Given the variety of sights contained in a single place, it’s no wonder that Snæfellsnes is sometimes called a miniature of Iceland. Surrounded by fjords, sea cliffs and beaches, this 90-km long peninsula in western Iceland has diverse landscapes, including lava fields, colourful rocks and sands. Not to mention, it features a mountain range dominated by the Snæfellsjökull glacier, which is believed to be a mystical place with a magical energy.
“We have everything that you could have in one place,” our tour guide Hörður Harðarson says, explaining that a day trip is not enough to explore the whole peninsula, but it gives you an idea of what you can do there. “It is one of the hidden paradises in Iceland,” he says.
Chatting with the seals
After departing from Reykjavík bright and early, the tour to Snæfellsnes begins with a stop at Gerðuberg—a row of columnar rocks and basalt formations. We get out and admire what looks to me like a huge unfinished building. And this is just the beginning of a great number of natural wonders.
Next we stop at Ytri Tunga, where Hörður tells us we are guaranteed to see seals, and he is definitely right. At first, it seems like we are simply looking at a bunch of rocks, but upon closer inspection, we can make out the seals, which blend in well with the rocks. They look at us for a while and it’s like we are having a one-minute eye-conversation.
Being in the middle of nowhere
We continue along a road surrounded by lava fields, and the romantic scenery out of the window captivates me. One gets a sense for how sparely populated Iceland really is. It’s like being in the middle of nowhere and suddenly the beauty of nature just appears all around.
The Snæfellsjökull glacier and volcano seem to follow us and Hörður says there is something about that glacier that is difficult to explain; it’s like it’s always pulling you, he tells us. “To be on the glacier during the midnight sun is like a standing on a top of the world,” he adds. No wonder a man like Jules Verne was inspired by it; his novel ‘A Journey to the Centre of Earth’ leads you right to the centre of it.
Our next stop brings us to Arnarstapi, a fishing village with an astonishing view. As you can imagine there are many rock formations along the coast and driving the steep cliffs is awe inspiring.
Rocks and sea
At nearby Djúpalónssandur, we continue to learn about fishing. There we find four lifting stones once used by fisherman to measure their strength. The weight of the heaviest one is 155 kilos and the smallest one, 23 kilos. You must use your knees to lift them; otherwise you just can’t do it. Our group is only able to lift the smallest one, which would have been useless to the fishermen.
Alas, it’s time to go home and we leave the peninsula behind us and make our way back to the city.
One of the passengers, Ingrid from Latvia, tells me though she didn’t understand everything the guide was saying, though she still enjoyed the tour where the nature speaks for itself.
Snæfellsnes proves to be dream-like, peaceful, and relaxing. With its mountains and volcanoes, it’s a place where you reenergize yourself. “I’ve been coming to Snæfellsnes for many years,” Hörður tells us, “and I never grow tired coming here because there is so much to see.”
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