If you’re pressed for time, but want to explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, I’ve got some great tips and tricks for you to help you get the most out of your trip. Before we do anything else, I believe the correct way to pronounce Snæfellsnes would be Sny-fells-ness. Hopefully, I haven’t killed the Icelandic language too much with that attempt.
Tip #1: Compare Tours Online Before Purchasing Tickets
Look online for the best tours that are available for Snaefellsnes Peninsula and compare them (price, length, etc.) before purchasing your tickets.
Because I did my research in advance of my trip to Iceland, my choice for touring Snaefellsnes Peninsula was Gray Line Iceland. They offer an 11-hour Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Cave Exploration tour with hotel pickup and drop off for your convenience.
Tip #2: Wear Comfortable Shoes Because You’re Going To Walk. A LOT.
The scenery in Snaefellsnes Peninsula is stunning and you’re going to want to take pics of it all. However, you’ll notice that you’ll spend most of your time in the coach and only a limited amount of time at the destination. Listen to what the tour guide says about time and determine if you can keep up with the group at the pace that their going. If not, don’t go out to the furthest point and expect the coach to wait for you.
Tip #3: Secure Your Phone and Camera Equipment While Out and About in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
While climbing across large rocks to get to the water’s edge to see the seals by Ytri-Tunga farm, we heard someone yell out.
Why? Because she dropped her phone while taking a picture. Consequently, that’s when I clutched my iPhone and GoPro even tighter.
Tip #4: Take a Picture and Turn Around and Take Another
While this might sound strange, the striking beauty of Snaefellsnes Peninsula is all around you.
Some of the best images I took were unexpected ones that others might have missed. Had I not bothered to turn around, I never would’ve seen this image I captured above.
Tip #5: Utilize Free WiFi to Share Pics and Videos Instantaneously
Don’t want to pay for data while traveling internationally? No worries as the tour bus will have free WiFi, which means less of the hassle and all of the internet.
Walk back early and broadcast live on Instagram stories, Snapchat, or FaceBook Live. Go ahead. You know you really want to.
Tip #6: Cash Is King
Bring cash for purchasing snacks and meals during the tour. Since this is an all day tour, the coach stops several times throughout the course of the tour at both service stations and restaurants. As a result, you’ll find that it’s always easier to have cash on hand to make small purchases, especially if there are long lines.
Tip #7: Capitalism Is Alive and Well in Iceland
In case you were worried that it wasn’t, capitalism is alive and well in Iceland and in Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Our tour stopped in Hellnar, where I spotted this beautiful church.
We were told this was our lunch stop at the nearby Primus Café, the only establishment in the area. Since they are the only option food option around, you can see prices are at a premium here. For example, a latte is about $5 USD or a hot chocolate is $6.00 USD. Want some meatballs? You’ll need to fork over about $25 USD for that meal.
I couldn’t help but photograph the many signs displayed around the restaurant. While I tried to understand why they would do this, it ended up not really being the kind of welcome that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
TSG Tip: I was the only one who I saw put money in the WC toilet jar. Proceed at your own risk if you choose to skip out on paying.
Tip #8: Bring Your Own Snacks
While you’ll have several opportunities to get food and snacks, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get hungry on the tour. So this is why I always pack a couple of protein bars with me wherever I go for this exact reason. The coach driver will advise you that there’s no eating on board the bus so you can eat before you get back on or very quietly and discreetly without making a mess (but you didn’t hear that from me). As for me, I chose to sit in the upper level of Primus Café with my coffee that I purchased there and my own snacks. Guess I was trying to see if they’d say something, which they didn’t.
Tip #9: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark or of Heights
My tour of Snaefellsnes Peninsula included walking along the edge of the shoreline in Arnarstapi Village. While it didn’t scare me, I could see how someone afraid of heights might be. Those dots on the left side of the picture are people. Maybe you won’t want to walk so close to the edge when you visit.
You’ll notice the world get considerably darker as you descend the stairs into the Vatnshellir lava tube cave located inside Snæfellsjökull National Park
As you enter into the depths of this underground world, but for the dripping water within the cave, you’ll hear nothing else. Kind of shocking, especially for anyone living in a city like myself.
This is close to where Jules Verne located his entrance for his novel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Study up on stalactites and stalagmites before your trip to really benefit from this 45-minute tour.
At one point our tour guide, Sonia, requested that we shut our flashlights off. As a result, there was zero ambient light and it was completely and totally pitch black for a very long minute.
Tip #10: Feel Like You’re in Game of Thrones at Djúpalónssandur
Doesn’t this scenery look magical and like it’s from a Hollywood movie set? This is all real and is meant for you to go explore. While you might not be Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, or Daenerys Targaryen, I promise no one will judge you while you act out scenes from Game of Thrones.
Tip #11: Walking Through Black Lava Stones Isn’t Easy
Want a good workout for your legs? Try running through the beach back to the coach at Djúpalónssandur. Looks pretty and seems easy as you walk down to the water.
This beach scene was amazing even on a cold July day. Even though I wanted to dip my toe in the water, I fought the urge and kept my boots and jacket on.
Because the walk back is on a slight incline and if you cut it close, you’re destined to be completely out of breath on the way back. But hey, you’re legs will look amazing.
TSG Tip: Did you know that the remnants of the British Grimsby trawler Epine are here on this beach in Iceland? The boat crashed against the rocks in 1948 and 14 of its men died and never returned home.
Tip #12: Appreciate the Beauty of Snaefellsnes Peninsula
From the Icelandic horses roaming free in a pasture all the while ignoring onlookers with cameras.
To the natural beauty of the Kirkjufell mountain standing proudly in Grundarfjörður at 1500 feet tall. If it looks familiar, that’s because it was featured as the arrowhead mountain in seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones.
Therefore, if you have the opportunity to visit Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, you should definitely do so. The entire day tour was well worth it although at times I felt rushed getting from one place to the next. But there’s no way I could have arranged this on my own on short notice so it worked out to be an excited day trip in the end.
Have you visited the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland and have any tips you’d like to share?
Because you already like reading about Iceland, why not read my other posts on travel tips Iceland here.
*While Gray Line Iceland provided me with a complimentary Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Cave Exploration tour and Agga, the incredible tour guide, all opinions and photographs are my own.*