Plan you trip to the famous Snaefellsnes Peninsula Iceland ! With a great variety of landscapes and its own glacier, this region is often considered as the Iceland in miniature: fjords, volcanoes, lava field, lakes, waterfalls... Below is my guide and Snaefellsnes peninsula map to help you select the best places to see and plan your itinerary.
Navigate back to the complete Iceland Travel Guide
This article contains affiliate Links (info on the Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula Iceland - Introduction
The Iceland in miniature...
Located only 2 hours Northwest of Reykjavik, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a popular destination in Iceland, easy to access.
On this small land surrounded by sea, the visitor can see a great variety of landscapes: majestic Fjords, Lakes, rushing Waterfalls, sea pillars, fascinating lava fields, perfect volcanic cones, basalt formations... and even a glacier (Snaefellsjökull).
Because of this mix of scenery in a small region, it is often referred to as the Iceland in Miniature.
By the way before we continue, you might want to hear how to pronounce the work Snaefellsnes, because it would be easier to read this guide 🙂 - you can listen here
VIDEO - Touring the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Iceland
Below is my short video with the beautiful landscapes of the Snaefellsnes peninsula including waterfalls, lava fields and formations, fjords and a glacier.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula Tours and Self-Drive - How to get there?
How to get to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Iceland ?
- The Snaefellsnes peninsula Iceland is located Northwest of Reykjavik
- The main towns on the North shore are Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur
- The main towns on the South shore are Hellnar / Arnastapi
- It is a 2h20 drive from Reykjavik to Snaefesllnes' Grundarfjordur
- The peninsula is normally accessible in Winter and a great place to visit with small group tours from Reykjavik (see my article How to visit Iceland in Winter)
How long to plan to visit Snaefellsnes ?
Since it is quite smaller than the other touristic regions of Iceland, you can cover it in a shorter amount of time. You can already see a lot in one day. But if you can, I recommend enjoying it on t least 2 days.
Option 1 - Self-drive
For the freedom of stopping wherever you want and spend more time in the places you really enjoy, renting a car is the best solution. Driving on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is actually really easy. There is a road all around and one to cross in the middle in good condition.
2WD is OK for most of the region, but there is one road off the beaten track that I really love. It is an easy drive but it requires a 4WD.
I personally rented my car with Route 1 car rental and its went very smoothly (see car options and book). They were well organized and the car was in perfect condition.
But you can compare other local options here.
And you can read my articles about
Option 2 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula Tours
Considering the amazing landscapes everywhere, joining an organized Snaefellsnes day trip is a good idea. This way you can remain the whole time the nose against the window. And in Winter it can really be either not to worry about driving.
A day tour to Snaefellsnes is one of the best day trips from Reykjavik. Here are some options:
- A day Summer tour in a Minibus from Reykjavik including most of the main attractions - Check out program and book
- An all year tour from Reykjavik to the Snaefellsnes National Park with a maximum of 15 people - Check out program and book
- Photography Day Tour to capture the best of the Snaefellsnes peninsula - Check out program and book
- 2 day Snaefellsnes tour with Northern light hunt - Check out program and book
Snaefellsnes Itinerary Tips
If you have decided that you wan to visit on your own, you can go further and check out my map and list of things to do in Snaefellsnes to set up your itinerary. But first, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Clockwise or Anticlockwise? I want to say both... lol - I did it many times in all directions - I particularly like the views of the South Shore anticlockwise and also the middle road 56 from South to North (so clockwise). I also like arriving on Kirkjufell from the East (clockwise)
- Timing - Kirkjufell is a fantastic location for sunrise, sunset and Northern lights (because it faces North). Plus try avoiding the place during 10am and 3pm when all the day tours are visiting
- Overnight - Kirkjufell is my absolute favorite location on the peninsula, so I recommend staying in Grundafjordur right next to it, to go as many time as you want and during the best lights. You can check out the best accommodations in Grundafjordur, or wait for later in the article when I introduce accommodation options.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula Map and navigation
Driving around Snaefellsnes
- The peninsula is 90km long
- Road 54 is the road going all around the peninsula. But part of it to the North East is unpaved, so you can use Road 56 to cut through. Road 56 is stunning
- The West tip is where the glacier and the Snaefellsnes national park stands.
Map of Snaefellsnes peninsula
Below is a map of the Snaefellsnes peninsula Iceland with some of the best things to do. I hop it helps you get oriented.
The updated and improved version of my map, plus maps of all the other regions and detailed pages on all my favorite locations can be found in my eBook:
PLACES TO SEE in the Snæfellsnes peninsula (Highlights)
Below are my favorite places to see and things to do in the Snaefellsnes peninsula Iceland, the classic stops on any road trip:
At the South West point of the peninsula you will find Londrangar beach and its strange cliffs. You can walk a well maintain path to platforms with nice views of the cliffs or walk towards the cliffs via the lava field (right from the parking facing the ocean)
I am not into church photography but as this one was an easy stop and had nice views of the glacier across I went and I can share a picture of it for those who are interested. This is a typical Icelandic church.
4. Viewpoint on road 56
At the Northern end of Road 56 (see map above point 13), there is a small carpark with a viewpoint. This is one of the most beautiful I have seen with water, green mountains, black and red ones as well as the Beserkjahraun (lava field). I recommend walking down and on your left you will find a waterfall. Yes, I know, another one… but this makes this location very diverse.
Another coastal area to explore with interesting formation such as the Gatklettur Arch
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula off the beaten path
Below are other places to visit on the Snaefellsnes peninsula Iceland. Those are more off the beaten track for those you have more time to spend there.
This road was recommended to me by a local. And I am grateful for it. It was one of my favorite drives in Iceland.
It is a gravel road loop off road 54 leading to lakes and a rugged and colorful lava field.
More Photos and Info on my article about Berserkjahraun
7. F570 and Snaefellsjokull glacier
Some organized tours can take you on the Snaefellsjokull glacier. But if you feel adventurous and are driving a 4WD, have fun and gel up close to the glacier on the F570 road.
More Photos and Info on my article about F570 and Snaefellsjokull
Gerduberg on road 54 (Ytri-Raudamelur) at the beginning of the peninsula consists in an impressive wall of basalt columns with a volcano behind. Unless it is very foggy, you cannot miss it from the road. However please note that, although the GPS says that you can do a loop back on the main road, this is actually private property. So you cannot continue behind the volcanic cone.
9. Raudfeldsgja Canyon
A very narrow canyon. If you are not claustrophobic, you can even enter. Good footwear is needed.
Attractions at the limit of the Peninsula Snaefellsnes
Inland, at the limit of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula are 2 sites not to be missed right on the Ring Road.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula Activities
Need a break from driving around? Have a look at those activities you could enjoy to see Iceland in a different way:
Boat Tour and Viking Sushis
At Stykkisholmur, you can board a 3h boat tour around the islands of North of the peninsula.
You can see interesting basalt columns, maybe spot aniamls.
And at some point they got some fresh seafood out for the water for us and we had 'viking sushis'.
2 to 3 hours
Departs from Stykkisholmur
Helicopter above the Snaefellsnes region
Oh how much I love seeing our planet from above. And the peninsula has a lot of amazing landscapes to admire from a different perspective
Departs from the Reykjavik domestic airport
Snaefellsjokull Glacier Hike
Explore the center of the Earth by hiking on the Snaefellsjokull Glacier. Climb to the top of the volcano peaking at 1446m
May to August
Departure from Reykjavik
Jeep and Snow Buggies on Snaefellsjokull Glacier
Enjoy the wonder of the glacier without the physical difficulty. Exhilarating!
3 hours - January to September
Departs from Arnastapi
- There are accommodations both on the North and South shores of the Snaefellsnes peninsula
- Photographers prefer staying in Grundarfjordur to be just 2 min drive away from Kirkjufell for sunrise, sunset and northern lights
- Here a relinks to the best rated accommodations on Booking for Gundarfjordur and Hellnar/Arnastapi
- Personally I stayed in Gundarfjordur first in the Framnes Hotel and then in The Old Post Office Guesthouse. See my reviews in the Iceland Accommodations Article.
You can find accommodations on both the North and South shore of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, especially aorund Grundarfjordur and Hellnar
As stated before, I think styaing in Grundarfjordur is great to be able to quickly reach Kirkjufell for sunset, sunrise and Northern lights.
I personally stayed at:
Framnes in Grundarfjörður: The location was great not far from the famous Kirkjufellsfoss allowing us to get there at sunset and sunrise. In the morning we were even greater by a beautiful rainbow over Kirkjufell.
Note: If you don't want to book everything yourself, consider booking a Self-Drive Tour Package (see my article to help you choose)
Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Winter
The peninsula is also really beautiful in Winter.
The Main roads are normally cleared quickly. However if you are worried about driving on Ice and Snow you can book a day trip from Reykjavik.
What to pack
Planning a road trip around Iceland? Check out my eBook to help you plan it:
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Which ones are making it on your itinerary?
You might also be interested in: