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Berserkjahraun lava in Snæfellsnes.
There are several lava fields in Snæfellsnes, one of which is called Berserkjahraun or Berserk lava on the north-side of Snæfellsnes peninsula. Berserkjahraun lava is 4000-3600 years old. The lava stems from four differently sized scoria craters. It formed 2 beautiful lakes, one of which you can see if you visit the beautiful waterfall in Vatnaleið (see my tip).
The Viking Saga which happened in this area is depicted in Eyrbyggja Saga. It is a long story but a very short version of the story is that two berserks from Sweden, Halli and Leiknir, were killed here and buried by Styr the Slayer, after the berserks made a bridle path through the rugged lava field on his demand.
Styr´s brother, Vermundur hinn mjóvi in Bjarnarhöfn, had imported the beserks to Iceland in 962. But they were just too rampageous, so he couldn´t manage them and sent them to his brother.
Styr had he hands full trying to control the brothers. Halli then asked for Styr's daughter's hand in marriage and Styr said, after speaking to Chieftain Snorri Sturluson at Helgafell, that Halli could marry his daughter after the berserks finished making the path and a boundary fence across the lava. After they had made the path Styr killed the brothers.
So if you want to walk in Berserkjahraun lava field know that there are two berserks buried in it. And thus the name of the lava field - Berserkjahraun.
So here is the oldest man made road structure in Iceland, which builders are known.
Berserkjahraun is on the Natural history site register.
It is a vast and very rugged lava-field. I have only walked for a short while in it. I stopped by the shark sign and took a small walk. Walking in lava fields is a risky thing and should only be done by marked paths though.
Berserkjahraun stretches down to the ocean by Bjarnarhöfn and south-east of it you can see the path they made and a cairn has been found with the bones of two very large men (berserks).
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Fróðárheiði heath and the Fróðá Wonders.
Fróðárheiði heath (361 m) is one of the heaths on Snæfellsfjallgarður in Snæfellsnes.
Fróðárheiði heath is on road 54 by Búðahraun lava field and Bjarnarfoss waterfall in the south and east of Ólafsvík town in the north. The heath is almost all paved, apart from the northern part, there is a small distance on a gravel road.
There can be very bad weather on the heath and it can be impassable in winter time.
The heath is hunted and the happenings there are called "Fróðárundrin" or the Fróðá Wonders. It happened in the year 1000 and the story is told in Eyrbyggja Saga.
The story goes that a woman, Þórgunna, arrived by the autumn ship from Dublin to Ólafsvík town. The housewife at Fróðá invited Þórgunna to stay with her as she desired Þórgunna´s beautiful things. But Þórgunna didn´t want to sell any of her things. Þórgunnur then became ill with fever and died. Before she died she ordered that all of her things shall be burnt, but her body should be buried in Skálholt, the seat of the bishops.
Her instructions were followed, but the housewife stole her brocade bed linen. Not long after the household started falling ill and died. All of them returned to Fróðá and hunted the place, scaring the living daylights out of the remaining household. All in all 18 ghosts hunted Fróðá scaring the 12 people who had survived.
Next spring Chieftain Snorri in Helgafell sent a Scottish minister/priest to Fróðá. Þórður kausi, Snorri´s son, helped with driving the ghosts out one by one. They didn´t show up after that.
Þórgunnur was blamed for this disaster as her instructions on destroying her things were not followed.
My grand-father was born at Fróðá, but was raised at Grundarfjörður.
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Vatnaleið and the waterfall in Fossá river.
Vatnaleið is on the Snæfellsnes peninsula and a short-cut to Stykkishólmur, the capital of the west. It opened on November 2nd 2001 and takes you through the heath of Snæfellsfjallgarður with 3 beautiful lakes, thus the name Vatnaleið "The road by the lakes" - vatn=water or lake in Icelandic. The lakes are called Baulárvallavatn, Hraunsfjarðarvatn og Selvallavatn and there is angling in all of them.
At the top of the road there is a view-point with chairs and a table and there is a breathtaking view of the lakes. Go down the hill where you can find a beautiful waterfall in the river Fossá in two parts, the upper part has a path behind it and the lower waterfall is wonderful for a picnic, where you can be totally in peace in a very tranquil place. This is one of my favourite places here on Snæfellsnes.
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There is a waterfall by the road in Snæfellsnes peninsula, called Bjarnarfoss waterfall. It is located by road 54, just as there is a fork in the road. There is some lovely columnar basalt by the waterfall.
Take care not to miss your exit if you are looking at the waterfall. I did that once and we drove up on the mountain and had to turn back. If one wants to continue driving to Arnarstapi f.ex. then one has to get off road 54 just by the waterfall.
There is a legend connected to Bjarnarfoss and it got its name from the farmer Bjarni, who lived here at Foss ages ago. Bjarni was a wealthy farmer and he owned a large number of cattle. He allowed the cattle of other farmers to graze on his land.
One winter-day during a blizzard a vagrant sought shelter at Bjarni´s farm. Bjarni refused to let him in and made him feel unwelcome. The vagrant swore that Bjarni would regret behaving like this. Next summer Bjarni found all of his grazing cattle dead, but the cattle of the other farmers were unharmed.
Bjarni got struck by other misfortune until he went crazy and threw his money into the waterfall, which from then on got the name Bjarnafoss waterfall.
It is possible to drive up to Bjarnarfoss, there is a farm there, and I know that one VT member, who loves waterfalls, drove up to the farm to have a closer look at the waterfall. Anyhow it is also lovely at a distance, but then there is this risk of missing your exit, so it is better to stop for a photo.
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The lifting stones at Djúpalónssandur.
In Djúpalónssandur, as soon as you enter there are 4 stones on your right. They are well known lifting-stones (Icelandic word "aflraunasteinar") here in Iceland. They were used to measure the strength of fishermen.
The biggest one is called "Fullsterkur" Full-Strength and weighs 154 kg and only the very strong can lift that one. The second one is called "Hálfsterkur" Half-Strength and weighs 100 kg. The third one is called "Hálfdrættingur" Weakling and weighs 54 kg and the forth one is called "Amlóði" Useless and weighs 23 kg. All these Icelandic names refer to how strong/weak the person is lifting them.
If the fishermen could not lift "Hálfdrættingur" (54 kg) they were not accepted on the fishing boats.
Nowadays stones like these are used in the strong-men contests, which are very popular here in Iceland.
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Djúpalónssandur beach is an awesome place, like so many other places on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It is like stepping into a magical place. From the parking lot you walk down steps and into a volcanic wonderland.
There are two small lagoons by the beach, one of them is called Djúpalón (The Deep lagoon) and the beach got its name from this lagoon "Djúpalónssandur" or The Deep lagoon's sand. On the beach as you enter your will see 4 well-known lifting stones (see my next tip).
On the beach there are iron remains from the British trawler, The Epine GY7, which was wrecked east of Dritvík on the night of 13th March 1948. Fourteen men lost their lives and five were saved. The iron remains should not be touched.
The beach is made of small black smooth pebbles called Djúpalónsperlur or The Pearls of Djúpalón.
You can walk from Djúpalónssandur to the next beach, Dritvík, which used to be one of the best fishing stations here in Iceland, with 60-70 boats.
The suction of the sea in Djúpalónssandur is very powerful so please don't go too close to the ocean. There is a warning sign by the parking lot.
Don't pass this place by while visiting Snæfellsnes peninsula.
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Bárðarlaug pool is the pool of Bárður Snæfellsás. Bárður Snæfellsás was half a man half a troll. He had a farm at Laugarbrekka and used this explosive crater to take a bath.
Bárður Snæfellsás came ashore at Djúpalón.
In my tip on Rauðfeldsgjá gorge I have added information on Bárður Snæfellsás. He watches over this area now.
The pool is an explosive crater from the close of the last glacial epoch. It is possible to walk to it from the road to Hellnar. It is an easy walk, just 10 minutes from the road. There is a parking lot there and it is marked.
Bárðarlaug is a protected area.
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Arnarstapi - Snæfellsnes.
Arnarstapi is in Snæfellsnes in W-Iceland. Here are some beautiful columnar basalt and cliff formations which are breathtaking in beauty and one of Iceland's most beautiful harbours is at Arnarstapi.
The population at Arnarstapi is only ca 10 but there are summer-houses there as well and a restaurant. In former times Arnarstapi was a vibrant community.
Take a tour around this beautiful harbour with the myriad of birds squawking, mostly kittiwakes, fulmars, gulls and the Arctic tern, and when you come closer to the pillars which are white with guano the smell becomes overwhelming. But the sight is breathtaking, out of this world, for me this is a truly magical place.
Further on you see Gatklettur (Arch Rock) and further up you can see the huge sculpture of Bárður Snæfellsás (see his story in my tip on Rauðfeldsgjá).
This is a place in Snæfellsnes not to be missed!
From Arnarstapi you can get on a guided tour on snowmobiles on Snæfellsjökull glacier.
Here is a webcam in Arnarstapi.
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Hólahólar - drive inside a crater.
Hólahólar "Hills of hills" ;) is a place on Snæfellsnes peninsula which looks like an amphitheatre. My photos don't even begin to do it justice as they are taken from inside the crater. This is a crater open on one side and you can drive inside it!
Mediums have seen and heard the Hidden people in this place and there are tales of applaud from the hills.
Hólahólar can be seen from the main-road on Snæfellsnes and a gravel road leads you to Hólahólar.
Well worth a visit.
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Lóndrangar cliffs at Snæfellsnes.
Lóndrangar cliffs are 2 ancient volcanic plugs in Snæfellsnes, 60 m and 75 m high, the higher one is called "Tröllkarlinn" or the Ogre.
The formation of the cliffs is magnificent and you can get closer to the cliffs when turning left on Svalþúfa-Þúfubjarg hill and walk up on the hill. It is a 10 minutes' walk, but don't walk too far though as what seems like an innocent enough hill then turns into a sheer rock. Stop when you start smelling the guano. The hill is believed to be inhabited by elves. One of the cliff is believed by some to be the church of the elves and the other one to be their library.
On your right hand side is the magical Snæfellsjökull glacier, right by the road, and here is where you start turning north up on the peninsula.
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Snæfellsjökull - the magical glacier.
Snæfellsjökull glacier is a dormant strato-volcano, 1446 m high and the crater is ca 200 m deep, and is believed to be one of the seven chakras (energy centers) in the world. It is the main tourist attraction in the peninsula of Snæfellsnes, towering over the National park at the far end of the 90 km long peninsula.
There are a lot of interesting stories connected to the glacier, and some people believe it to be the meeting place of extra-terrestrials.
All the while visiting the interesting places on the Snæfellsnes peninsula (of which there are many) you may be aware of the glacier's magnetic energies. Some people don't sleep at all while visiting Snæfellsnes due to these energies from the glacier.
Walking on the golden beaches in some parts of Snæfellsnes with the view of Snæfellsjökull is a mesmerising experience. My pictures are taken from the beach at Langaholt (see my tip on campsites).
Jules Verne wrote an interesting science fiction "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 1864 about a group of scientists who venture into the crater of Snæfellsjökull glacier.
Snæfellsjökull volcano hasn't erupted for ca 1800 years but one never knows when the next eruption takes place... And you might even meet the shaman Bárður Snæfellsás, who was half giant and half man. He disappeared into Snæfellsjökull ice-cap after a family tragedy (see my tip on Rauðfeldsgjá gorge).
You can walk on Snæfellsjökull and there are organised trips from Arnarstapi on snowmobiles.
See my tip on a campsite near Snæfellsjökull here Langaholt campsite
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Laugarbrekka in Snæfellsnes.
Midway between Hellnar and Djúpalónssandur sands there is a monument on Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, who was born 980 at Laugarbrekka, close to where the monument stands, and her son.
Guðríður was the first Caucasian woman to bear a child, Snorri, in North-America. She travelled to Greenland with her husband Þorfinnur and North-America (Vínland) in year 1000 with a group of Icelanders. One of them was Leif the Lucky - see my tip on Eiríksstaðir, the birth-place of Leif the Lucky. Guðríður and her family returned back to Iceland and lived at Glaumbær in Skagafjörður.
Guðríður later travelled to Europe and walked to Rome and became a nun. So she was the most-widely travelled woman in Iceland from the 11th century and until the 20th century. There is an information sign by the monument on her travels.
The monument shows Guðríður on a Vikingship carrying her son on her shoulders. She seems to have been a remarkable woman.
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Maríulindir - The Virgin Mary's spring at Hellnar.
According to legend, Guðmundur góði biskup "Bishop Guðmundur the good" had a vision at Hellnar in 1230 of a woman accompanied by three angels. She bade him consecrate the spring, which he did.
It is believed that the water in the spring will never dry up and that it has healing powers. When at Hellnar overlooking the sea there is a café down by the beach. Take the road left leading you to the sign Maríulind 0,3 km, turn left there and the spring is on your right side visible from the road.
I have been up here several times to pray.
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Hellnar and Fjöruhúsið café by the ocean.
There is a fantastic little café called Fjöruhúsið right by the ocean at Hellnar in Snæfellsnes. It opened in 1997 and is ever so popular amongst Icelanders. The location is fantastic, hidden away right by the ocean and the cliffs.
One can walk up to the amazing cliffs and the wonderful birdlife there. There is an opening in the cliffs, making it very interesting walking up to them. I have seen people swimming in the ocean here. And I have seen whales here as well.
One cannot see the café from the road, it is well hidden until you reach the top of the hill. Then you either leave your car on the parking lot on the hill, where there is fantastic view. Or drive down to the café. Better to leave the car on the parking lot on the hill though and walk down to the café.
Opening hours are during the summer months from 10:00-22:00 and it can stay open longer if there are many visitors.
They offer homemade cakes and bread, hot chocolate, waffles and a fish-soup. It is a café, not a restaurant, so only light meals can be bought here. And it is very small, so only a limited amount of guests can visit the café at a time.
The surroundings are fantastic, with a view of Mt. Stapafell and Snæfellsjökull glacier and volcano.
The hike from Hellnar to Arnarstapi starts here by Fjöruhúsið. And if you walk a bit further up behind the café and turn left there is the statue of Virgin Mary (see my tip).
My Aunt owns a summer cottage 7 minutes away from this café - lucky she, eh!
There were plans of closing down this café, when new owners bought the land. But there were such protests against that - especially on Facebook, that the café stayed open.
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Hellnar in Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Hellnar is the next stop in Snæfellsnes when travelling in this area. Here at Hellnar used to be one of the biggest fishing stations in Snæfellsnes and in the year 1703 194 people were living here plus a lot of people working here.
Today Hellnar has totally changed and here is a popular Hotel and The Visitor Centre for Snæfellsjökull glacier National Park is next door to the hotel.
Down by the ocean is a very popular small restaurant - it is almost always full. There is a parking lot on a hill overlooking the ocean and from there I walk down to the restaurant and the shore. There are beautiful rock formations and a rock with an opening in it on the shore and you can walk almost up to it. And a lot of fulmars in the cliffs.
Maríulindir are at Hellnar (see my next tip).
There is a path leading from Arnarstapi to Hellnar.
I add the link to Hotel Hellnar.
Here one of my great-grandmothers was born and raised. She then moved to Vestfirðir "The West-Fjords" with my great-grandfather.
Snæfellsnes- og Hnappadalssýsla Hotels
Borgarbraut 8, Stykkisholmur 340, Iceland
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
The hotel is perfectly located at the foot of Snaefellnes Glacier and by the seashore. If you are...more
Aðalgötu 8, Stykkishólmur, IS-340, Iceland
Good for: Solo
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