Information about Snæfellsjökull

Snæfellsjökull glacier above the black church at Búðir village.

Snæfellsjökull is a glacier-capped volcano found on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in west Iceland. It stands in a National Park of the same name, one of the only three National Parks in the country.

It stands at 1,446 metres (4,744 feet) tall, and on clear days, is visible across the bay from Reykjavík. The stratovolcano beneath Snæfellsjökull is 700,000-year-old.

The mountain is actually called 'Snæfell' (Snowy Mountain), though the 'jökull' (Glacier) is often added to help distinguish it from other mountains of the same name.

For the first time in recorded history, Snæfellsjökull had no snow or ice at its peak in August 2012, causing concern amongst locals that climate change is threatening the nature of the mountain.

History

Snæfellsjökull has several small villages surrounding it, including Hellissandur, Rif and Ólafsvík, all of which were some of the busiest commercial and fishing hubs in the country for much of the last millennium.

Fishing took off primarily in the 13th-Century, with fishing stations being built in all areas with easy access to the open ocean. The Snæfellsnes Peninsula was a notable centre of this industry, due to the fertile waters within Breiðafjörður bay.

One notable example would be the settlement of Dritvík; in spite of its minuscule size today, it once utilised around forty to sixty boats and employed up to six hundred people.

Fishing in the region declined during the 19th century due to change in Iceland’s industry and fish stocks, though it is still an important source of livelihood for those living on the Peninsula.

The Snæfellsjökull National Park was established in 2001, and tourism is rapidly changing the trade of the area.

In Folklore

Snæfellsjökull has, for centuries, been considered to be one of the world’s ancient power sites, a source of mysticism, energy and mystery for the peninsula’s superstitious population.

The feature takes a prominent role in Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss, a late 14th-century saga that tells the story of  Bárður, half-human-half-troll, who became the 'guardian spirit of Snæfellsjökull'.

There are many rock formations on and around Snæfellsjökull that are said to be trolls petrified by sunlight, or else homes of the hidden people.

On November 5th, 1993, thousands of people came to Snæfellsjökull as some paranormal enthusiasts believed there would be an alien landing; CNN even showed up with a camera crew. Though the evening passed without a galactic invasion, the incident shows the strange significance of Snæfellsjökull to many.

In Literature

Snæfellsjökull serves as the entrance to a fantastical subterranean world in Jules Verne’s classic 1864 novel 'Journey to The Centre of The Earth.' Given its central place in the novel, Snæfellsjökull has become one of the most popular spots for visitors in Iceland and has inspired a wealth of writers, poets and artists.

Since 'Journey to The Centre of The Earth', Snæfellsjökull has appeared in the ‘Blind Birds’ trilogy by Czech science fiction writer Ludvík Souček (partially based on Jules’ work) and in ‘Under The Glacier’, a novel by Iceland’s only Nobel laureate, Halldór Laxness.

Nearby Attractions

Londrangar are basalt stacks near the mighty glacier.

Along with the glacier, attractions on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula include the two nearby basalt cliffs called Lóndrangar and the many fascinating lava formations at the beautiful Djúpalónssandur beach, such as the arch rock Gatklettur.

At Djúpalónssandur, one can also test their muscle as historic sailors once did with the four 'strength' stones, Amlóði ('Useless'), Hálfdrættingur ('Weakling'), Hálfsterkur ('Half Strength') and Fullsterkur ('Full Strength').  

In the area, one can also explore the Saxhóll volcano crater and 'the singing cave' Sönghellir, which is named after the loud echoes inside.

 

Services near Snæfellsjökull

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Attractions nearby Snæfellsjökull

Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes is a large peninsula extending from West Iceland, often nicknamed ‘Iceland in Miniature’ due to its wealth and diversi...

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Sönghellir Cave

Sönghellir, or 'Song Cave', is a cave on the Snæfellsnes peninsula famed for its echoing quality. The acoustics inside have a magic...

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Vatnshellir Cave

Photo from Into the Underworld | Vatnshellir Caving Tour Vatnshellir Cave is a lava tube on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and a popular site for ca...

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Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Emstrur.  Rauðfelsdsgjá, which translates to Red Mountain Rift, is a beautiful gorge in Botnsfjall Mount...

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Snæfellsjökull National Park

Snæfellsjökull National Park is found on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and is one of three National Parks in Iceland. It is ...

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Lóndrangar

The Lóndrangar basalt cliffs are amongst the many geological wonders of the Snæfellnes peninsula. Geology of Lóndrangar Once a...

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Arnarstapi

Arnarstapi is a village on the southern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, once a fishing hub and now a place for travellers to refuel before ...

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Djúpalónssandur

Djúpalónssandur is an arched-shaped bay of dark cliffs and black sand, located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland.&...

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Hellnar

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 pe...

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Gatklettur

Gatklettur ("Hellnar Arch") is a famous, naturally formed stone arch found between the villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar on the Snæ...

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Saxhóll

 Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Diego Delso.  Saxhóll is one of the most popular craters on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, f...

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Ölkelda

  Olkelda is a farm in the south of Snaefellsnes, taking its name from a renowned mineral spring close by. The pristine mineral spring by the O...

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Ólafsvík

Olafsvik is a fishing town of just over a 1000 people, located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.  Economy and services Olafsvik h...

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Skarðsvík Beach

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Ulrich Latzenhofer.  A golden sandy beach found on the northwestern tip of the Snæfellsnes P...

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Hellissandur

Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Chensiyuan Hellissandur is a village dating back to the 16th Century, found on the northwesternmost ...

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Búðir

Búðir is a small hamlet in the municipality of Snæfellsbær on the westernmost tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The ha...

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Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell, or 'Church Mountain', is a distinctly shaped peak found on the north shore of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula, only ...

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Grundarfjörður

Wikimedia, Creative CommonsChensiyuan  Grundarfjörður is a small town found on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula ...

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Melrakkaey

Melrakkaey ("Fox Island") is a small island found at the mouth of Grundarfjörður. Melrakkaey was protected in 1972 and today, onl...

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Ytri Tunga Beach

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by pjt56. Ytri Tunga is a beach by a farm of the same name on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Unlike many...

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