The Snæfellsnes Peninsula can be done in a day trip from Reykjavik, but prepare yourself for a long day! Get a good night’s sleep, charge your camera batteries, and get ready to see some of Iceland’s most beautiful landscapes! The drive from Reykjavik to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula takes about 2 hours.
TIP: Hire a Local Guide in Iceland
Jórunn, a Reykjavik local and talented photographer, was our helpful tour guide on our Snæfellsnes Peninsula self drive for the day!
Jórunn led us to all of the most beautiful places along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. She was absolutely invaluable as we were planning our trip to Iceland, offering endless tips and advice. We found Jórunn through a blog she writes on a helpful planning site, Guide to Iceland. In addition to the helpful advice she provided as we were in the planning stages of our trip, she offered to join us on some of our adventures, at a very reasonable day rate! She took us to places we would have never been able to find on our own and also taught me some new photography tips along the way! If you’re looking to see much of Iceland on your own, as opposed to going with a large bus company, consider hiring a private guide like Jórunn.
A Drive Along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland
We were grateful to have our own vehicle (through Geysir Rental) while exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, allowing us to stay in any given place as long as we wanted!
The scenery on the way to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is so stunning. We guarantee you will want to stop for many photos along the way!
Icelandic horses can be found all over the country, including on the journey to the peninsula. They are the friendliest of creatures and will usually approach anyone who stops to take a photo. If you stop often like we did, the drive from Reykjavik could end up taking longer than 2 hours. For more time on the peninsula, consider booking accommodations near the start of the peninsula.
Create Your Own Snæfellsnes Peninsula Tour
We stopped at the following 9 stops on our Snæfellsnes Peninsula self drive tour. If you’re looking to do a similar day trip from Reykjavik, feel free to follow the same itinerary!
Stop #1: Búðir
Our first stop on the peninsula was the tiny village of Búðir. The tiny black church in Búðir is one of the village’s main structures along the windswept sandy and lava rock beaches.
Stop #2: Arnarstapi
Our next stop was the quaint fishing village of Arnarstapi. No doubt, you can always find fresh fish in Iceland!
Be sure to check out the natural arch formation- Gatklettur during your stop in Arnarstapi.
Another not-to-be-missed feature in Arnarstapi is the statue of Bárður Snæfellsás.
Stop #3: Hellnar Beach
You will find some spectacular rock formations at Hellnar Beach, including another naturally form arch. Ready for lunch? You’re in luck! There is a cafe here called Fjöruhúsið (which means Harbor House in English). Simple meals like pastries, waffles, and their special seafood soup, are available. Keep in mind, they are closed during the winter months.
Stop #4: Snæfellsjökull Glacier
Ok, so we didn’t technically stop at the glacier. Though Snæfellsjökull is so massive, it be seen throughout much of the drive on the peninsula. If time permits, you can actually go on a guided snowmobile or snow cat tour of Snæfellsjökull. This glacier/mountain is one of the most famous sites of Iceland, primarily due to the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne. In this adventurous tale, protagonists find the entrance to a passage leading to the center of the earth on Snæfellsjökull.
Want someone else to do the driving on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula? Check out these tours!
Stop #5: Dagverðará Abandoned House
We then came across an old abandoned house- Dagverðará.
After leaving the abandoned house, we drove closer to the seaside cliffs, just to see the view!
Stop #6: Lóndrangar
Next, we drove to Lóndrangar basalt cliffs including a pair of sharp, volcanic plugs protruding near the ocean. The tallest pillar measures 247 feet (75 m) and the smaller of the two measures 200 feet (61 m). The surrounding area has abundant bird life, so keep your eyes peeled for puffins!
Stop #7: Malariff Lighthouse
Near Lóndrangar is the Malariff Lighthouse. The off-shore wind was intense, creating some monster waves on the nearby cliffs! Near the lighthouse we came across a sturdy, homemade zip-line. What a fun, impromptu adventure!
Stop #8: Djúpalónssandur Beach
The walk from the parking area to Djúpalónssandur is other worldly. And the beach itself is definitely worth checking out! It was the final beach stop on our self guided Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour.
Stop #9: Mt Kirkjufell
As the sun was setting, we made Mt Kirkjufell the final stop for the day before making the 2 hour drive back to Reykjavik.
We did this drive in March, so our hours of sunlight were limited. Do your Snæfellsnes Peninsula self drive in the summer months and you will have much more time to explore! Despite our limited daylight, it was a day trip full of beauty, awe, and wonderful memories!
For a (printable) quick-reference destination guide to what we did during our entire stay in south Iceland (where we stayed, where and what we ate, activities, money saving tips, etc.), click here.