#hellissandur

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 on the north side og Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers many interesting and fascinating places to stop by, view and experience.  When you enter the Peninsula driving from Borgarnes town one of the first places that we recommend is Eldborg crater.  The hike back and forth from the parking lot to the top of Eldborg is not necessarily a short hike and takes about two to two and a half hours.  But for those who prefer a shorter walk to see a crater, Saxhóll is a good option although the crater is nowhere as impressive as the larger Eldborg crater.  Saxhóll is actually two craters where the lower one is more popular and easier to visit and climb.

Saxhóll the view and the crater

Saxhóll crater is only about 100 meters high, and recently a convenient walking path and steps have been set up making it quite easy to climb.  The crater is probably one of the most accessible places in Iceland to see a crater that once spewed a thousand degrees of magma from the ground delivering the massive surrounding lava.  As the craters also stand higher than the vicinity, it is also a good place to view the tip of the Peninsula with the Atlantic ocean to the west and north and the magnificent Snæfellsjökull glacier on the east side.

For centuries an isolated part of Iceland

Although the region around Saxhóll, particularly by the shore, had farms and fishing stations throughout the centuries the tip of Snæfellsnes Peninsula was always a very remote and isolated place.  Communications were difficult, and few people had reasons to visit the place.  Only a few centuries ago there was a church near Saxhóll as there were quite some people that lived there despite the isolation.  But a few years ago the road was fixed, and today there is an asphalt road around the Snæfellsnesjökull glacier area, and it is far from being isolated.  In fact, it has become one of the most popular scenic drives in Iceland. To access Saxhóll, you simply stay on the main road around the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula called Útnesvegur in Icelandic, Nr. 574 and on the western most part you will find Saxhóll as it is only a few meters from the road.

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Below is the location of Saxhóll on the map of Iceland

Saxhóll crater is only about 100 meters high

 

Skarðsvík is a small and rather exceptional beach in the landscape in Iceland.  Surrounded by harsh and bare black lava, the soft orange-yellow beach conveys a convenient contrast to the surrounding landscape.  Due to the depth and the bright and clean ocean by the beach the color is a bit light blue and turquoise only enhancing the whole experience of visiting the beach.  Because of its location in front of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, it is recommended to visit the place at low tide.  The waves can be quite aggressive and even dangerous when high tide and strong winds play together and anger the Ocean.  A spectacular sight also but a game you would prefer to view from a distance.

Part of the beauty and scenic drive around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

From the main road around the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula called Útnesvegur in Icelandic, Nr. 574, the distance to Skarðsvík is short when you take a turn west of Öndverðarnesvegur Nr. 579.  The road to Skarðsvík has asphalt although further driving in 579 is a narrow gravel road.  So the drive to Skarðsvík is quite simple and easy for any vehicle.  It is a place where you can see the kind of artwork Mother Nature puts to display giving you one of those places that are immensely relaxing.  Particularly when the weather is calm, sunny and the tide is low.  So if you are driving the Snæfellsnes Peninsula Drive, you should take the short drive to Skarðsvík.

Other interesting places on Road Nr. 579

If you choose to continue on the gravel road, it will take you to other interesting places here at the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  The lighthouse at Svörtuloft and the Saxhóll cliffs in addition to Faxi well to name a few.  Near Skarðsvík you will find also find interesting tracks leading through the lava if you have more time to spend at the tip of Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  

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 Skarðsvík Snæfellsnes Peninsula on the map of Iceland

Skarðsvík is a small and rather exceptional beach in the landscape in Iceland.

 

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.

Rif and Hellissandur are two small villages that are only three kilometers apart.  By any definition, they are the same village and the same municipality although they have to kinds of different identities, at least in the minds of the residents.

The Church at Ingjaldshóll stands between the two villages.