The south coast of Snæfellsnes is where we saw Iceland at its spectacular best.
A lava field leads to a golden sandy beach, at the edge of which you will find a hotel, a black chapel, and various walking trails along the coast, all of this with an incredible backdrop of snow covered mountains.
What a beautiful beach.
Two tiny fishing villages on the south coast of Snæfellsnes are connected to each other by means of a rather rough walking trail of about 2.5 km, on top of a cliff along the coastline. Since we were driving from the east we stopped first at Arnarstapi. We parked at a monument of sorts, not knowing exactly what to expect, and I started to walk along a gravel path before a woman who was getting into her car told me to take a different path, explaining that “over there” is where I should be going.
She was right. The moment you reach the coast, you come face to face with this…
… followed by further breathtaking views as you walk along the cliff’s edge.
Maybe I’m losing the little eloquence that I used to have: I consider that any words of mine to describe these scenes would be pointless.
Hellnar is considered as Arnarstapi’s twin fishing village and is just as picturesque.
As we descended we saw on our left a group of black houses, a trademark of this enchanting place.
Further in, another landmark, the chapel.
On the way down to the beach we stopped for a break at a lunch place, where we had the most expensive soup of our lives, although to be fair it was good and we needed the warmth.
The car park at Hellnar overlooks the fishing port. Let the spectacle begin…
We set off on the trail leading to Arnarstapi. It’s not very straightforward, going through a rough and undulating lava field for more than 2 kilometres.
On the right, there’s a view of the Atlantic Ocean, where, according to various descriptions of this walk, you may catch a view of the occasional whale. Or puffins on the cliff itself… No such luck for us. My defective hip joint was hurting to high heaven and we had to turn back as each step towards Arnarstapi (where we had already been) would need to be repeated to go back to Hellnar, where my car with its comfortable seats was awaiting.
We pressed on westwards along the south coast. In Iceland, every few kilometres you see a symbol indicating a tourist attraction:
The next one directed us to another iconic view of Iceland, the cliffs of Londrangar with giant pieces of solidified lava jutting up from the shore.
Further on we reached our final destination of this incredibly spectacular day – no less awe inspiring than all other places we had been to – a beach called Djúpalónssandur.
The first peek from the top at the inland beach…
… followed by a descent flanked by black lava boulders…
… and then this:
Turning back from the lake you go up a large mound of dark grey pebbles. You will notice various scraps of broken steel bits, the remains of a shipwreck that happened in the middle of the 20th century. These remains have been left on the beach to serve as a remembrance of the souls who lost their lives in this tragedy.
Over the top of the mound, you get to the main beach…
It’s here that I felt and remarked that it’s as if you are on a different planet.
A final look at the panorama was followed by a drive back to our hut for some Brennivin, home cooked pasta, wine and many rounds of card games.
What a fantastic day.