West Iceland – Snæfellsnes Peninsula (8 Dec 2017)
Today’s the 2nd last day of our stay in Iceland, and we were going to make the most of it. Personally, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is my favorite part of Iceland – there’re all sorts of amazing scenery, and the peninsular is compact enough that you could get a lot of sightseeing in just a day. In fact, it’s also within striking distance from Reykjavik, so you could in theory base yourself in Reykjavik.
We got up at around 8.45aam and was surprised to see the sun slowly rising already. Over here in the South, the sun rises slightly earlier than in the North.
We took a few photos around our hostel before heading out. The soft pinkish glow of the morning Sun on the snowy mountains was just a mesmerizing sight to see. This was definitely the most beautiful morning that we’ve had so far in Iceland, and most mornings have been great (save for a few gloomy ones).
Along the way, we turned into a random small road and saw a farm.
And a cute dog came out to greet us! It seemed really excited and I bet it wouldn’t have minded if we took it for a road trip (ok, maybe the owner might…)
The soft morning glow actually lasted a really really long time – I think it still looked like this at 10.30am!
The road conditions were far better here. There was little to no ice, and the traffic remains very sparse. It’s almost the perfect road trip.
We were really happy to just be driving around and taking in the amazing scenery, but leaving time to check off some items from the sightseeing checklist is always a must 🙂 Our first stop was the Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum, which was not far from our hostel.
The museum was pretty tiny, but boasted an impressive collection of various animal parts and stuffed animals. There was a young Italian lady working here who showed us around after we watched a video of the hákarl making process (for the uninitiated, hákarl is fermented shark – one of the most infamous foods in Iceland).
And now, it was time for the moment of truth.
Our guide brought us to a table, where a container of hákarl was prepared alongside some bread.
And a close-up:
To be honest, I didn’t find the taste to be too overpowering – yes, there’s a very strong ammonia smell that goes right up your nose, but the taste actually grew on me a little. In fact, I actually bought another small case of hakarl to eat on the flight out of Iceland!
After eating, the guide left us on our own to explore. We decided to head to the back of the museum, where there were tons of shark meat in the process of curing/drying.
Tourists were not allowed to roam freely around the museum as it was private property, but the guide told us several interesting stories of tourists who defied the rules – there was even a group of German tourists who decided to have a barbecue session right in their backyard!
We continued our journey across the north coast of the peninsula. Next stop is Ólafsvík, a picturesque town with a port.
We backtracked towards Grundarfjörður and headed towards the iconic Kirkjufell peak for a good shot. It wasn’t too long of a drive – about 30 mins or less.
Once again, the sheer beautiful of the Snæfellsnes peninsula is astounding.
There was a very thin layer of ice that formed on the small lake. We had quite a bit of fun throwing a sheet of ice onto another sheet of ice, and watching all the ice shatter.
We then moved west across the peninsula towards Ólafsvík.
Located on the west edge of the peninsula is Skarðsvík Beach – black sand beaches and black rock cliffs.
Very scenic view of the snowy mountains, looking back from the beach.
It was getting really late – around 3pm by now. Although the set sets slightly later here, we still had to make the most of our time. So we pushed further towards the South coast of the peninsula.
Right at the Southwest coast was Londrangar – a series of rock cliffs in the water.
We made a quick stop at Hellnar, where I decided to explore the outside, while Xiuling checked out a visitor centre.
The 2nd last stop for the day was Arnarstap, is a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell.
Ytri Tunga’s supposed to be a place where we could see seals, but it was way too late by this time to see any seals. We still made a very quick stop anyway.
Very last stop for the (very) long day: Ölkelda mineral spring. This is a very interesting spring with naturally carbonated water. The water tastes very iron-ny though.
And it’s a wrap! It was going to be a fairly long drive back to Reykjavik, where we would be spending the night. But first, a quick refueling stop at one of the bigger gas stations.
This entry was posted in Europe, Honeymoon, Iceland
- Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum
- Ölkelda mineral spring
- Skarðsvík Beach
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Ytri Tunga