Tjornes Peninsula Travel Guide
Tjornes is a small peninsula located in the North of Iceland. Located close to the town of Husavik, Tjornes is known for its impressive geology and vibrant birdlife.
One of the best ways to fully take in the beauty of Tjornes is from a viewing platform on the cliff of Hringsbjarg, located on the east side of the peninsula. There you can stretch out, breathe in the fresh sea air and meet the Icelandic puffin.
Tjornes Peninsula is roughly 9 miles (15 kilometers) from Husavik and 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Akureyri. The best way to visit this area is on a relaxed self-drive tour, such as this 7-day Arctic Coast Way self-drive, available in the summer months.
The puffin is one of Iceland's most famous residents, and Tjornes is an excellent place to get up close and personal with this fascinating seabird. Instantly recognizable from their distinctive and colorful appearance, puffins have stocky bodies with black feathers on their back and white feathers on their belly. Their most recognizable feature is their vibrant orange beak, which has a characteristic shape and grows larger during the breeding season. Puffins also have bright orange legs and webbed feet.
Puffins are skilled divers who primarily feed on small fish, such as sand eels, herring, and squid. They use their wings to "fly" underwater and catch prey with their beaks. Puffins can dive to depths of up to 200 feet (60 meters) to find food. These adorable, winged divers can be seen up close along with some of Iceland's gentle giants in the Whale Watching & Puffin Safari RIB Boat Tour from Húsavík.
Geology of Tjornes
Stretching into the Greenland Sea, Tjornes lies on the Tjornes Fracture Zone, a prominent seismic rift that marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The area experiences frequent seismic activity and is particularly interesting to geologists and researchers studying plate tectonics.
Tjornes is famous for its fossil layers which offer a glimpse into the long and interesting history of geological formations in the area. These fossils are of great interest to scientists who can use them to track changes in climate and biology throughout the ages.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Jóna Þórunn.
Among the many things to see in Tjornes is a large rock called Torfasteinn, believed to have arrived with sea ice from Greenland centuries ago. Although the coast is littered with stones assumed to be from Greenland, Torfasteinn is of particular interest because of its size and weight.
The name of the rock is also associated with a bit of dark folklore. It is said that two workers on a farm near Tjornes pined over the same woman. After competing for her love, one of the workers murdered the other and rowed out to sea to get rid of the evidence by throwing the body overboard. The body, however, washed up on shore next to the stone, which has since been called Torfasteinn, named after the worker who met such a grim fate.
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