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.
Points of Interest
- Bjarnarhofn Shark Farm
- Beidafjordur Cruise
More about Grundarfjordur, Iceland Points of Interest
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Djupalonssandur & Arnarstapi
Take in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula's natural beauty during this journey to Djupalonssandur, a tranquil, black-pebbled beach, and Hellnar, a quiet fishing village with breathtaking volcanic rock formations. Walk along the cliffs of Arnarstapi, home to a myriad of birds, and marvel at Budir's light sand beach and black lava fields.
Bjarnarhofn Shark Farm & Helgafell
- Bjarnarhofn Shark Farm
After a captivating tour through Bjarnarhöfn Shark Farm, dare to taste fermented shark, an Icelandic delicacy, followed by local schnapps known as "Black Death." Snap photos at Berserkergata, a lava field featured in a famous ninth-century Icelandic saga, and Stykkisholmur, a thriving fishing village, before exploring legendary mountain Helgafell.
Moderate Activity, Includes snack
Easy Breidafjordur Archipelago Cruise
- Beidafjordur Cruise
During this awe-inspiring cruise, marvel at the serene natural beauty of Breidafjordur Bay with its magnificent seascapes, islets and skerries, renowned racing tides and extraordinary bird- and marine life including puffins, kittiwakes, sea eagles, gray seals, porpoises and beautiful minke whales. Plus, savor fresh-caught shellfish pulled straight from the sea.
Best of Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Explore and photograph the Snæfellsnes Peninsula's dramatic landscape, quaint fishing villages, breathtaking volcanic rock formations, sheer cliffs, vast array of seabirds and fascinating ties to Icelandic legends on this picturesque journey to Helgafell, Stykkisholmur, Arnarstapi, Hellnar and Djupalonssandur. Savor a hearty lunch at a local eatery along the way.
Moderate Activity, Includes meal