Driving the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Oh Snæfellsnes Peninsula – we never did figure out how to pronounce you, but man, did we love you. (we might have spent most of the day calling is snuffleupagus – just for fun)

When we flew into Iceland, we were immediately greeted by a representative from our car rental company,  who provided us with a map and some really helpful Iceland driving advice. After we we met our adorable little rental car, we drove straight to The Laundromat Cafe to get some dinner and do a few loads of laundry. The cool temperature and wind felt divine after a week in the Turkish desert and with our freshly washed bags of clothes in the trunk, we headed out for our first Icelandic destination: The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

We drove along the coast as the sun was beginning to set – a process that takes much longer at an arctic latitude than at home. The clouds and landscape were absolutely breathtaking and we decided that we would not take a single photo until we got to our hotel. We just wanted to enjoy our first night and not worry about capturing it with photographs – it’s fun every once and a while to just sit back and enjoy instead of thinking about how it would look through a camera lens. Does that resonate with anyone else?

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We arrived at our hotel after 10 pm to find that the sun was finally starting to set, creating the most amazing colors in the clouds overhead. The hotel itself made everyone of my grass-covered-roof, hobbit dreams come true. However, when we tried to check in we were told that they had accidentally overbooked the hotel and took us to their home instead.

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We woke up in this adorable cottage by the sea and couldn’t have thought of a better way to experience our first Icelandic morning than in an authentic Icelandic home.

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After a little breakfast of coffee, bread, cheese and cold cuts we took off to explore the Hellnar area on foot. This area of the peninsula reminded us so much of Ireland – in the best way.

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After our walking tour of the cliffs around Hellnar, we jumped in our little car and started the rest of our loop around the peninsula. Admittedly, we did not do a ton of research about this area of Iceland before we started exploring, so we were so happy to find the most adorable info centers in just about every small town along the way. Many of the info centers even had small museums with historic information about their town, as well as maps to follow. Dave and I had so much fun stopping at each center along the way and using the maps to discover every little church and lighthouse we could find.

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Most of the lighthouses that we saw in Iceland are painted this amazing color orange and are solar powered. This particular lighthouse was built in 1931 and has two names – one for when it is seen from land and one when it is seen from sea. We had to drive on a dirt road through fields of moss-covered lava to find the lighthouse and we loved every minute of it.

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As big fans of the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, we had to make it up to Stykkisholmur on our Snæfellsnes tour. The town was a beautiful destination even of you haven’t seen the movie, but it was so fun to see where they filmed. Of course, we left with song “Major Tom” in our heads.

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After we stopped by our last church on the peninsula, we drove south to begin the next leg of our self-guided driving tour. Driving through the Snæfellsnes Peninsula was easily one of our favorite days of our Iceland trip. It felt less ‘touristy’ than many of the other places we visited and we loved driving through all of the fishing villages and national parks. Most everything about this day felt magical  – definitely one for the books!

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18 thoughts on “Driving the Snæfellsnes Peninsula”

  1. It looks gorgeous. Great photos too. It was a shame you couldn’t stay at the hotel but sometimes things turn out better than anticipated. Not many people would get to stay in a local’s home. 🙂

  2. Wow, what a beautiful place. I had no idea that Iceland could be so beautiful. Great commentary and photos on your post. Thank you for sharing.


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