Helgafell bjerg rejseguide
Helgafell is a 240 ft (73 meters) mountain by a farm and church site of the same name. Steeped in folklore, it is said to grant the wishes of those who climb it in the correct manner.
Photo from Regína Hrönn.
Helgafell Mountain is located on Thorsnes, south of Stykkisholmur, on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. An excellent way to visit this area is on a self-drive tour, such as this 7-Day Budget Self Drive Tour of Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula & the South Coast.
The mountain has a rich history dating back to the settlement of Iceland and is, by many locals, considered to be a sacred site. One of the traditions surrounding Helgafell is to climb the hill without looking back, make a wish at the top, and then climb down without looking back. After doing so, it is said that your wish will come true.
Whether or not the superstition holds true, visitors climbing the hill will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the surrounding area, including the beautiful bay of Breidafjordur.
Religion and History of Helgafell
In Landnamabok, a medieval written work describing the settlement of Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries, a man by the name of Thorolfr Mostrarskegg settled down near Helgafell. Thorolfr was pagan and named the peninsula after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Thorolfr considered Helgafell mountain sacred and decreed that no man should look in its direction unwashed and that nothing should be killed on the mountain, neither man nor beast.
After Iceland adopted Christianity in the year 1000, there has always been a church in Helgafell, the current one having been built in 1903. In the middle ages, an Augustinian monastery was located there, an important seat of learning for the West of Iceland.
Photo from Regína Hrönn.
Things to Do in Helgafell
Visiting the top of Helgafell is a relatively easy hike, but visitors are encouraged to wear proper hiking shoes and respect the site's cultural significance. Atop Helgafell, hikers are rewarded with a panoramic view of Breidafjordur Bay and Snaefellsnes Peninsula. A view dial on top of the mountain shows the names and heights of all the mountains in the surrounding area. A small mound of rocks can also be found there, believed to be from the Augustinian monastery's chapel.
While in the area, visiting the small but charming church can also be worthwhile. Some believe Gudrun Osvifursdottir, one of the heroines from the Icelandic sagas, is buried there.
Visiting the town of Stykkisholmur, located only a few miles away, is also recommended. A charming town with colorful houses and a picturesque harbor, walking around Stykkisholmur is a great way to spend an afternoon. Several great tours are also operated from the town, such as the Puffin Watching Tour on Breiðafjordur Bay.
Additionally, Mt. Kirkjufell and various coastal areas in the region provide opportunities for further exploration and sightseeing.