Let's discover the Snaefellsnes peninsula in Winter with it mountains, craters, glacier, lava fields and waterfalls.
The region nicknamed the "Iceland in miniature" is splendid covered in a coat of snow.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with the best things to do, tips, and photos.
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Why visit the Snaefellsnes peninsula in Winter?
The Snaefellsnes peninsula is a wonderful region of Iceland - it has a little bit of everything that makes the island so special in just one place:
- Fjord mountains carved by glacier
- Waterfalls that partially freeze in Winter
- Giant lava formations where you may see a troll
- Volcanic craters you can climb
This is why people call the peninsula "the Iceland in miniature".
Below is a view from almost the end of the peninsula, from the top of a crater:
A glacier dominates the peninsula. It is often stuck in the clouds, but I was lucky to get great visibility. It is famous for being where the Journey to the Earth by Jules Verne starts.
This is the Snæfellsjökull national park in winter:
I think the region is as beautiful in Summer (see it in Summer) as it is in Winter. The magic is just a little different.
Below is a short video to show you what your visit could look like:
The peninsula offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Iceland!
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning Tips - Snaefellsnes Iceland
How to get to the Snaefellsnes peninsula
- Northwest of Reykjavik
- Road 1 to Borgarnes and then Road 54 to enter the peninsula
- The main villages are Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur
- Reykjavik to Grundarfjordur = 2h30 drive with good conditions
- If you don't want to drive, many tours are offered from Reykjavik. I recommend a small group tour to have more stops and more time to explore - Check out options
- You can find a practical map of the peninsula with my favorite stops in my Winter road trip guide to help you plan your itinerary:
Plan your perfect trip to Iceland in Winter!
- Plan at least 1 full day to explore the area
- But if you can spend one night in Grundarfjordur - it will allow you to see sunset, sunrise and maybe the northern lights at Kirkjufell!
- Regarding the road conditions, read the next section
- At all open attractions, the walking paths are cleared - but it can always get icy, so carry spikes (see options) that you can add on your shoes at any time
Where to stay in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
I have stayed at 2 hotels in Grundarfjordur:
- Hotel Framnes by the water with side views of the mountain - Check out photos and book
- The Old Post Office Guesthouse was a cheaper option with shared bathroom. It was comfortable, clean and very well located - Check out photos and book
- or Check out the accommodations in Grundarfjordur
Otherwise you can stay in Borgarnes for 2 nights and tour the peninsula over 1 day, doing a loop. Check out the accommodations in Borgarnes.
Snaefellsnes - Winter driving conditions
Before starting a drive in Iceland, always check the conditions on road.is. Roads may be closed due to snow and wind.
That being said the roads around the peninsula are normally cleared.
There are two major difficulties:
- This is a very windy area
- To head to the northern part of the peninsula, you turn from road 56 to road 54. This go through a "mountain pass" that may be covered in snow. Make sure to ask if you have any doubt. And read the latest conditions on the board.
Check out my article with my tips about driving in Iceland in Winter.
Otherwise it is an absolute pleasure to discover the beauty of the peninsula as you drive around.
It was difficult to pick just a few pictures to show you. I have so many great one (in my opinion...). But below is my selection to give you an idea:
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and offerings by local companies are adapted - compare cars and prices of quality local brands on GuidetoIceland.com
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
The famous Kirkjufell in Winter - best place to visit
The top thing to do in Snaefellsnes in Winter (as in Summer) is a visit to the mountain Kirkjufell and its 2 waterfalls.
There is something special about the 463m (1519ft) high mountain. It has a unique shape and its name means the church mountain.
What is even more special about the location is that you can walk opposite the mountain and find a series of 2 waterfalls. They make for a great foreground. The whole scene is splendid, especially in Winter: the falls freeze partially!
You can see more photos on my article about Kirkjufell in Winter.
Accessibility in Winter
- Carpark clearly marked and maintained next to the main road, West of Grundarfjordur
- No facilities
- The walking paths are maintained from the carpark and on both side of the waterfall
- Plan 30minute to 1h depending on your love of photography
The peninsula is a volcanic area. It is home to some of the best lava formations in Iceland. The cliffs are made of lava and erosion created plugs, arches, bridges and more...
Londrangar in Winter
For example, you can stop at Londrangar. This is a short walk to the viewpoint over the cliffs.
I already loved it in Summer when the lava is covered by the green of the moss.
But in Winter, the rock looks darker thanks to the contrast with the snow.
I love watching the waves crash on it and imagining the trolls and elves roaming the area 🙂
Arnarstapi in Winter
Arnarstapi is the other famous place to visit in Snaefellsnes.
It is a 1h or more coastal walk to enjoy fascinating shapes made of lava - the most famous is the Gatklettur Arch.
Plus when looking inland, you have beautiful views of the Arnarstapi mountain.
The walking path is cleared marked and maintained. It is easy to get around.
Other things to do in Snaefellsnes - Winter activities
The peninsula has many other areas on offer. You won't get bored.
Here are a few stops and activities I selected for you
You can opt for a short stop to see a typical Icelandic church (for its shape). However it is quite unique for its color.
It is a great contrast with the white mountains in the background.
If you enjoy going underground, you can visit the Vatnshellir cave not far from Londrangar. If you are limited in time this is a great option (however If you are exploring more of Iceland, I recommend Vidgelmir on the Silver Circle instead).
Note that this visit is not for people with vertigo or knee problems. There are 2 very impressive staircases to go down and back up!
Book your visit
One of my favorite things to do in Iceland in Winter was climbing the Saxholl crater. However I have to admit that your experience will depend on the conditions. Do no climb in case of very strong wind!
On a clear day, you can enjoy the lava around and inside the crater and immense views of the whole area with the glacier in the background.
Ytri Tunga beach
If you are looking for wildlife, Winter is not the best season. But on the peninsula, your best bet is the beach of Ytri Tunga. You may see seals relaxing on the rocks.
Bring binoculars (see my buying guide). I did see seals but I have no photos because I was too far away. I could have walked to be closer, but the terrain was not easy and I was tired.
Plan 15min to 1h
All these locations and more are included in my eBook to help you plan your Winter road trip:
Plan your perfect trip to Iceland in Winter!
The Winter landscapes of the Iceland in Miniature
Even if you were not to stop anywhere, just driving around is magnificent.
I want to share a few more pictures of those landscapes because I think this is proof the peninsula should be on your itinerary.
The snow highlights the details of some of the mountains and the darkness of the beaches.
Inland from Snaefellsnes - Silver Circle
If you have time, you can also head inland from the peninsula on the Silver Circle. This will require another day.
It is a loop from Borgarnes.
- The Deildartunghver hot water source that provides heating for the whole region
- The magnificent waterfalls of Barnafoss and Hraunfossar - in Winter the place is simply magical - check out my article
- The Vidgelmir lava tunnel - fantastic underground walk to discover the work of lava - plus in Winter ice-stalagmites form in one section making the place even more special - Book your visit
- The famous ice tunnel dug by man under the Langjokull glacier - the experience is quite different from the visit of a Natural ice cave (see my article to choose your ice cave tour), but it will allow you to see another side of a glacier - pick up from Husafell - book your visit
Want to see more of Iceland in Winter:
- Best things to do in Iceland in Winter - read article
- 35 pictures of Iceland in Winter - read article
- Iceland Ice Cave Tours and tips - read article
- 7 Iceland waterfalls in Winter - read article
- Tips for visiting Iceland in Winter - read article
- Planning an Iceland Winter Road Trip - read article
- Iceland Winter itinerary suggestions - read article
- Driving in Iceland in Winter - read article
Planning a trip to Iceland in Winter
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Plan your perfect trip to Iceland in Winter!
And keep track of your own trip!
Want to see more of ICELAND IN WINTER
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