#snæfellsnes

 

Helgafell or holy hillock is a farm and a small hill at Þórsnes small peninsula near Stykkishólmur town at Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  The place and the farm has a long and colorful history that we can trace back to the times of settlement.  It has always been a place of religious practices and high esteem both in paganism and Christianity. Accordingly, it was early on and for centuries a place of power and also a place of learning and education.  Helgafell is mentioned in many of the Sagas, like Laxdæla and Eyrarbyggjasaga, and was the home of famous characters in early Icelandic history like Snorri Goði and Guðrún Ósvíusdóttir. So it is not a surprise that the farm and the hillock are gaining more and more interest among visitors.

A spectacular view

Even though Helgafell is only 73 meters high, it is a point of spectacular view in all directions. That is probably one of the reasons it was considered of great value early on in Icelandic history when disputes often led to deadly battles and mobilizations. In those times it was good to have an overview of your enemies intentions especially if they came riding in large numbers grumpy faced and heavily armed.  Today as we live in more peaceful times, it is an excellent place to see the many islands in the Breiðafjörður bay and even better to get a quiet moment and a glimpse at the scenic mountains of Snæfellsnes Peninsula. If you are interested in the Sagas Helgafell gives a good overview of the scene of Eyrabyggjasaga and also partly Laxdæla. 

Helgafell or holy hillock famous at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

When you come up, you can walk into the ruins that are traced back to the 10th century and repeat the wishes in silence

Folklore of three wishes that could be to your advantage

A shepherd working for one of the first settlers at Helgafell, Thorstein Cod Biter, had a spiritual experience that affected him much at Helgafell.  It was on the same day the Cod Biter drowned in Breiðafjörður bay. This event enhanced the spiritual value of the hillock significantly.  According to folklore magical forces remain attached to Helgafell.  So if you are visiting this place for the first time, you are granted three wishes. But you need to climb the hillock in complete silence, and you can under no circumstances turn around and look back while walking up.  When you come up, you can walk into the ruins that are traced back to the 10th century and repeat the wishes in silence. And keep in mind that the wishes can only be of good nature if they are to come thru.

A great view to the islands at Breiðarfjörður bay from Helgafell

A great view to the islands at Breiðarfjörður bay from Helgafell

Finding your way to Helgafell

Driving to Helgafell is a simple matter.  When driving Snæfellsnesvegur Nr. 54 and you come to the intersection to Stykkishólmur Nr. 58 you drive approximately 5 kilometers and take a right turn on the road Nr. 5772 Helgafell.  There is a small service center with information, restrooms and a parking space.  The fee is 400 Icelandic kronur pr. person. 

 

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Below is the location of Helgafell on the map of Iceland

Even though Helgafell is only 73 meters high, it is a point of spectacular view in all directions

 

Öndverðarnes is the name of the outermost point of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The place is a small land or a stripe by the shore that made it possible for centuries to serve as a fishing station.  Unlike most of the nearby area that is covered with lava and craters from eruptions thousands of years ago.  Öndverðarnes is therefore surrounded by large lava fields on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other side.  It is a fascinating place although not necessarily one of the most beautiful places in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

There are remains from the old fishing station

Understandably Öndverðarnes was an extremely isolated place for those who lived there and those who worked at the fishing station. When you drive the harsh road through the lava from the main road, you might be surprised to know that this road was built only 70 years ago. For centuries people working at the fishing station had to walk a difficult path through the lava. Although the main attraction throughout the centuries for living at Öndverðarnes were rich fishing grounds nearby, the place seriously lacked a good landing place, like a cove.  This made life much harder and probably contributed to the end when the fishing station was permanently closed down at the first decades of the 20th century.

The small lighthouse and the cave and well Faxi

For Icelandic fishermen, before GPS, a lighthouse at Öndverðarnes was crucial to guide them past this point at Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Access to the lighthouse was one of the main reasons why the road was built.  Curiously there is also an unusual hole or a cave by Öndverðarnes. It is also a well and has the name Faxi. To reach the water you need to walk down a narrow path. The well also made it possible to have a fishing station at Öndverðarnes for centuries as access was crucial.

The view from Öndverðarnes to Snæfellsjökull glacier and the crater Saxhóll

Finding your way to Öndverðarnes

From the main road at the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula called Útnesvegur in Icelandic, Nr. 574, the distance to Öndverðarnes is about five and a half kilometer after you take a turn west of Öndverðarnesvegur Nr. 579.  At the end of the road, you take a turn north and drive a few kilometers. Here you will find a small parking lot by the lighthouse.  If you turn to the south, you will find another interesting part of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula tip, Svörtuloft cliffs.

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Below is the location of Öndverðarnes on the map of Iceland

Öndverðarnes the outermost point in Snæfellsnes

Waterfalls are probably one of the most popular attractions in Iceland and Icelandic nature.  A trip to view and experience a waterfall is always rewarding.  Watching a waterfall is both fascinating and relaxing.  One of the waterfalls drawing more and more visitors is Svöðufoss, a beautiful waterfall at the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  Although the waterfall has been there for many centuries only recently has the interest started.  And recently a parking lot has been built near the waterfall so today it is fairly easy to visit and enjoy.  The walk from the parking lot to the waterfall is only about half an hour.

Set in a beautiful landscape

Svöðufoss is a beautiful waterfall where the river Hólmkelsá, sometimes also called Laxá.  The waterfall is 10 meters high and falls off a beautiful basalt column cliff.  The walking path from the parking lot is on the east side (left side when walking towards the waterfall from the parking lot) of the river, and you can easily walk up to see the waterfall from above.  On a clear and sunny day when you can see the magnificent Snæfellsnes glacier towering above and in the background which gives the waterfall a unique place among waterfalls in Iceland.   Taking a photo of Svöðufoss waterfall including the basalt column and the glacier is probably going to give you a result that can not go wrong.

Driving to Svöðufoss

Svöðufoss waterfall is located at Snæfellsnes Peninsula south of the small village Rif.  When driving the road Útnesvegur Nr. 574 coming from the west part or tip of the Snæfellnes Peninsula you will drive through the tiny village Hellissandur and then Rif.  Just after you pass Rif, there is a sign and a road on your right that will take you to the waterfall Svöðufoss.

 

Svöðufoss waterfall is located at Snæfellsnes Peninsula south of the small village Rif.

 

At the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, some interesting places are delightful to visit and explore.  Apart from Skarðsvík bay the road to visit all of the places is a gravel road and bit difficult to drive.  Not necessarily a 4X4 road but a narrow and bumpy gravel road.  Svörtuloft is a lighthouse and a four-kilometer long cliff that is worth visiting during summer, especially if the tide is low and the weather is calm.  The formation of the cliff is quite spectacular as they are dark and black lava cliffs. An excellent viewing panel was put up by the cliffs not long ago for a better and secure view of the most interesting part of the cliff.  The natural arch by the lighthouse is a spectacular part of the cliff, and with the stack that stands up from the sea line, the sight and experience are great.

A place feared throughout centuries

Sailing in the Faxaflói bay and the Breiðafjörður bay in the western part of Iceland might be secure and calm, but traveling from one to the other can be quite tricky.   The sailing by the tip of Snæfellsnes peninsula, past Svörtuloft is still a serious business.  Throughout the centuries there have been drastic incidents and casualties.  Ships have stranded, and as anyone can imagine looking at the sharp and black lava cliffs, this is not a good place to strand a ship. Most of them are quickly blown to pieces by the shore.  When you add the strong currents attacking the shore from the Atlantic Ocean, it is most likely a place impossible to survive.  This is perhaps one of the reasons that a lighthouse was built on the cliffs. 

Finding your way to Svörtuloft

From the main road at the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula called Útnesvegur in Icelandic, Nr. 574, the distance to Svörtuloft is about five and a half kilometer after you take a turn west of Öndverðarnesvegur Nr. 579.  At the end of the road, you take a turn south to Svörtuloft and drive a few kilometers. Here you will find a small parking lot that gets overcrowded if there are more than eight vehicles.  If you turn to the north, you will find another interesting part of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula tip, Faxi the well. 

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Below is the location of Svörtuloft on the map of Iceland

Svörtuloft is a lighthouse and a four-kilometer long cliff that is worth visiting during summer

Have you ever tasted fresh scallops straight from the sea? If not then the "VikingSushi Adventure" is the right boat tour for you - seafood simply doesn´t come fresher than this! Operating from Stykkishólmur town on the northern side of Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  In all the growing flora of tours and entertainment for visitors in Iceland, this spectacular tour has been around for more than thirty years and is among the most interesting things you can do in Iceland. It is a very original tour based on an idea only someone local can come up with.  A Bird & Nature Watching Tour for everyone all year around. It is a combination of sailing, viewing small islands and spectacular landscape, birdwatching and tasting seafood as fresh as it gets. It is an exciting tour for the whole family, and a tour kids just love.

Viking Sushi with Sæferðir Stykkishólmur Snæfellsnes

Taste the delicious fresh food

Here you will try the delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean. You will be amazed by the selection drawn aboard the boat in one catch. The variety is a spectacular sight and a trigger for every child's curiosity.  Soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger will make this a special Sushi-event for you.

Sæfeðir tour at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Experience nature and birdlife

You will experience many birds like puffins, cormorants, shags, kittiwakes and possibly the majestic white-tailed eagle. You will also explore the strongest ocean currents in Iceland and beautiful basalt rock formations on some of the small islands.

Birdlife and you will see puffins with Sæferðir Viking Sushi

The VikingSushi Tour is a real adventure sailing through our incredible nature and should not be missed by any visitor to Iceland.  We at Hit Iceland took this tour first thirty years ago and again in 2016, and it is a thrilling adventure. It is highly recommended. 

If you are ready the VikingSushi Tour is a guided tour and takes roughly 2 hours. And you can book here.

 

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Viking Sushi Feast

 

For centuries and even up until the eighties and the nineties most places on the westernmost part of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula were isolated.  This was because the road was tough and the part from Ólafsvík village to Rif / Hellissandur villages was often considered dangerous until it was permanently changed, and moved lower to the shore, in the eighties. Although this might seem a bit strange today at Malarrif where you have an information center for the Snæfellsnes National Park, the farm Malarrif was quite isolated. Today it is a simple drive and an asphalt road accessible for any car. But like most roads in Iceland, a precaution is required during winter and looking at the weather forecast before taking this part of the road is a must.

Malarrif is an old farm and an old lighthouse with a new role

The shore by the farm and information center is interesting as most of the shoreline of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  Today it is the main center for the Snæfellsnes National Park and when traveling in Iceland and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula you should visit the center. The walk from the tourist center to Lóndrangar is quite spectacular as well as the rocky pebble beaches. The old lighthouse had an important role for Icelandic fishermen for decades as they fished in the rich fishing grounds by the shore. Fishing grounds that Icelanders used for centuries. It was built in 1917 and rebuilt in 1947. The height of the lighthouse is 20 meters, and the light had a range of eighteen miles.  At that time the farm Malarrif was one of the most isolated farms in Iceland. It was also the westernmost farm on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

A center for all the beautiful places to visit at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Malarrif Information Center is an important stop when visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is an information center for Dritvík, Djúpalónssandur, Vatnshellir cave, Hellnar, Snæfellsjökull glacier and many other interesting places at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
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Below is the location of Malarrif service center on the map of Iceland

Malarrif is an important place to visit when driving the Snæfellsne Peninsula

 

Ingjaldshóll is an old farm and a church that you should visit if you are traveling the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. The farm and its history can be traced back to the 10th century. It has always been an important place in the surrounding region throughout the centuries. Currently and for the last fifty to sixty decades it has been deserted as a farm because the quality of the soil declined due to wind erosion. But still, it can uphold its importance and role in the nearby region as it is the home of the church for the communities in the twin villages of Rif and Hellissandur. The church is one of the oldest concert buildings in Iceland built 1903 and Ingjaldshóll is one of the most spectacular places in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula for a grand view of the fjord Breiðafjörður and also towards the glacier, Snæfellsjokull.

A place with a pile of stories and folklore

Ingjaldshóll is renowned for strange stories involving trolls and spells as well as protection from the powerful spirit of Bárður Snæfellsás. One of the best-known stories is the story of the farmer Inngjaldur at Hóll and the troll Hetta.  The troll woman Hetta told Inngjaldur about a very rich fishing ground after being caught stealing his sheep. It was a change in their negotiations to soften him up. Inngjaldur believed her and soon enough headed tor the rich fishing ground only to find himself caught in a severe storm. Possibly facing his final hour, he called upon the powerful spirit Bárður Snæfellsás who apparently came to his rescue, much to the annoyance and surprise of Hetta.  This, of course, is a true story from the Saga Báður Snæfellsás.

A very busy place for ages although small today

In the 15th and throughout the 18th century Ingjaldshóll, as well as the nearby region, was a busy place both as a trading post and as a tiny fishing village. In 1477 a young sailor came to Rif on a ship from Bristol in England.  He stayed for the winter at Ingjaldshóll eager to learn about the journeys of the Vikings to the west, Greenland, and Vineland.  Possibly visiting the not so distant Eiríksstaðir to learn about Erik the Red and his son Leif the Lucky, who discovered America five centuries earlier. This gentleman came from Italy, and his name was Christopher Columbus. So if you stop at Ingjaldsstaðir and enjoy the magnificent view over Breiðafjörður and to the glacier Snæfellsjokull you are in the same steps as the great explorer stood some five and a half century ago.

Access is very simple

So we recommend if you are traveling the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on the road Útvegur Nr. 574, you should look for the Road Nr. 5738 to Ingjaldshóll. Today it is mostly interesting because of its history and also because of the view, in any direction.  Quite a scenic place to visit.

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.

Below is the location of Inngjaldshóll on the map of Iceland

Ingjaldshóll is an old farm and a church that you should visit if you are traveling the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland.

If you are looking for an exciting drive or a tour in Iceland where you can comfortably drive and see the magnificent landscape and beautiful natural wonders, astonishing small villages and places with entertaining stories, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula Drive is an excellent option.  Especially, if you have your own car, a camper or a rental a car.

The many reasons why you should drive the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on you trip to Iceland