Snaefellsnes Peninsula: Where to Camp and What to See?

Snaefellsnes peninsula is one of the most popular detours from the Ring Road. There is a good reason why—it is full of natural wonders and is often referred to as a mini-Iceland. From the majestic Snaefellsjökull Glacier to the mystical Kirkjufell Mountain, every twist and turn uncovers another jaw-dropping attraction. So, with all-year-open campsites and breathtaking sights like volcanic craters, black sand beaches, and charming fishing villages, you don’t want to skip visiting Snaefellsnes National Park on your trip to Iceland.

Happy Camper meeting Bárður Snaefellsás – the guardian of Snaefellsnes peninsula

Where to Camp in Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Snaefellsnes is accessible throughout the year, and different seasons bring out different sides of the peninsula. While it is possible to drive around Snaefellsnes in one day, we recommend spending at least one night to enjoy nature without feeling like you need to rush. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of campsites open year-round in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Stykkishólmur Campsite

The campsite is located in the largest town on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, Stykkisholmur. It’s a beautiful little town where you can stock up on groceries, enjoy nice views, grab a bite in a local restaurant, or catch a ferry to Westfjords. So, the campsite is conveniently close to many services and within walking distance of the swimming pool.

Facilities in Stykkisholmur Campsite:
– WC
– Electricity 
– Water
– WiFi
– Playground
– Pool/hot tub
– Washing machine

More information: https://tjalda.is/en/stykkisholmur/ 

Snorrastaðir Campsite

Field of tents in Stykkisholmur campground

Snorrastaðir is a small farm and guesthouse and allows travelers to camp next to the guesthouse all year around. Furthermore, the area is stunning, and you can enjoy many trails nearby, which are good for a short hike. In particular, if you want to stretch out your legs after a long day of driving, climbing up to Eldborg volcanic crater is a lot of fun.

Facilities in Snorrastaðir Campsite:
– WC
– Showers (included)
– Electricity 
– Water (summer)
– Hiking trails
– Wi-Fi (included)
– Waste disposal
– Option to book online via Parka

Grundarfjörður Campsite 

Arial photo of Grundarfjordur town and kirkjufell mountain in Iceland

A campsite with beautiful surroundings, marvelous views of mountains and the sea, and a local swimming pool next door.

Facilities Grundarfjörður Campsite:
– WC
– Showers (during opening hours at the pool) 
– Electricity 
– Water
– Garbage disposal
– Hiking trails
– Playground

The Freezer Hostel and Culture Centre Campsite in Hellissandur

Northern Lights above Freezer Hostel and Culture Center Mural in Iceland

The Freezer Hostel and Culture Center is a contemporary hostel that offers art, culture, live music, a bar, and, most importantly, camping for campervans all year! Please note there is limited availability for campervans in the summer. Nevertheless, make sure to check out their website for cool events that you can attend during your trip.

Facilities at Freezer Hostel Campsite:
– WC
– Showers
– Kitchen area (closed after 10 pm)
– Bar
– Cool living room area
– Washing machine and dryer
– Electricity
– See events on the website
– Option to book a spot online.

Other Campsites

When traveling in summertime, there are a few other campsites you can choose from. For more information about all campsites in Iceland, we recommend checking our Happy Campers’ Campsite Map of Iceland. Generally, you don’t need to pre-book a campsite in Iceland. However, many offer an option to reserve a spot online, which you can do on the day of traveling to the campsite. For that reason, traveling with a campervan offers a unique opportunity for flexibility and traveling truly at your own pace.

Places to see in Snaefellsnes Peninsula


iconic black Budir church surrounded by mountain fog
You might recognize the black Búðir church, popular among professional and amateur photographers.

Búðir is an old anchorage that was later a trading center. Interestingly, the 19th-century church is unusual not only in its setting but also because it was raised by a woman who did not have the support of the church authorities but special permission from the king in Denmark. This is noted on a ring on the church door. Furthermore, the area offers fine views and one of Iceland’s best sand and shingle beaches.


Arnarstapi is one of the towns south of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. In the past, it was an important trading post and had a much bigger population than it does now. Today Arnarstapi is a popular rest stop among travelers – it captures Iceland’s rugged beauty and rich history. Also, you will be greeted by the Bárður Snaefellsás statue – a tribute to the mythical half-man, half-troll guardian of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. While walking along the scenic coastal paths, you will see the iconic Gatklettur Arch, formed by centuries of sea erosion, dramatic cliffs, and the Instagram-famous natural stone bridge.


White church with red roof at the foot of Snafellsjokull glacier in Hellnar

Hellnar is a village on a pretty coastline with strange rock formations. There, you will also find Baðstofa cave, known for its strange light, and a church, formerly at Laugarbrekka, where the cemetery is.

Furthermore, Hellnar holds a significant place in history as the birthplace of Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, the wife of Þorfinnur Karlsefni. Their brave attempt to settle in Vínland in 1004 and Guðríður’s role in giving birth to the first European in America, Snorri Þorfinnsson, are testament to the village’s rich history. Guðríður’s adventurous spirit, which led her to walk all the way to Rome and beyond, is a source of inspiration. Her eventual settlement at Glaumbær in Skagafjörður is a reminder of the enduring legacy she left behind, with most Icelanders believed to trace their ancestry to her.

Moreover, nearby Gróuhóll in Hellnar, there is a spring called Lífslind Hellnamanna (“Spring of life”), but it has in recent times been called Maríulind (“Spring of Mary”) after an image of the Virgin Mary was put up at the spring. It is believed that the spring has healing powers, and it is said that it will never dry up. According to legend, Bishop Guðmundur-the-Good came to this place in 1230 and, along with his fellow travelers, had a vision of a woman accompanied by three angels. She bade him consecrate the spring, and so he did.

On the trail to Arnarstapi, just below the main road, above Þinghamar and the ruins of the farm and church at Laugarbrekka, is a memorial to Guðríður and a statue of her by Ásmundur Sveinsson. Additionally, close to Hellnar at Malarrif you can find the Visitor’s Centre for the National Park is also at Malarríf, close to Hellnar.

Vatnshellir Cave

Metal spiral staircase leading down lava tube in Vatnshellir cave,
A spiral staircase offers a journey toward the center of the earth

Did you know that Snaefellsnes glacier Snaefellsnesjökull is featured in the world-famous novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne? In the book, Snaefellsnes peninsula is where one can dive deep below the earth’s crust. Unfortunately, it is impossible to descend below the glacier. Therefore, the Vatnshellir cave experience is as close as you can get to feeling like the characters in Jules Verne’s novel. During the tour, you will explore the 8000-year-old lava tube. It is 200 meters (656 ft) long and 35 meters (115 ft) deep. Not to mention that tours are offered all year round, and experienced guides will help you explore the underground world safely and teach you about the cave’s history and geology.

Mt. Kirkjufell

dark blue happy 4x4 xl campervan parked in front of Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland
Whether you’re capturing the midnight sun in summer or the dancing northern lights in winter, Mount Kirkjufell promises breathtaking views.

Kirkjufell (“Church mountain”) (called “Sugarloaf” by the Danish sailors) is an impressive mountain that reaches 463 m (1519 ft) in height. Undeniably, it is one of the most beautiful mountains on Snaefellsnes and is often titled the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its striking, symmetrical shape and picturesque setting near the charming town of Grundarfjörður make it a must-visit landmark. Surrounded by cascading waterfalls, notably the beautiful Kirkjufellsfoss, this iconic peak offers countless photo opportunities. For those up for a challenge, a guided hike to the summit provides stunning panoramic views, making it an adventurer’s dream come true. Remember, the hike is difficult and tiring due to the steepness and rocky surface and is only allowed during summer months when conditions are good.

Ytri Tunga Beach

Seals sunbathing on black lava rocks near Ytri Tunga beach in Snaefellsnes
If you are a wildlife lover, Ytri Tunga is one of the best spots to see seals living their best life

Ytri Tunga is a charming little beach on the southern coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It is famous for its colony of playful seals that love to bask on the rocks. Unlike other Icelandic beaches known for their black sand, Ytri Tunga’s shoreline is covered in golden sand. So, it’s a perfect spot for families and nature lovers to observe these curious marine animals up close. Ytri Tunga is a delightful stop for anyone exploring the wonders of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Lóndrangar Basalt Cliffs

A photo of Snaefelsnes peninsula shoreline of black  steep cliffs coverd with green moss

Along the coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you can find many fascinating formations carved out by centuries of relentless ocean waves. Located within Snaefellsjökull National Park, Lóndrangar pinnacles can be easily spotted from the road. Moreover, the cliffs are not just natural wonders; they are steeped in local folklore and believed to house various mythical creatures. Visiting Lóndrangar provides a fantastic opportunity for photography, bird watching, and enjoying breathtaking views.

Malarrif Lighthouse

Arial shot of stark white Malariff lighthouse with bright red tower top, surrounded by dramatic Icelandic landscape of black lava cliffs and Atlantic Ocean

One could have a separate trip visiting Iceland’s lighthouses. They come in so many shapes and sizes you won’t get bored. On top of that, some of the most beautiful views open up when you stand next to one of these lighthouses. Indeed, at Malarrif, the stark white tower really contrasts against black lava fields and rocky shore.

Djúpalónssandur Beach

A panoramic shot of  pebble-covered Djupalonssandur Beach with mossy lava around it.
Djúpalónssandur Beach is one of the most popular places on the Snaefellsnes peninsula

Visit the pebble-covered Djúpalónssandur Beach, known for its black volcanic sands and fascinating shipwreck remnants. Additionally, if you want to test your strength, you will find four lifting stones, which, back in the day, fishermen used to test each other to find the strongest one among them. The lightest one, named Useless, weighs around 23 kg while the “Fully-strong” weighs 154 kg. However, lift them at your own risk, and try not to hurt yourself!

Saxhóll Crater

A photo taken from a gravel road leading towards redddish-brown cone shaped Saxholl crater in Snaefellsnes Nation Park

Saxhóll crater offers a really cool opportunity to climb up a dormant volcano. The reddish-brown crater surrounded by lush green scenery is impossible to miss. The hike is pretty easy because a well-maintained staircase wraps around the crater’s slopes, making walking up less steep and more comfortable.

Skarðsvík Beach

Photo of Skardsvik cove beach with golden sand and black lava fields in Snaefellsnes peninsula

While Iceland is known for its black sand beaches, the Snaefellsnes coastline has some exceptions. For example, Skardsvik Beach contrasts with its golden sand and turquoise waters. Surrounded by dramatic lava domes and rugged cliffs, the beautiful sandy cove is a hidden gem of untouched beauty.

Svörtuloft Lighthouse

A bright orange Svortuloft lighthouse in Snaefellsnes peninsula on a sunny day with a well maintaned wooden pathway leading towards the lighthouse.

At the westernmost part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula stands a bright orange Svörtuloft lighthouse. In addition to the picturesque lighthouse, the spot is fantastic for birdwatchers, as the cliffs are home to various seabird species, including puffins and kittiwakes. Due to its remote location, it surely feels like you are standing at the end of the world. It is stunning on sunny days, but the spectacle will not disappoint on a more turbulent days when the North Atlantic Ocean forcefully crashes the waves against the cliffs below the lighthouse.


A photo of a Stykkisholmur harbor with Sugandisey Island in the background in Iceland

Stykkishólmur, the capital of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, is a picturesque little town, and there are a few things you can check out while visiting. Besides fantastic local cafés, restaurants, and a great campsite, we recommend climbing to Súgandisey Island Lighthouse. From there, you will see some great views of the Breiðafjörður fjord between Snaefellsnes peninsula and Westfjords. Moreover, if you have time, locals offer many fun activities and tours, such as kayaking, taking a ferry to Flatey Island (or Westfjords), dipping in a local swimming pool, and many more. Even when the weather is bad, you can still do so much in Stykkishólmur, such as exploring local artisan shops and museums. For example, the Library of Water, one of the most unique exhibitions in Iceland, is located at the heart of the town.

3-Day Trip Exploring Snaefellsnes Peninsula and West Iceland – All Year Round

We created a 3-day itinerary for those who want to explore Snaefellsness and West Iceland. We included all the places we’ve mentioned in these blog posts, as well as a few more that are not technically on the peninsula but conveniently located on the way. Below, you will find a map that you can easily customize to fit your travel plans. If you plan to include a few hikes, this itinerary can easily be extended into a 4-day trip.

Day 1 – Wonders of West Iceland

Before heading to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, I suggest visiting a few beautiful places in West Iceland. Firstly, we added the Glymur waterfall. Please note that this is the only spot not accessible all year round. It is a fantastic medium-difficulty hike to the second-highest waterfall in Iceland. The hike takes around 3-4 hours, and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views. So, we highly recommend including it in your travel plans. Just ensure the log is placed over the river (usually, it’s there from mid-May until October/November, depending on the weather). If you travel in spring or fall, we post these updates in our Iceland Camping Community on Facebook.

On the way to Snaefellsnes, turn right before reaching Borgarnes to visit Hraunfossar (Lava Falls) and Barnafoss (Children’s Falls) waterfalls in the popular Húsafell area. They are a short walk from each other. Afterward, we recommend hitting the Krauma geothermal pool next to Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver. You can stay at the Hverinn campsite nearby. Alternatively, head back towards Borgarnes (if you skipped Krauma, perhaps you want to check out the local pool there), stock up on supplies, and camp at Snorrastadir Campsite.

On the second day, we start exploring the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Today’s menu includes more waterfalls, beaches, caves, and cliffs. It’s often said that this drive is the most beautiful in Iceland, so make sure to enjoy it!

The first stop is Ytri Tunga to wave hello to some seals. Afterward, head west for a short stop at picturesque Búðir church. If you have time, we recommend hiking to Rauðdelfsgjá Gorge; otherwise, follow the road until Arnarstapi. Take time to walk around the coast there. You can follow the path to Hellnar. They continue exploring the coastline of Snaefellsnes with stops at Lóndrangar, Malarrif, and Djúpalónssandur. If you’ve booked a tour of Vatnhellir Cave, you will find it on the southwest corner of the peninsula.

You can visit Saxhóll crater, Skarðsvik beach, and Svörtuloft lighthouse at the end of the date. Depending on what time of year you are traveling (and how much daylight you have for exploring), you can spend the night at Freezer Hostel Campsite or continue driving to Grundarfjörður campground and camp at the foot of the majestic Kirkjufell mountain.

Day 3 – Completing the drive around Snaefellsnes peninsula

On the last day, we visit Kirkjufell and Stykkishólmur before returning to downtown Reykjavik. You can take Road 55 to head back through Borgarner, but if you’re not in a rush, you can continue driving east and turn south on Road 60 towards Bifröst. It is a scenic drive, and you will probably want to stop at least a few times. If you ask us, Grábok Crater is a stunning rest stop.

Afterward, on the way to Reykjavik, stop by Akranes town. We highly recommend soaking in Guðlaug Baths right by the ocean. In summer, you can stay at Akranes Campsite or head towards Reykjavik.


Further Reading

Our goal at Happy Campers is to make the most of your trip to Iceland. We do this in many ways, but perhaps most importantly, we ensure you have all the tools, tips, and information you need before your trip. Check out our blog, extensive guides, itinerary builder, and other resources on our website. Here are a few topics you might be interested in:

What is the best season for a trip to Iceland? The truth is, there is no bad season for a trip to Iceland. Each season has its own pros and cons, and it all depends on what you want to see and do.

Iceland Campsite Map. Our most useful resource is our Happy Campers map. The map includes every single campsite in Iceland and is categorized into summer, winter, and hybrid campsites. Each campsite has information about prices, facilities, and more.

Camping in Iceland. We wrote a travel guide on what to expect when camping in Iceland. We are the experts when it comes to camping in Iceland. There are over 200 campsites in Iceland so finding a campsite is usually never a problem. Whether you are camping via campervan or tent, there are lots of things to keep in mind to make your camping trip in Iceland successful.