Town Guide: Whales And Wonders In Grundarfjörður

Town Guide: Whales And Wonders In Grundarfjörður

Jessica Peng
Words by
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Although you may not have heard of the town of Grundarfjörður, you’ve more than likely seen the nearby mountain of Kirkjufell on postcards, photographs, and even in movies. This distinctively steeple-shaped mountain is an iconic landmark, attracting many people to visit the small town, with a population of about 1000 souls. Located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland, Grundarfjörður is about a two-hour drive from Reykjavik. As the youngest town in the peninsula, it has a busy harbour, and a growing tourism industry.

Stay: Grundarfjörður Bed and Breakfast
Located in the harbour, the eight-room guesthouse has a perfect view of the stunning mountains and calming ocean. You can hide under a blanket and enjoy the serenity of this small town, and pop down to the café for pizzas, paninis, and traditional fish dishes.

See: Kirkjufell
When you drive to Kirkjufell, pull up in the car park and walk to Kirkjufellsfoss, the picturesque nearby waterfall. There’s a walking path around the mountain, if you feel like taking a closer look. Feeling even more adventurous? There’s also a hiking trail. It’s quite steep, so it’s wise to come prepared, or to hike with a professional guide.

Eat: Bjargarsteinn
The food at Bjargarsteinn is simply spectacular. They offer tasty and aesthetically pleasing fish and meat courses, as well as a vegetarian dish. The restaurant has the iconic Kirkjufell mountain as the backdrop—with great food and amazing scenery, can life get any better? Guðbrandur Gunnar started the business in 2015, and it has been popular ever since, with some customers driving from Reykjavik just to have dinner. The restaurant is open from 5-10pm every day.

Tour: Whale Watching Tour
One of the most popular tours in the area, a whale watching tour from Grundarfjörður usually lasts about three hours. You’ll see the beautiful ocean and (hopefully) some elegant whales, with a multitude of sea birds flying overhead. Even if there aren’t any giant sea mammals to be seen, you can take in some wonderful views of the peninsula and, if it’s clear, the distant cliffs of the Westfjords. It’s usually cold and windy out to sea, so be sure to dress warm.

Visit: Kaffi Emil  
Kaffi Emil is no ordinary café—it also holds an information centre, a library, a kids’ corner and a photo museum. Run by mother Olga and daughter Elsa, the café is a brilliant stop for a cup of latte and a slice of blueberry cheesecake. After that you can go to the photo museum for a slideshow with old photos of the small town. If you have children, keep them amused with the selection of vintage comic books and toys. All in all, Kaffi Emil is a warm and welcoming spot for adults and children alike.

Bathe: Grundarfjörður Pool
Need a place to relax at the end of the day? The town swimming pool has an outdoor geothermal pool and two hot tubs, making it the perfect place for you to unwind. The pool is open every day throughout the year.

Read more town guides here.

Getting There
Hire a car with Go Car Rental
A Bed For The Night
Book with Láki Tours