Kirkjufell mountain in Grundarfjörður on Snæfellsnes peninsula, west Iceland

Mt. Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður

Mt. Kirkjufell (463 m) is the most prominent mountain in Grundarfjörður and a landmark of the fishing town. The mountain is free-standing and referred to as the most beautiful mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula - some even say the whole of Iceland.

The name Kirkjufell means Church Mountain as it is considered to resemble a church. Danish sailors, who frequently visited this area in the olden days called this dignified mountain "Sukkertoppen" or the Sugar Top.  That name did not stick ;)

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

For the past few years, Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall have become the most popular place for a photo stop here in Grundarfjörður. You will see crowds of visitors with tripods and cameras taking photos like the one above, i.e. from this angle with the waterfall in front. 

We at Guide to Iceland call this mountain Iurie Belegurschi's mountain, as he has taken the most beautiful photos of Mt. Kirkjufell and organises very popular photo tours, f.ex. the Snæfellsnes and South Iceland Winter Photo Workshop. You can see two of his beautiful epic photos of Mt. Kirkjufell below.

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in SnæfellsnesAnd this one with the beautiful Northern lights...

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

The old road was located on top of the waterfall, where you can see the old bridge, so the waterfall wasn't that apparent until the road was moved.

Iceland has got so many beautiful waterfalls and this one has got a short drop, so we didn't pay much attention to it.  But from this angle, the waterfall in the front and the distinctive mountain in the background makes for a beautiful photo - and now everybody wants a photo like this one :)  

My grandfather was raised here in Grundarfjörður and on the wall in my living room, I have a painting of Mt. Kirkjufell, which a well known Icelandic painter painted for him. "My" mountain as it were, Mt. Kirkjufell, has now become one of Iceland's best-known mountains. I have always loved it and am glad that our visitors like it too - it is for sure a very picturesque mountain. 

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

The name of the river is Kirkjufellsá river, which runs from a volcano called Helgrindur. There are 3 waterfalls in this river, all of which have the same name, Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.

You can also walk down to the waterfall and even go behind it, which I haven't done myself, but I took a photo of Antonio, the guide at Nicetravel, running down the hill and appearing in between the waterfalls. I joined Nicetravel's Snæfellsnes National Park Day Tour once and have written a travel-blog on the tour.

I include this photo of Antonio as it shows how big this small waterfall really is in comparison to a human being. So maybe we should not be calling it a small waterfall when we are so much smaller ;)

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

Now, in my photo above you can see my favourite angle of Mt. Kirkjufell;  the bench and Mt. Kirkjufell in the distance. This bench can be found at the end of one of the residential streets and we always go there and take a photo like the one above.

There is nobody here as opposed to the myriad of people by the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

But I do understand why people would like to have a photo of the waterfall and Mt. Kirkjufell together, it has become a classic photo. This land belongs to farmers in this area, and the intrusion on their land has become way too much in a short amount of time.

In 2014 the landowners accepted that a parking lot be added to their land and trails to the waterfall from the parking lot. Then the traffic increased to an extent which could not have been foreseen.  

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

At times there are even small traffic jams here when the parking lot is full. I have seen many cars parked by the road, but do refrain from doing so as it increases the risk of accidents on the road and is of course forbidden.

Maybe it is better to find another photo stop as we do not want to cause the farmers any aggravation. Some visitors even leave rubbish behind and show disrespect, such as pooping in the parking lot!

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

Some people hike on Mt. Kirkjufell, but that is a very difficult hike and we had seen 2 fatal accidents here lately - a woman in 2017 and a man in 2018. And several accidents :( So please be very careful here, we want our foreign visitors to return home safely from their travels in Iceland.

Check out these new tours: 


Grundarfjörður town

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

In my photo above you will see Grundarfjörður in the distance as seen from Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. 

Fishing is the main industry in Grundarfjörður town, but tourism is a growing industry as well here.  The population of Grundarfjörður is ca 1,000 people.

I have relatives here and have often camped at the campsite at Kverná, which is owned by my father's cousins. I have written a lot more information on Grundarfjörður town in my travel-blog the Magical Snæfellsnes peninsula in West-Iceland - Part IV.  Including the church and more interesting things to see and do in this lovely town.  

In this travel-blog, I am mainly focusing on Mt. Kirkjufell and the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. Grundarfjörður is on road 54 on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula - 185 km from Reykjavík. Here you can see the location of Grundarfjörður on the map

Mt. Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss in Grundarfjörður - the most photographed Mountain in Snæfellsnes

You can either rent a car in Reykjavík, go on a self-drive summer tour, a self-drive winter tour, or join one of the myriads of guided tours to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Check out the great selection of guided tours to Snæfellsnes: 

I have written a series of travel-blogs on Snæfellsnes as there is just so much history and places of interest everywhere you look: 

Have fun in my grandfather's town :)

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