West Iceland: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

After leaving Reykjavik, we headed straight up to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland. This is not the traditional route for first time visits to Iceland, but that’s exactly why we chose it. It was a bit brown still in late April, so I would definitely recommend visiting in the summer when it’s green.

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STAY

Hótel Fransiskus Stykkishólmi | This hotel is a former monastery with an active chapel inside. You’ll probably see some nuns around too. We found everything about the hotel lovely and Stykkishólmur was a great place to base ourselves for exploring Snæfellsnes. Ask for a room with a view of the harbor!

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EAT

When we asked at the hotel where we should go for dinner, we were given two options: the brown house by the harbor or the green house in town.

Sjavarpakkhusid | This is the brown house by the harbor. We opted to eat here hoping to get a good sunset view and were not disappointed. Also, the food was amazing! It’s hard to say what my favorite meal of the trip was because it was all so good, but this place is definitely a contender.

Narfeyrarstofa | This is the green house. Although we didn’t get the chance to eat here, I’m going to trust the hotel’s advice on this one. The atmosphere doesn’t look quite as nice as the one by the harbor, but I’m betting the food is just as amazing.

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SEE & DO

Stykkishólmur | Climb the hill to the lighthouse near the harbor for an awesome view of the town. If you happen to be around during the day, there’s also a cute book shop (the yellow house) and a Norwegian house museum (the black house). Apparently, a scene from the Secret Life of Walter Mitty was filmed in the book shop!

Búðakirkja | Built in 1703, this is one of the oldest churches in Iceland and has a very distinct look with its black wooden structure. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize this church was in Snæfellsnes and completely missed our chance to see it.

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Kirkjufell Waterfall | This was probably our main motivation for coming up to Snæfellsnes. The waterfall is smaller than you might expect, but the mountain backdrop makes the scene feel so much more magnificent. Would also be a fun spot to hunt for Northern Lights!

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Hot Springs | I’m not going to tell you exactly where we found this tiny hot spring for two, because it is already too well known. We arrived early in the morning and barely had 5 minutes to ourselves before people started circling around us. So all I’ll tell you is that it’s somewhere on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula!

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Arnarstapi | We kind of stumbled across this spot without realizing it is a popular place to visit. There are so many unique formations along the coastline including stone sea arches and natural bridges. We didn’t give ourselves nearly enough time to explore this beautiful area.

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Yeah, I walked over that having no idea what was underneath me. But if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have done it…so I’m alright with that.

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From Snæfellsnes, we ended up driving south past Reykjavik again in order to see more of the sights along the southern part of the Ring Road. However, if you wanted to continue your journey north to the West Fjords, Stykkishólmur is where you catch the ferry. This is what we hope to do on our next visit to Iceland.

Read more about the Ring Road in my next post!

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