The recent explosive rise in tourism in Iceland is nothing short of amazing. In fact, the Icelandic government is struggling to control the burgeoning tourism industry as more and more curious tourists make their way to the lone nation island to find out what the hype is all about. While Iceland has a lot of charming popular locations scattered around the island, especially the south coast, a lot of visitors are still oblivious to an enchanted region that is hidden in plain sight, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Located just north of the capital city Reykjavik, the peninsula offers an abundance of natural geographic landscapes that are unique to Iceland and thus, it is often dubbed as ‘Iceland in Miniature’ by locals and travellers alike. From volcanoes and glaciers to black beaches and lava caves, the peninsula has the most varied attractions compared to any other regions in the country. Because of its convenient location, many travel companies in Iceland offer assorted tour packages for the peninsula, though they have varying attractions listed.
While you can find multiple black beach spots in Iceland, Snæfellsnes’ very own Djúpalónssandur black pebble beach is truly distinctive as it is decorated with unique rock formations from the lava field near the beach. As with other black beaches found in Iceland, it is also one of the well-known locations in Icelandic sagas and folklore for trolls and the Huldufólks, Iceland’s version of elves. It is believed that the rock formations belong to the bodies of trolls that were turned into stones when exposed to sunlight.
When visiting the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the breathtaking Snæfellsjökull will most likely be in the backdrop throughout the journey, looming over the peninsula as if it commands control over it. Indeed, the glacier-capped stratovolcano, located in the similarly-named Snæfellsjökull National Park, serves as the main attraction of the whole peninsula. It is primarily known for being the site where the protagonists discovered an entrance to a passage leading to the center of the Earth in “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, an epic 1864 novel written by acclaimed novelist Jules Verne.
Another unmissable landmark that can be found on this peninsula is located near a small town called Grundarfjörður. Known as ‘the church mountain’, Kirkjufell also holds the title of the most photographed mountain in Iceland and was featured in the blockbuster TV series, HBO’s Game of Thrones. Its oddly-shaped peak jutting out would certainly turn heads and the nearby waterfalls accommodate the scenery faultlessly for that perfect Instagram shot.
With so many beautiful sites and landmarks dotted across the peninsula, it is no wonder that a lot of Icelanders regard Snæfellsnes as the only part of their country that practically has everything the country can offer. This, along with the fact that it is just a 2-hour drive from the capital, proves that the peninsula is the perfect spot for travellers who are short on time when visiting the lovely country.