We’ve made our way all around Iceland’s Ring Road. Now it’s time for one last stop: the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Known as Iceland in miniature, this collection of breathtaking natural attractions has everything from the snow-capped Kirkjufell mountain and icy Snaefellsjökull glacier to the impressive Eldborg volcanic crater and hidden hot spring at Landbrotalaug. It’s located about two hours north of Reykjavik, which makes it the perfect distance for a day trip. But to be perfectly honest, I recommend spending two days in this beautiful area of Iceland. Let’s look at the highlights for anyone visiting the Snaefellsnes peninsula by car.
Eldborg Volcanic Crater
Around five to six thousand years ago, there was a powerful explosion that decimated the top of this volcanic mountain. It was so strong that it left a nearly perfect circle behind. Nowadays this Icelandic volcano is extinct. You can actually walk all the way up to the rim and peer over the side. You’ll need to park at Snorrastaðir farm after passing Borgarnes to access the crater. Walk through the surrounding lava fields about 30 minutes to reach the base of this 200-foot (60-meter) wonder and scale it.
Landbrotalaug Hidden Geothermal Pool
One of Iceland’s best features is its hidden geothermal pools that dot the countryside and places like Landmannalaugar. If you feel like going on a bit of an expedition, there’s a secret hot pot just five minutes away from Eldborg crater. It’s located behind an old, abandoned farm and you need to search a little to find it. There are actually two in the area, a small one and a large one. The smaller hot pot has a temperature is around 35 to 40 ºC (95 to 104 ºF), and only two or three people can fit at a time.
The Basalt Columns at the Gerðuberg Cliffs
Iceland is famous for its hexagonal basalt columns. You’ll see them at Svartifoss waterfall and along the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara. Another great place to spot them is the Gerðuberg cliffs along the Snaefellsnes peninsula. You’ll be able to see them from the road, so keep your eyes peeled.
Snaefellsjökull National Park
This highly unusual and perhaps magical area is known as an extraterrestrial gathering place, one of the world’s chakra centers, and a hotspot of magnetic energy. While I can’t tell you if the first two claims are verifiable, the third one definitely is. Perhaps the sleep disturbances caused by electromagnetic fields in the area are the reason why people driving through this area believe the wacky rumors about aliens and chakras. French novelist Jules Verne was also inspired by this area. In his 1864 sci-fi classic, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the characters must summit Snaefellsjökull glacier. It’s here that they find the entrance to the tunnel that leads to the center of the Earth. Pretty cool, right?
Vatnshellir Lava Cave
This is the cave that inspired Jules Verne in Journey to the Center of the Earth. The prehistoric animals and dangerous creatures that the book’s characters encounter don’t seem out of place here while you visit this natural wonder. As you find your way toward the end of this 650-foot (200-meter) long tube and admire its multicolored volcanic rock, it’s easy to picture yourself on an otherworldly adventure. Be sure to book your tour in advance as this is the only way to access the cave.
Djúpalónssandur Black Pebble Beach and Shipwreck
One of Iceland’s most iconic sights are the black pebble beaches of Vik and South Iceland. Volcanic activity and its aftermath are typical of Iceland’s landscapes even here on Snaefellsnes peninsula. One beautiful example of this black pebble beaches of Djúpalónssandur. Thousands of years of erosion have rounded the remnants of lava and volcanic explosions into shiny, rounded pebbles. They are known as the Pearls of Djúpalón. I think you’ll agree that these black pearls are quite beautiful and highly unusual.
Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall
For Game of Thrones fans, Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall are must do’s on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Besides being the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell also played an important role in season seven of HBO’s hit show. Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize it has the “mountain shaped like an arrowhead” according to the Hound. He saw it in a vision while staring into the fire. Later, Jon Snow and his band of misfits pass by it on their way north to find The Night King and the Army of the Dead.
Main Stops on Iceland’s Ring Road: Snaefellsnes Peninsula
These are some, but not all, of the main highlights on Snaefellsnes peninsula. Feel free to check out our 2-day Snaefellsnes itinerary for a more comprehensive list. I hope you’ve enjoyed making your way around Iceland’s Ring Road. There’s so much to see and do here. It’s hard to believe that it all fits on a small Nordic island no bigger than Kentucky or half of the UK. Whether traveling by car, campervan, or motorhome, a journey around Iceland is definitely the trip of a lifetime.