#snæfellsnespeninsula

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. 

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

Natural wonders are by far the most appreciated and the most popular attractions in Iceland.  When you are traveling and taking a vacation, it is priceless to have the option to stop by a beautiful waterfall, a rare sight by a lagoon or to view a hot spring with boiling clay and blasting steam.  But while driving it is also priceless to have a spectacular view of mountains or drive through a beautiful fjord.  Although natural wonders are the main attractions in Iceland, some places and areas can stand alone as a spectacular scenic drive.

Five most interesting scenic drives in Iceland
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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.

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