Day #4 in Iceland is the day I've been just DYING to tell you all about! It was seriously my favorite day of the trip and I think I may have quite possibly found one of my favorite places on this earth.
As I told you all in the previous posts, Melissa and I rented a car for our time there. It made the trip super easy and convenient and it allowed us to explore more than a simple tour would (and for a lot less money). In my research I read countless other travel blogs on the places you must see when in Iceland and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula was mentioned over and over and over again. And I'm here to add it to those mentions... because it's absolutely amazing!
We did the whole road trip in one day from about 8:00am (we left when it was dark so we could reach our first stop when the sun was rising) to about 6:00pm when we arrived back in Reykjavik. Perhaps in the summer we would have taken longer and maybe even made it two days to include hikes and more outside time. But, because it was winter and frigid, we usually spent about 10-15 minutes at each stop and enjoyed most of our scenic views from the comfort of the warm car. It's also important to comfort any of your worries that I used my phone GPS for all of our navigation and never lost reception. All of the names were easy to find and it was a seamless transition from stop to stop.
I'll save you all from a long introduction because I'll likely be obsessively blabbing on and on in each stop's description so without further adieu:
Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula Road Trip:
Stop #1- Ytri Tunga (Seal Beach)
This was our first stop and we arrived just as the sun was rising. Its a beautiful little beach with lava formation, crashing waves, huge rocks, and usually seals. Because it was the dead of winter there were no seals for us to hang out with, but it was still amazingly gorgeous.
My travel buddy Melissa is Hawaiian so she adorably just started spinning in circles with joy to be on the beach! Little did she know we'd be doing an entire coastal drive that day and every new stop would have her just as excited! We stayed here for a little while just sitting on a rock and enjoying the sight, but eventually are toes went numb so back to the car we went.
Stop #2- Budir Black Little Church
Only about 10 minutes down the road we come to the little black church that is pretty iconic and present in most tourist photos of Iceland. It's every bit as cute and pretty yet dark and mysterious as you can imagine. It's surrounded by lava rock and the ocean and it has such an eerie historic vibe that you can't help but adore it.
We learned it was the first ever church in Iceland. Not too sure about why it's black, but I'm sure that's a fact you can learn for yourself when you visit. We grabbed a few photos and pressed on!
Stop #3- Ondverdarnes- The Western Most Tip of Iceland
To reach this area we drove straight up and through the mountains which was exciting but also terrifying in winter. It provided some of the most amazing views while we were driving and as we descended the mountain to head more west we drove along coastal cliffs that were formed by lava rock so they had an amazing black color set beside the incredibly blue water.
We drove through one of Iceland's National parks which was very odd and different from what I'm used to. It was complete no-man's land and a complete lava field that was snow-covered and unique. As we got to the coast we hit more gorgeous cliffs and arrived at the western-most point. We saw the pretty orange lighthouse that looks amazing in the black and white scenery and enjoyed a hot chocolate. There are very nice picnic areas that I would absolutely recommend during a summer trip.
Stop #4- Gamla Rif
Gamla is a small town about 20 minutes from stop #3. We stopped here for a very local (and finally cheap because there wasn't tourism price inflation in such a small town) bowl of fish soup. If you're taking this road trip I highly recommend stopping here or any of the small towns you pass for a very authentic meal.
Stop #5- Kirkjufell Mountain
This is the one guys. Honestly, I could pull an Ernest Hemingway and find a small cabin in the nearby town and live out the rest of my days with views of this mountain. This is the iconic cone-shaped mountain and it's every bit as beautiful, arguably more, as you see in photos. This mountain is classic in pictures of Iceland and is located just north of a small town and right on the ocean bay.
From every angle Kirkjufell looks incredible and stands massive against the scenery. If you don't do anything else in Iceland take a day and visit this mountain. Aside form the Teton range in Wyoming this is my favorite mountain I have visited (and if you follow my travels, I'm obsessed with mountains). So, do yourself a favor and GO!
Stop #6- Helgafell Mountain
Helgafell Mountain was our last stop and it was very nice, but my excited still was completely dedicated to Kirkjufell. There is a local myth though that you can make three wishes upon this mountain, so of course we did!
I will again state the fact that this was my favorite day of the trip. Each sight was more beautiful than the last and it gave me such a clear understanding of how unique, massive, and special the Icelandic landscape is. If you only have a few days in Iceland I recommend making this a priority. It will bring you so close to nature that you will actually feel it's energy and it will hopefully touch you the way it touched me. I plan on getting back to this region of Iceland as soon as possible and I quite honestly cannot wait.