both using snowmobiles and skis.
The Snæfellsjökull glacier was for long the most famous sites in Iceland as it was introduced in the Jules Verne’s book Journey to the Center of the Earth (1964) as the entrance to the center of the earth. The glacier has also been chosen as the most scenic destination in Europe so there is a great reason to plan a visit!