WIT Agent’s Insider Look: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Today is the last day of our “insider’s look” series on Iceland. In case you missed some of the articles, click here to catch up.

Welcome to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula!

Snæfellsnes, a long peninsula jutting out from the western coast of Iceland, is a region steeped in history and geological wonders. Many Icelandic sagas took place in and around the area. The dynamic landscape of Snæfellsnes has also influenced modern literature, most notably Under the Glacier by Halldor Laxness and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.

Light Sand on Dark Lava at Búðir, (c) axelkr, Creative Commons

The region’s unique geology has given rise to spectacular natural wonders, and the jewel of the crown is Snæfellsjökull National Park. Within the park, hikers can explore lava craters, dozens of lava fields, rocky terrain and bird-nested sea cliffs. The eponymous Snæfellsjökull mountain, a statovolcano topped with an ice cap, stretches up 1446 meters (4744 feet). The Saga of Bárður Snæfellsás recounts the detail of a recluse, Bárður, who disappeared into the glacier one day—and guards the mountain still. He is said to have made his first home in the cave of Sönghellir, the “singing cave,” known for its acoustic resonance.

Breiðafjörður, (c) AnSchieber, Creative Commons

Enjoy the local scenery at Breiðafjörður, a fjord separating Snæfellsnes from the looming cliffs of the Westfjords. According to local legend, there are only two things in the world that cannot be counted: the stars in the night sky and the craggy islets in the bay. You can get some great views by walking across the stone causeway to the island of Súgandisey.

Stykkishólmur Church, (c) Kokonis, Creative Commons

Stykkishólmur is known for its wooden warehouses, most dating back 150 years and still in use. The Norska Húsið is worth a peek; built in 1932, the house is now a museum displaying an eclectic collection of local antiques. The Library of Water is also a fascinating stop. This old municipal library features a permanent exhibit by American artist Roni Horn. Twenty-four glass pillars are scattered through the room, each one filled with water from a different glacier around Iceland. Discover more about Icelandic lava flows at the Volcano Museum, which features art and artifacts on the region’s eruptions.

Restaurant at Arnarstapi, (c) mekanoide, Creative Commons

Try the famous hákarl at the on-site museum-farm of Bjarnarhöfn, where you can learn all about the unique practice of fermented shark. Don’t miss the harpooning tools and drying racks. Samples are included with each visit–if you dare

With gorgeous vistas of both land and sea, it’s no surprise that boat tours are popular in Snæfellsnes.  Guides will take you out on their boats and treat you to picture-perfect rides across the bay and to the islands. These rides often include samples of delicious seafood and shellfish. You can even try your hand at sea-angling or whale-watching. Or hop on the Baldur Ferry for a short (1.5 hour) ride to the island of Flatey.

On that note, that concludes our series on Iceland. Thanks for reading. We hope you’ll be inspired to go!

Thinking about a trip to Iceland next summer 2014? Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to chat with one our agents! Wailana would love to share with you more insider tips about traveling to Iceland!

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