Grundarfjordur, Iceland

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Sailing into Grundarfjordur, one travels into Iceland's heroic past, for this township - village really - is one of the oldest settlements on the island. The imposing landscape with its austere mountains, volcanoes and lava fields provided the dramatic setting for one of Iceland's cultural treasures, the sagas. Composed in the 10 and 11th centuries, the Icelandic sagas represent one of the oldest literary traditions in Western Europe. They are tales of migration and settlement, war and blood feud, Christianity versus the old dark gods of Norse mythology. In Grundarfjordur, the world of the saga is still present. One can tread the "Berserkers' Path" or climb the hillock called Helgafell, the "Holy Hill" mentioned in the Laxdæla saga where Vikings once worshipped Thor.

Much of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a national park. The park's centerpiece is the mighty Snæfellsjokull, an imposing stratovolcano with flanks buried beneath a glacial flow. The mountain is a frequent setting in Icelandic myth. The peninsula is also a birdwatcher's paradise.

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  • Djupalonssandur Djupalonssandur

    Once a bustling fishing village, this serenely beautiful black-pebbled beach soothes with a tinkling sound each time the tide rolls through its timeworn surface. Four giant lifting stones used to test fishermen's strength still remain.

  • Arnarstapi Arnarstapi

    With roots deep in Icelandic legend, this quaint fishing port stuns with dramatic volcanic rock formations including three blowholes and spectacular sweeping cliffs that house kittiwakes, arctic tern, razorbills and other seabirds.

  • Helgafell Helgafell

    A temple honoring Norse god Thor once graced the 240-foot summit of Helgafell, "the holy mountain," the celebrated last home and resting place for the heroine of the Laxdœla Saga, an ancient Icelandic love story.

  • Bjarnarhofn Shark Farm Bjarnarhofn Shark Farm

    After learning the basics of fermenting shark and touring this fascinating farm and museum, brave souls can sample hákarl, an Icelandic delicacy, and wash it down with Brennivin, local schnapps known as "Black Death."

  • Stykkisholmur Stykkisholmur

    The largest town on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this thriving center of commerce and tourism offers excellent fishing, access to the fjords, magnificent views and excursions and amazingly preserved Icelandic houses and buildings.

  • Beidafjordur Cruise Beidafjordur Cruise

    While taking in idyllic Breidafjordur, a shallow bay known for its dramatic tidal currents, splendid scenery and thrilling bird- and wildlife population, spot white-tailed eagles, puffins, cormorants, gray seals, dolphins and whales.

  • Grundarfjordur Grundarfjordur

    During an engaging guided walking tour through this fascinating town, learn the ins and outs of Icelandic life, culture and customs, past and present, to form a compelling portrait of this nation and its people.

  • Berserkergata Berserkergata

    According to the 9th century Eyrbyggja, a Viking saga, two Berserkers were hired to forge Iceland's first road through this massive lava field. The two finished the task in record time - only to be murdered by their employer while relaxing in a sauna.


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