The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is one of the most Saga invested parts of Iceland. Every part and every place have a reference to one of the major Sagas; the most prominent being Eyrbyggja or the Saga of the People of Eyri and Laxdæla. Sagas and stories that were written six to nine hundred years ago about the settlement and medieval times in Iceland.

The lava field Berserkjahraun

On this Peninsula, you will find the impressive and beautiful Berserkjahraun, or the Berserk Lava Field. The lava is located in the county of Helgafell, near to the Stykkishólmur town. Its sources are four prominent but differently sized scoria craters forming an east-west row from the Ogress Pass (Kerlingarskard).  They erupted at short intervals approximately 3600-4000 years ago. The lava flows created two lakes on their southern side and added to the serenity and beauty of the landscape.  Like many lava fields in Iceland, the lava is a joy to view but always tough to walk. 

Berserkjahraun is an ideal place for peaceful camping

This beautiful area is ideal for recreation, hiking, angling and mountain climbing.  When driving along a dirt road that you can see on the map below, the one that leads into, and around the lava field you'll find small areas of grass ideal for camping. You might even be able to spot a White Tailed Eagle nest in the rugged lava field.  A hike up to the nearby mountains will give you a spectacular view over the Breiðafjörður bay and all the thousands of islands. 

What does the name Berserkjahraun tell us?

And the name Berserkjahraun? It comes from the Eyrbyggja Saga where Vermundur, the farmer at Bjarnarhöfn brought two berserks from Norway in 982 - with unforeseen consequences.  You can read about their misfortune in our article about the Berserks at Berserkjahrun.  Two dudes that became victims of love.


Below is the location of Berserkjahraun on the map of Iceland

The Berserk Lava Field

Arnarstapi on the south coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of Iceland's favorite destinations. It is a mesa surrounded by exquisite nature, great history and has the best access to the Snæfellsjökull glacier. This tiny village wasn't always this small. During the fifteen and sixteen centuries, it was an important trading post and an important fishing village. Today, the Arnarstapi dock is and important harbor for small boats and also a popular destination for pleasure crafts and yachts.

A tiny village with an impressive history

The village is at the foot of Stapafell, a rather small but distinct mountain that already played a role in Iceland's history when the island was being settled. It was home to Bárður Snæfellsáss half brother Þorkell who emigrated to Iceland with his brother.  And, Bárður was a large man as can be seen by the life-size sculpture the artist Ragnar Kjartansson erected by the village shoreline befitting the local guardian spirit.

In the midst of a beautiful landscape

Part of Arnarstapi's beauty is the columnar basalt ravines and grottoes surrounding the harbor, as well as the lava formations along the coastline. Following quite accessible and easy hiking trails, you will find magnificent cliffs and caves, with fantastic birdlife. You can comfortably inspect the kittiwake, the Arctic tern, razorbills and the fulmar up close.

Here you can see and feel the force of the Atlantic ocean

During your hike, you will also experience the full force of the ocean as it clashes with the cliffs at three ravines along the way. It is a powerful and energizing experience, but, mind you, do not stand too close to the edge if you want to survive the impact.


Below is the location of Arnarstapi hamlet on the map of Iceland

Arnarstapi on the south coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of Iceland's favorite destinations.