Snæfellsnes Peninsula is located in west Iceland and is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and amazing outdoor activities in the country. From seal watching, exploring caves, climbing glaciers, fishing, and hiking, to horseback riding, there are tons of things to do in Snæfellsnes Peninsula that you must not miss! And our one day in Snaefellsnes itinerary covers all the highlights and more!
One Day in Snaefellsnes Itinerary: Things to do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula
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Spending one day in Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers the perfect opportunity to explore its diverse landscapes and attractions. The prime attractions on the peninsula are popular with photographers and outdoorsy lovers.
Start your day at the Snæfellsjökull National Park, where you can take part in a guided hike or explore on your own. Here you will find stunning views of glaciers, volcanoes, craters, and wildlife.
After a few hours of exploring, head down to Djúpalónssandur Beach and take in the view of the black pebbles and crashing waves. It’s a perfect spot for a nice walk and epic Instagram shots!
As the sun sets, make your way to a fishing village to explore. In the evening, you can join a seal watching tour or participate in one of the many outdoor activities that Snæfellsnes Peninsula has to offer.
In short, here are all the stops you can cover in one day in Snæfellsnes itinerary
One Day in Snæfellsnes itinerary: Things to do in Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Kirkjufell and Ljósufjöll
- Skarðsvík Beach
- Saxholl Crater
- Djúpalónssandur Beach
- Londrangar Basalt Cliffs
- Berserkjahraun Lava Field
- Black Church at Budir
- Sculpture of Bárður Snaefellsnes
- Spot seals lolling in the sea at Ytri Tunga beach
Snaefellsnes Day Tour From Reykjavik
Prefer to explore Iceland comfortably? Here is an awesome day tour from Reykjavik to Snaefellsnes that covers all the iconic attractions in the Peninsula with a local expert. So sit back and enjoy!
Planning your trip: Snæfellsnes day trip from Reykjavik Iceland
The nearest international airport to get to West Iceland is Keflavik Airport. You can keep Reykjavik as your home base to explore the main highlights of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in one day.
Getting to Snaefellsnes Peninsula from Reykjavik
You can rent a car and drive to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula from Reykjavik. Driving time is one hour and 50 minutes, covering a distance of 135.9 km (84.5 miles).
Start from Reykjavik via Þjóðvegur and Snæfellsnesvegur. We will share road trip stops below so that you can include that as part of your one day itinerary.
Without renting a car, day tours are a great way to sightsee all the highlights of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. You will get a local guide who will take you around, but you will have free time to also explore on your own, take photos, and more.
It is definitely an easy way to get to the area and also check off all the primary attractions in one day. Round-trip transportation is included with everyday tour booking, and you don’t have to worry about parking (or park fees), directions, or driving!
You will leave from Reykjavik (and there are designated pick-up stops from the downtown area). The day tour then takes you to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on a bus.
You will see the dramatic landscape of the volcanic peaks of Kirkjufell and Ljósufjöll, and visit charming fishing villages, such as Grundarfjordur, Arnarstapi, and Hellnar. You will enjoy time at the black sand beach of Djúpalónssandur, and also soak in the majestic glacier of Snæfellsjökull.
All day tours stop at the famed Black Church at Budir, and the Ytri Tunga beach (which is a seal beach).
✅Check availability and book your day tour by clicking here
One Day in Snæfellsnes Itinerary: Things to do in Snæfellsnes Peninsula
One of the most popular attractions on Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the Snæfellsjökull National Park, which features a glacier-capped volcano and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Here you can take part in guided hikes or set off on your own adventure to explore the area’s many wonders. You have the chance to get up close with arctic wildlife, such as whales and seals.
There are trails that take you through lava fields and lead to Djúpalónssandur Beach which is made up of black pebbles.
When driving from Reykjavik, you can stop at Borgarnes, a town located on a peninsula and is a gateway to the Snaefellsnes National Park. From here, head to the Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Borgarnes, with a population of about 3800 residents, is the largest town located on a peninsula at the shore of Borgarfjörður in Iceland. All day tours stop here for a bathroom break, and this is great to pick up snacks, water, or any other essentials you may need for the trip.
Perfect for road trip stops as well to fuel up. Reykjavik to Borgarnes is one hour drive away.
Borganes is an important junction in Iceland and serves as the gateway to the Snaefellsnes National Park.
2. Kirkjufell and Ljósufjöll, Snaefellsjokull National Park
Snaefellsnes National Park is home to the Berserkjahraun lava field, waterfalls, and the iconic Kirkjufell mountain. Kirkjufell means ‘church mountain’, and it is the poster boy of Icelandic landscapes!
Often known as mini Iceland, this mountain and the waterfalls are showcased and promoted in social media for all things Iceland is known for.
Once you reach the parking lot of Kirkjufell, it is a short walk to get to the mountain and the waterfalls viewing area. On a day tour, you will be spending 30 to 40 minutes on the site, which will allow you to go on a short hike and take pictures.
The iconic mountain and the picturesque scenery are very popular with amateurs and professional photographers alike.
The walking pathway is well-marked and safe for beginners to embark on. Ensure you are wearing proper hiking shoes. There are more hiking trails near the mountain that are accessible without a strenuous hike as well.
Ljósufjöll is located on the eastern end of the National Park, and on a day tour, you will pass by the volcanic mountain and craters.
Located on the northern side of the peninsula is Ólafsvík. It’s a small town of about 1000 residents and is home to the Olafsvikurkirkja (church).
There is a waterfall near this town – Bæjarfoss Waterfall, which is worth visiting. You can also book whale watching tours from Ólafsvík.
4. Skarðsvík Beach
Unlike black sand beaches in Iceland, Skarðsvík is unique and is a golden sand beach.
To reach the beach, take the main road of Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which is called Útnesvegur (Nr. 574), and then turn to the west onto Öndverðarnesvegur (Nr. 579).
5. Saxhóll Crater
You can visit Saxhóll Crater next, which is a volcanic crater that stands 100 meters tall. Located on the western tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, approximately 9 km (5.5 miles) south of Hellissandur, this crater is among the most visited attractions in the area.
Saxhóll Crater is estimated to have erupted 3,000 to 4000 years ago.
To reach the summit of the crater, you will need to climb the ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Although the climb can be challenging, take breaks as needed to catch your breath, and don’t give up.
Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the crater and nearby mountains. Trust us, it’s worth it!
6. Djúpalónssandur Black Sand Beach & Dritvík
Djupalonssandur is a bay and sandy beach in Iceland, located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and situated just above Snæfellsjökull. Despite being a bustling town with 60 fishing boats in the past, it is now deserted.
This site offers both hiking and beach views. However, you don’t need to hike if you’re only interested in the beach views.
You can start by heading to the viewing platform after parking your car or getting off the tour bus. From there, you can hike down to the beach if you choose to.
The site is home to two small freshwater lagoons named Djúpulón (the Deep Lagoons) located behind Nautastígur. The beach in this area is called Djúpalónssandur (which is the Deep Lagoon’s Sand or Beach) after these lagoons. It is believed that the lower lagoon is extremely deep and is referred to as abysmal.
Djúpalónssandur or the Black Lava Pearl Beach is the popular one to visit on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and the nearby lava formations make it an out-of-the-world experience! These cool rock formations are great for photo opportunities!
On the black sand beach, you will find a large lava rock called the Söngklettur (Sönghellir Cave) or the Singing Rock. The rock is reddish in color and very dramatic against the backdrop – this formation is popularly known for its echoing quality.
7. Londrangar Cliffs
Londrangar Basalt Cliffs in Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland is an incredible sight to behold. Located on the western coast of the peninsula in Hellnar, they are a natural rock formation created by volcanic eruptions and erosion over thousands of years.
The two steep cliff walls reach around 61 and 75 meters high, showcasing a breathtaking view of the nearby coastline. The area is home to a variety of bird species giving wildlife enthusiasts an excellent opportunity to observe these animals in their natural habitat.
Londrangar is also known for its amazing sunsets, where the brilliant colors create a stunning backdrop for picturesque photos.
Hellnar is a charming fishing village located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. This picturesque settlement dates back to 1706 and has remained largely untouched since then, resulting in an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace.
Its small harbor houses a few boats that are used for daily fishing trips, while its beachfront provides visitors with a stunning view of the sea and nearby mountains. The village is home to a beautiful church, small homestays, beaches, and spectacular rock formations nearby.
9. Berserkjahraun lava field
The Berserkjahraun lava field is an impressive natural wonder located on Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. This vast, barren landscape is made up of black lava rock formed by a volcanic eruption that took place over 4,000 years ago.
The lava ran from the mountain slopes of Bjarnarhafnarfjall and out to the sea at Hraunsfjörður and Hraunsvík.
There are two large craters here – Rauðkúla (red crater), which is 379 metres (1243 feet) wide, and Grákúla (gray crater), 211 metres (629 feet) wide.
Berserkjahraun lava field is a short detour from the main wonders of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
10. Budakirkja or the Black Church at Budir
Back on the road, head to the Budakirkja or the Black Church.
The Black Church at Budir is an iconic landmark situated on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. This unique church was originally built in 1703 and later destroyed by Danish King Christian VIII in 1816, the church was then rebuilt by Steinunn Sveinsdóttir in 1848.
The church features a distinct black-tarred exterior that contrasts beautifully with its white shutters and blue/grey skies.
Inside, you will find traditional Icelandic fixtures, such as wooden benches and brass candelabras. You can visit the church for free, and take a look at the historical artifacts from the 19th century.
You can explore the grounds surrounding the church and take in the breathtaking views of nearby mountains and fjords.
Whether you are looking for a unique photo opportunity or simply want to admire the beauty of this remarkable structure, a visit to the Black Church at Budir is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
11. Sculpture of Bárður Snæfellsnes
From here, visit the lively fishing village of Arnarstapi, and admire the huge sculpture of Bárður Snaefellsnes, home to Icelandic sagas and history.
Bárður is believed to be a half-troll and half-man who was the settler of this area. He came to Iceland in the 9th century and gave the peninsula its name, Snjófellsnes peninsula (“snær” and “snjór” means snow in Icelandic).
The sculpture of Bárður Snæfellsás at Arnarstapi is made of stone and was built by Ragnar Kjartansson. He was the son of King Dumbur, who was half Titan and half a kinder soul.
Arnarstapi is a small fishing village dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries when it was an important trading and fishing centre. This village is a gorgeous spot full of peace and untouched natural beauty.
There are boats, houses, and a stunning shore that were used for daily fishing trips in the past, but now the small Arnarstapi dock is only used for small boats with limited permission to fish.
The small harbor in Arnarstapi is made even more beautiful by its surrounding lava formation. The coastline stretching to Hellnar features intriguing basalt columns, small caves, and lava landforms. This area has been a protected natural reserve since 1979.
The coast offers numerous possibilities for photography and is an ideal location to explore and enjoy.
Grundarfjörður is a small town located on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland.
This charming town has a public library, a historical center, a resident’s café, and a photography exhibition called Bæringsstofa. The exhibition features a collection of pictures by the late Icelandic photographer and honorary citizen of Grundarfjörður, Bærings Cecilsson.
If you are extending your trip on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula for a day or two, then Grundarfjörður is a good spot for an overnight stay.
In addition to lodging and facilities, Grundarfjörður provides a variety of outdoor pursuits, such as horseback riding, camping, and ice climbing.
Additionally, there is a nine-hole golf course located next to the town.
14. Spot seals at Ytri Tunga beach
One of the best places to see seals in Iceland is Ytri Tunga Beach, located in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Every year during the breeding season, hundreds of harbor seals gather here.
You can watch them from the shore or take a guided walk. This is a great activity to do during the summer months.
Our guide said that there is over 98% chance of sighting seals here (in fact he had seen them on all tours, except one when it was cold). During my visit, the seals were mating, and they were playfully flapping and were coming too close to the shore.
Whether you are looking to observe seals or simply relax and take in the stunning views of the nearby coastline, a visit to Ytri Tunga Beach is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
More Tips for One Day Snaefellsnes Peninsula
If you have an additional day you can add the following stops to your Snæfellsjökull National Park road trip itinerary,
Geðuberg Cliffs feature enormous hexagonal basalt columns located close to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. You can follow hiking paths for a closer view and even climb to the top of the cliffs in some steep areas.
Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge / Red-Cloak Rift
Rauðfeldsgjá Canyon is a stunning hidden location on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, where the majestic cliffs near the village of Arnarstapi envelop a deep ravine.
The Canyon is not only beautiful but also steeped in historical significance, as it reveals tales from old Icelandic Sagas and folklore. It is associated with a family tragedy, adding a dramatic flair to its already captivating charm.
You can find the Rauðfeldsgjá gorge on the south side of Snæfellsnes peninsula by taking off-road 574.
Explore Vatnshellir Cave
The volcanic tube cave at Vatnshellir is a must-see when visiting the peninsula. It is an 8000-year-old lava cave. Explore this subterranean wonderland of lava formations and stunning stalagmites with a group tour!
Eldborg Crater hike
The Eldborg Crater is located at the beginning of the Peninsula. To reach the top, you can go on a 6 km (3.7 miles) round trip hike.
Stykkishólmur is the biggest town on the peninsula and serves as a gateway to the Westfjords through the ferry route. This small fishing town offers plenty of unique charms that make it a great stop when exploring the peninsula.
Enjoy the beautiful harbor views, take in some local culture, and taste some delicious seafood!
Snæfellsnes day trip itinerary: Sightseeing Map for 1 Day Road Trip
Where to stay: Snæfellsnes one day itinerary
When visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula, there are plenty of great accommodation options available to suit any traveler. From cozy guesthouses to hostels and campsites, you’ll find something to fit your needs and budget.
Here are some of the top places to stay while enjoying this beautiful area:
This charming hotel offers spectacular views of the coastline and is just a short drive from some of the best attractions in Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Enjoy modern amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and on-site dining options, with friendly service that will make your stay unforgettable.
✅Check prices and book your stay at the Fosshotel Hellnar by clicking here
For something truly unique, check out this self-catered apartment located right in the heart of Hellnar. The apartment is surrounded by a stunning landscape with views of the coastline and features all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.
✅Check prices and book your stay at the Bookstore Family Apartment by clicking here
This hotel is one of the prettiest in the peninsula with gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape. Enjoy cozy rooms and an on-site restaurant. The property is pet friendly.
✅Check prices and book your stay at Hotel Budir by clicking here
Visiting Snaefellsnes Peninsula Iceland Travel Guide
Visiting the stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula will be a delight for any traveler. To make the most of your Iceland vacation, here are some tips:
1. Prepare for Weather Changes – Iceland is known for its unpredictable weather, so be sure to pack for all possible conditions. Even if the forecast looks good, be prepared with layers and waterproof clothing just in case of a sudden shift in weather.
2. Get a Car or Join a Guided tour– The best way to explore Snæfellsnes is by car, as public transport is limited and taxis can be expensive. Renting a vehicle will give you the freedom and flexibility to explore the area at your own pace.
Without renting a car, we recommend opting for a day tour where a trained local expert will drive you and take you around.
3. Pack some snacks – Ensure you have snacks and drinks with you when embarking on the tour of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. After Borganes, there are hardly any spots for buying food. Washrooms are available on some of the sites.
4. Stay Safe – Iceland’s natural environment can be both beautiful and dangerous. Be sure to stick to marked trails while hiking, avoid venturing into unknown terrain, and never attempt to cross glaciers or rivers without proper training and equipment.
5. Respect the Environment – Iceland is a fragile ecosystem that needs protection. Be mindful of your actions when visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula and make sure to leave no trace by picking up your trash and following local regulations.
Prior to arriving in Iceland, ensure you book car rentals, tours, and accommodations ahead of time. Things can become super pricey during the peak summer months.
When flying from Canada or the United States, you will be flying to Keflavik Airport, and you can pick up care rentals from there. Don’t forget to get travel insurance and carry credit/debit cards for payment.
Following these tips will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience when visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula. So go ahead, explore the area’s many wonders, and soak in the magic of this stunning region!
How to add Snaefellsnes peninsula to an Iceland road trip
Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road with a stop in Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the perfect way to experience some of the country’s most incredible scenery. This 7-day itinerary takes you from Reykjavik to the breathtaking west coast and back again, giving you an unforgettable journey through this beautiful landscape.
One Week Iceland Itinerary with Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 1: Begin your journey by driving from Reykjavik along the picturesque south coast, passing stunning waterfalls and charming fishing towns. Check out Skogafoss Waterfall and Seljalandsfoss for some incredible photo opportunities.
Make sure to stop in Vik for a stroll on its black sand beach. Stay in Vik
Day 2: Make your way back towards Hofn and then to Seyðisfjörður. Stay overnight in Hofn to Seyðisfjörður.
Day 3 – 4: Drive to Akureyri, located near Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Eyjafjallajökull. Take a leisurely stroll through its charming streets and make sure to explore Goðafoss and Dettifoss waterfall and Lake Mývatn.
Spend 2 nights in Akureyri.
Day 5 – 6: Spend 2 days in Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Keep in mind Snæfellsnes is a detour from the Ring Road/Route 1. Spend 2 days exploring all the attractions. Stay overnight in Stykkishólmur and enjoy the town’s quaint harbor view.
Day 7: Make your way back towards Reykjavik, and head on the Golden Circle Route. Explore Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the location of Iceland’s first open-air parliament. Later, check off Geysir and Gullfoss.
At the end of your journey, you will have experienced some of the most beautiful landscapes in Iceland and witnessed incredible natural wonders like no other. This Ring Road itinerary with a stop at Snæfellsnes Peninsula is sure to leave you with lifelong memories of your time exploring this stunning country.
The Ring Road is a national highway in Iceland that forms a complete circle around the entire country and connects most towns in densely populated areas. It is a crucial transportation route and is considered the most significant infrastructure in Iceland.
The entire Ring Road itinerary can be completed in a day if you drive non-stop.
Read: Iceland in 8 days
How much time to see the Snaefellsnes peninsula?
If you’re planning to explore the beauty of Snæfellsnes Peninsula, it is recommended that you set aside at least one full day to two days for your visit. This will give you enough time to experience some of the area’s must-see sights, such as Vatnshellir Cave, Londrangar, and the Snaefellsjokull Glacier.
You may even want to extend your stay if you have the time, as there are plenty of other exciting attractions in this region that you won’t want to miss. The Silver Circle of Iceland is accessible after exploring the Peninsula.
Is Snaefellsnes Peninsula worth visiting?
Absolutely! Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a stunning region in the Western part of Iceland that offers plenty of incredible experiences. Known as the mini Iceland, the show topper Kirkjufell is a must add to every bucket list. From exploring lava tube caves to witnessing breathtaking glaciers, this area has something for everyone.
The coastline features picturesque views and rugged black sand beaches, making it perfect for hikers of all levels and photography lovers.
The charming fishing towns that dot the peninsula are amazing to soak in the local culture and experience the area’s unique history. The Snaefellsjokull Glacier provides an incredible opportunity to explore one of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks up close. There are also plenty of outdoor activities available, ranging from ice climbing to exploring lava caves.
Whether you’re looking for thrilling outdoor adventures or a peaceful escape, this area has something to offer for everyone. From its stunning landscapes to its charming towns, a visit to Snæfellsnes Peninsula will be an unforgettable journey!
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