Exploring the Snaefellsness Peninsula in Iceland
Iceland seems to be on everyone's bucket list these days. I mean, Get it, I've been there 5 times, and I can't wait to go back. It's such a completely foreign landscape, and it's like no place I've ever seen before.
I believe, in no small part, Instagram is driving people to visit this island nation in the North Atlantic, and I'm sure I've contributed a small part in this rise in popularity. Images of the cathedral in Reykjavik, Gullfoss, Skogafoss, and of course the obligatory shot from the Blue Lagoon are images to be checked off by most visitors to Iceland.
While these locations have nothing wrong with them, and they are all beautiful, I would encourage looking a little farther outside of Reykjavik on your next visit to Iceland and drive 2-3 hours north to the Snaefellsness peninsula. For one reason, you'll find the locations up there less crowded than areas closer to Reykjavik (although this isn't as true as it was a few years ago.) Additionally, you'll find some of the most iconic locations in Iceland on the peninsula. There's the black church at Budir, the old fishing village of Arnarstapi, and, my personal favorite, Kirkjufell mountain. For me, Kirkjufell was reason enough to visit Iceland, so on my first visit, I went straight from Keflavik International Airport to Kirkjufell.
The glacier Snaefellsjokull sits atop volcano on the peninsula, and is responsible for the formation of much of this area of Iceland. Fun trivia fact... Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Center of the Earth features Snaefellsjokull as the opening to a passage to the center of the Earth. So there's that.
You can book day tours out of Reykjavik to the Snaefellsness peninsula. It's a long day, but it will get you to the iconic locations. Alternatively, you could just overnight on the peninsula. There's plenty of hotels, including one right by the black church at Budir, and one that was a former Catholic monastery that still has a chapel where you can see nuns on a daily basis.
For landscape photography on the Snaefellsness peninsula, you pretty much just need a wide angle lens. At least that what I've used. Neutral density filters are nice to have for the waterfalls, especially Kirkjufoss. Waterproof boots that are about knee high are good to have to set up in the steams around Kirkjufell. And of course, you need to be prepared for any type of weather, usually bad. In the past few years, the increased traffic I the area has led to certain areas being roped off. This is to protect the fragile environment, and to keep tourists from falling off cliffs. Please respect these boundaries. Be smart. Please check out more images from Snaefellsness peninsula below, and let me know what else you'd like to know about this region of Iceland.