Strandarkirkja church in Reykjanes

The rough and raw Reykjanes – part I

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Kleifarvatn in Reykjanes


Explore the raw beauty of Reykjanes peninsula

I want to introduce you to some amazingly beautiful attractions close to our capital city Reykjavík. They are located in the Reykjanes peninsula, a rugged raw peninsula with a lunar-like landscape; volcanic and geothermal wonders with steaming hot lava. 

You will also experience soft moss, black rocky beaches, wild waves, cliffs and amazing rock formations. This route includes the famous Blue Lagoon too. 

Earthquakes are quite common in this area because of the volcanic fissure zone. I want to split this area into two articles, because there are so many attractions there to explore. Let me start this interesting tour by lake Kleifarvatn

Kleifarvatn lake

Kleifarvatn Is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula situated on the fissure zone of the Mid Atlantic Ridge with depth of 97m. A small walking path circles the lake so its possible to do a little hike among those black lava rocks surrounding the lake. 

Kleifarvatn lake in Reykjanes

Its really picturesque and epic with its black sandy beaches and steep rocks, cliffs and small caves.  The soft green moss in between gives the lunar landscape some softness and color. According to legend the lake is said to be inhabited by a monster. I still havn´t seen it but who knows. Maybe you will !? 

If you are interested in hunting the northern lights during winter time then this area is also great because its almost free from light pollution. Sometimes fishermen can be seen around the lake searching for trout that can be found in the lake.

Seltún geothermal area

Seltún is a geothermal field with solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs. You will smell the area long before arrival and once you are there its like landing on a different planet. The soil there is bright yellow, red and green, steamy and burning hot. 

Seltún geothermal area in Reykjanes peninsula

A wooden walking path loops through the area making it easy to walk around and explore the extreme hot earth. Its very impressive to explore this field and walk through the steamy region giving a strange smell from the sulfate. 

Some people have described Seltún like this: “ its like corner of hell, with a horrible smell, steam and vigorously hissing jets of water bursting from the ground”. I can totally understand why but as a local I actually like the smell. Just remember to be careful because its burning hot

Grænavatn lake

Grænavatn lake in Reykjanes peninsula

Grænavatn means green lake and is a volcanic crater lake or maar created by explosion of overheated groundwater. The color of the lake is green-blue. Its not very big and you can view the whole lake from the little parking place above it. If you are interested in hiking, there are hiking trails up there leading you to another steamy area called “Engjahver” and “Stórihver”


Strandarkirkja church

Strandarkirkja church in Reykjanes

Strandarkirkja is a beautiful little wooden church built right on the coast.  The atmosphere there is quite special and mystical and if you want to read the full story of this church then its quite interesting. 

The church is separated from the beach where the ocean meets harsh volcanic rocks and black sand by wall of rocks.  Small stairs leeds you down to the beach.  Its very impressive to view the ocean from there.  I like it the most when the tide is high and the waves are wild and big.

Stay tuned for Reykjanes peninsula part II and pls get in touch if you want more information!