Villages of Snaefellsnes: Arnarstapi and Hellnar

Gorgeous Arnarstapi scenery

So, thanks to our Goecco tour, what do we know about the Snaefellsnes peninsula so far? Insanely windy, frigid, and breathtakingly beautiful. But, while the region looks like just a bunch of lava rock, mountains, and snow – there’s always more to a place than meets the eye.

After we stopped at a few volcanoes to take in the sights, we stopped at two fishing villages for a taste of a slightly different perspective on the place we were getting to know.

 

Arnarstapi

Arnarstapi was one of our first stops on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The town is so small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in views. This place is so tourist-free, it’s incredible. In fact, the only other folks enjoying the scenery – besides us – started joking with our guide in Icelandic. A lack of tourists also means it’s QUIET… with the exception of the roaring waves and the wind.

For all the travel photographers here, there are spots near the water where you could probably get some pretty daring photos, if you so choose. That said, we were plenty happy with getting a nice, posed shot. On a boardwalk, in front of the ocean and a nearby glacier. I mean… if that’s not a shot to send home, I don’t know what is!

Boyfriend Perspective: Some words of wisdom. If you didn’t sleep well, didn’t get coffee, and decide to stay in the bus for the sake of warmth, you may feel a disturbance in the force when your significant other looks at the van menacingly because you aren’t there to take pictures with her. So just smile and nod, boys. Smile and nod.

Arnarstapi was a quick, scenic stopoff, and then we headed to Hellnar.

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Hellnar

If Arnarstapi is small, Hellnar is TINY. In fact, Auđunn knew the family who owned the area, and talked about how much it had grown in the last twenty years. He was impressed they’d finally built a coffee shop!

This former fishing village is now an off-season playground for Icelanders who love outdoor sports, and is sparsely populated with small houses and a couple of businesses.

The most beautiful reason to visit, though? The cliffs. Like every lovely, coastal rock formation in Iceland, they’re a result of lava flow meeting the ocean. And the result here is a towering slate cliff with a staggeringly large window for waves to come crashing through. Again, plenty of daring shots available here, but the water is dangerous and unpredictable enough that you don’t want to get TOO close without the guidance of someone familiar with Iceland’s crazy rough oceans.

Boyfriend Perspective: Auđunn was telling us how treacherous the water is and how it’s capable of sweeping you out to sea without warning. All I wanted to do was get as close to the craziness as possible….. again, Meagan was worried about my state of mind.

We spent about 45 minutes hanging out on the black stone beach. We explored nearby caves and enjoyed the periodic rumble of the ebbing tide grinding the pebbles together. Then, the tide turned and started coming in more aggressively, and we collectively decided it was time to head to our next destination: Londrangar.

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