Reykjanes Peninsula day tour of geology, culture and history
This Hit Iceland tour dives into the core Geopark concept by visiting some of the most exciting land formations at Reykjanes. This is a quality tour, combining history, culture and geology, led by a local guide, Einar Páll Svavarsson, born and raised in Keflavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula, who has traveled, photographed, and studied the Peninsula for decades. This part of Iceland is a product of intense volcanic activity and is among the youngest parts of the island.
The rift zone comes ashore here from its grave, long, and winding stretch through the Atlantic Ocean from Antarctica. It is the part of Iceland characterized and marked by volcanic and geothermal activity from the Ice Age to historical times; a region that was more or less uninhabitable throughout the centuries from the time of settlement until it came to life in the nineteenth and twentieth century, when fishing grounds became more important than agriculture. This is a quality tour, combining history and geology, led by a local guide born and raised in Keflavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula, who has traveled, photographed, and studied the Peninsula for decades. We will travel in a new modified 4X4 vehicle fit for dirt roads and slippery roads in winter. It is a tour that stops by more places than just the main attractions.
Reykjanes Peninsula day tour Krísuvíkurberg
The magnificent geology
The tour starts at Reykjavík, where we pick you up at your preferred location. Our first stop, after driving from Reykjavík through Hafnarfjörður across the lava field in the middle of the peninsula, is the mysterious and unique Kleifarvatn Lake. Here, we make two stops to tell stories and explain the geology of the lake and its distinctiveness. Then, we drive by the east side of the mountain ridge Sveifluháls, south to the geothermal area of Seltún, a captivating place of rhyolite colors, geothermal smoke, and boiling mud. And then, before we turn west on the coastal road to view the Krísuvíkurberg cliffs, we stop by two interesting but different volcanic craters — an explosion crater named Grænavatn (Green Lake) and the more impressive Eldborg (Fire hill).
Reykjanes Peninsula day tour Kleyfarvatn lake
The infinitive struggle between the volcano and the ocean
As we take the dirt road to the cliffs, we dig deeper into the geology and examine the place that visually describes the battle between the volcanos and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs of Krísuvík are an excellent example of the ongoing struggle and the strength of each side. We also touch on the hilarious story and fate of the Turkish pirates that came ashore near the cliffs some centuries ago, intending to capture farmers and their families into slavery. From the cliffs, while driving to our next stop at the old fishing station Selatangar, we explain and tell stories about the Ögmundarhraun eruption and the unbelievable story of how the old farm Krísuvík survived and was headed for eternal destruction at the same time. This is the part where geology and history take on a compelling form.
Reykjanes Peninsula day tour Seltún Geothermal area
Geothermal power and renewable energy
From the old fishing station Selatangar, we head for the new and modern fishing town of Grindavík. We take an hour’s break at a restaurant for lunch, an excellent time to go over the history of the towns on the Reykjanes Peninsula, both as fishing towns and for their part in modern day Iceland. After lunch, we loop around the mountain Þorbjörn and drive by the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant and its famous byproduct, the Blue Lagoon. Here, we explain how Icelanders have taken advantage of their natural resources for their own benefit as well as that of the planet and how it has saved tons of money. Nearby, we visit and stop by Eldvörp, the row of craters that stretches over an area of 10 kilometers. These craters are quite unique and even still warm, smoking, and evaporating, despite the centuries that have passed since they erupted. The visit is a rare experience to get close to volcanic heat and craters, and to understand how eruptions are often created with fissures rather than typical cone-like volcanos.
Reykjanes Peninsula day tour Eldvörp craters
To the tip of Reykjanes
From Eldvörp, we drive to the south-west tip of the peninsula and the Reykjanes Lighthouse. Here, we stop by Valahnúkar to view the spectacular land formation of stacks and cliffs that are different from the Krísuvíkurberg cliffs. We also make a brief stop at the ghostly Gunnuhver hot spring and geothermal area. As we head towards the small villages of Sandgerði and Garður, we make a stop at the Bridge between continents where you can walk from the North American tectonic plate to the Eurasian one or, in a matter of seconds, walk from Europe to America. At the end of our tour, on our way back to Reykjavík, we drive through a few small towns and villages and briefly touch on their fascinating history, their development from fishing towns and their role in the Cold War, and the consequences of being a window to international culture in our tiny country and, currently, the gateway to the spectacular natural wonders of Iceland.
Reykjanes Peninsula day tour Gunnuhver hot spring
Tour location :
Starting place / town :
An Icelandic local driver guide with extensive knowledge about Iceland and Reykjanes Peninsula, the country, people, and history, and more importantly with years of experience travelling the Reykjanes Peninsula. A new modified convenient 4X4 Toyota vehicle fit for all roads. A drive to some of the most interesting places in Reykjanes Peninsula.
What to bring:
Hiking shoes or similar since we take some short walks on hiking tracks. It is also a good idea to bring warm clothes, preferably rain resistant and a small daytour backpack. You should bring some snacks for the day.