Au bout de la péninsule se trouve le volcan Snæfellsjökull recouvert d'un glacier. Snæfellsjökull n'est pas seulement une montagne pittoresque, elle a joué un rôle dans le roman "Voyage au centre de la Terre" de Jules Verne comme point d'entrée vers le centre de la Terre.
En chemin vers le bout de la péninsule, nous nous arrêtons à l'hôtel de campagne de Budir qui était autrefois un avant-poste de pêche qui a été transformé en l'un des meilleurs hôtels d'Islande. Nous pouvons déjeuner à cet hôtel.
Sur la côte autour du glacier, vous trouvez le petit village de pêcheur d'Arnarstapi. Ce petit havre de paix prend vie en été avec ses nombreux petits bateaux colorés venant et partant de son port. Un peu plus à l'Ouest, vous découvrez la côte dramatique de Djúpalónssandur. C'était au 19ème siècle, un avant-poste de pêche. Il est difficile à croire qu'il y avait des habitants ici durant les hivers rudes pêchant sur cette mer aux vagues géantes. Nous pouvons aussi voir les débris d'un navire qui s'est échoué ici au milieu du 20ème siècle et les galets de couleur noir de toutes tailles qui font la renommée de cette plage.
Nous poursuivons vers le glacier Snæfellsjökull. Nous passons par Fiskibyrgi, les plus vieux bâtiment construits à mains nues d'Islande. Certains ont plus de 1 000 ans et étaient autrefois des magasins vendant du poisson séché. Nous visitons le site en une vingtaine de minutes.
Maintenant il est temps de prendre la route retour vers la capitale. Nous passons par deux villages de pêcheurs sur la côte nord de la péninsule puis nous traversons la côte sud pour rejoindre Reykjavik.
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The Snaefellsjokull national park has many famous sites, with the magnificent Snaefellsjokull glacier as its crown jewel.
Along with the glacier, attractions include the two basalt cliffs called Londrangar and the many fascinating lava formations at the beautiful Djupalonssandur creek, such as the arch rock Gatklettur. At Djupalonssandur you may also has test your strength on the four stones, Amlodi ('Useless'), Halfdraettingur ('Weakling'), Halfsterkur (Half Strength') and Fullsterkur ('Full Strength'). The Saxholl volcano crater is worth checking out and so are the many fascinating caves, such as 'the singing cave' Songhellir, called so due to its echoes and the Vatnshellir lava tube. We do adwise uttermost caution when entering the caves and to enter them with a seasoned guide. Snaefellsjokull itself features strongly in folklore and was the site for Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Snaefellsnes is a large peninsula extending to the west from West Iceland ending with a national park, Snaefellsjokull National Park, where the glacier towers over the scenery, as can sometimes be seen from Reykjavik, lending its beauty to the area.
The peninsula stretches over 100 km to the west as a mountain ridge that includes active volcanoes and is unique in the variety of mountains found.
A few small and beautiful villages are located on the south side and a few fishing villages are on the north side: Rif, Hellissandur, Olafsvik, Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur. The last one is highly popular for travelers, featuring a volcano museum and a ferry that takes you across the fascinating Breidafjordur bay to Brjanslaekur on the south border of the Westfjords.
Other museums you might want to check out are the Maritime Museum at Hellissandur, the regional museum Pakkhusid at Olafsvik, and, last but not least, the shark museum at Bjarnarhofn, indeed listed as the nr. 1 Snafellsnes attraction by Lonely Planet Travelers. Also, many of the Icelandic sagas take place at Snaefellsnes.
Snaefellsnes has an abundance of interesting sights. At the national park, you can witness the impressive lava formations of Djupalonssandur creek and test your strength on its four stones, see the two massive lava formations that compries Londrangar, explore the Saxholl volcanic crater and enjoy the echo of 'The Singing Cave', Songhellir. You may also hike on the majestic Snaefellsjokull glacier. The glacier has strong ties with folklore and was the setting for Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Other sights we can recommend at Snaefellsnes recommend include Raudfeldsgja canyon, east of the national park and the rugged and colourful Berserkjahraun lava field, near Bjarnarhofn, on the north side of the peninsula.
Last, but not least, Snaefellsnes is one of the main setting for Laxdaela saga. Chieftain Snorri godi, Gudrun Osvifursdottir, Bolli Thorlakssson all lived there as well as his namesake Bolli Bollason, the first West Norse member of the Varangian guard, an elite unit of the Byzantine army. Iceland's most famous mass murderer, Axlar-Bjorn, also lived at Snaefellsnes.
Hellnar is an old fishing village on the westernmost part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. It used to be one of the largest fishing stations of the peninsula, the oldest record of seafaring there being from 1560.
At the shore are spectacular rock formations. Among them is a protruding cliff called Valasnos. Tunneling into the cliff is a cave renowned for its changing colourful hues, according to the light and sea movement. Large colonies of birds also nest in the area.
At Gvendarbrunnar a.k.a. Mariulind you can taste excellent spring water which is said to have healing powers.
Hellnar hosts the guesthouse for Snaefellsnes National Park and has a very interesting exhibition about the economy of former times and on the geology, flora and fauna of the national park.
Arnarstapi is a village in the southern part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The area has several old and charming houses with interesting stories to them and is furthermore renowned for its beautiful nature.
The beach holds a particular attraction. It has an eroded circular stone arch, called Gatklettur, and three rifts, Hundagja,Midgja and Musagja. The interplay of spectacular waves and the light of the sun creates a fascinating spectacle. Large colonies of the arctic tern also nest in the area.
An old horse trail through the lava field Hellnahraun is highly popular for hiking, due to the impressiveness of the surrounding landscape.
Olafsvik is a fishing town of just over a 1000 people, located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Olafsvik has a good natural harbour and it has a thriving fishing industry. Other main sources of the economy are commerce and services. Accomodation can be had in the town, at Hotel Olafsvik, sleeping bag accommodation is available at the Lysuholl Community Center, and camping grounds are open from June through August.
The Pakkhus at Olafsvik is a regional museum and a center for culture and art. It is open in the summer. The building is an old trading store, built in 1844. The first floor has a handicrafts store and a coffee shop and on the upper floor guests can get to experience the feel of a 19th century home and the life of seafarers and farmers in former times. The exhibition 'Krambudarloftid' bears witness to Icelandic trade history. The museum also functions as an information center for travelers. The town also features a small maritime museum, located by the harbour.
A short drive from Olafsvik is the 412 m high Gufuskalar radio mast, the highest structure in Iceland, and for a time the highest in Western Europe.
There are many opportunities available for travelers in the area, such as birdwatching, hiking and exploring the sandy beaches. Near to the town is a pleasant waterfall called Baejarfoss, well worth visitng. Furthermore, though, Olafsvik lies right next to Snaefellsjokull National Park. At the park you can see many fascinating attractions. These include 'The Singing Cave' of Songhellir, the beautiful Djupalonssandur beach by the village Arnarstapi, with its amazing lava formations, the Saxholl volcano crater, the magnificent Londrangar lava rocks and more.
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