Of all the beautiful drives you can take in Iceland, heading north and then proceeding to do a westerly loop through an area called Snaefellsnes is a must do on your travel agenda. It winds along the coast bringing you to one breathtaking view after another, however along the way, there’s plenty of mountains and beautiful landscape to take in. There are ruins and remains of ancient fishing settlements to be found as well.
Whether it’s a cloudy day or a sunny one (and in Iceland, you can have both within an hour of each other), the views are spectacular.
Taking a four wheel drive is the way to go even though most of the roads are fairly easily accessible compared to other parts of the country where they are a “must.”
There are many extraordinary geological formations within the region, magnificent coastlines and birdcliffs. Along the coastline are relics that refer to the harsh conditions former generations fought for survival and you could see just how windy and stormy living on a farm could be during the colder winter months when the sun rarely shines.
It was here that I saw my first Icelandic horse, which are rare to Iceland and as noted in previous posts, the only kind of horse they have in the country.
The bird life is prominent at every turn with over 54 different species nesting in the area. The most common birds are eiders, fulmars, Arctic terns, guillemots, sea gulls and certain waders. The rarer ones are the whitetailed eagle, Slavonian grebe and the shoveler. The whitetailed eagle is an endangered species but the population has been growing slowly during the past few decades.
The only native terrestrial mammal on the peninsula is the Arctic fox, which has been increasing in number in the past few years. It can often be spotted in the National Park at night or in the twilight, although I didn’t see one on my trip. Whales can often be seen from the coast of Snaefellsnes, the best spots being at Hellnar (which we drove through) and Ondverdarnes.
Ships pull up in various ports as well. Below is not far from Grundarfjorour Road.
A stark contrast: urban rust not far from Armastapi.
Not far from urban grunge lies even more natural beauty and wildlife. You can hike along a path from Armastapi to Hellnar along the sea.
Once in Hellnar, be sure to stop at the infamous and ever so quaint Hellnar Coffee House, where you can order some tea, biscuits and scones or a simple lunch, such as homemade soup or a quiche. See our write up on the Hellnar Coffee House.
Below, more port energy at Grundarfjorour.