Iceland – West, Part II

Note: This blog post is part of a series documenting a two-week road trip through Iceland. To view the collection in full, click here. For individual posts in this series, please head to the bottom of the page where the individual links are located. Thanks for reading!


Four total days were spent along Snæfellsnes. During that time, we drove through the winding roads below mountain ranges, explored lava fields and stopped to visit the quaint fishing villages along the coast.

There are so many sights, experiences and emotions tied to such a small area.

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Our second morning was spent in one of the most ominous, beautiful and solitary portions of the Peninsula: Rauðfeldsgjá.

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A couple hundred yards off of the road lies the camouflaged Rauðfeldsgjá – a well-hidden ravine between towering walls of stone, moss and – on this particular morning – layers of thick fog. 

It was 6:00AM as we approached the ravine. The hike was met with piercing rain against our faces, blustering wind and continuing adjustments to keep our cameras dry. We kept onwards as the crevasse along the mountain wall looked more and more like a sanctuary from the elements. The closer we got, the quieter it became.

It was at this moment when we really felt alone. Thousands of miles from home. Deafening silence – the only noises were droplets of rain bouncing off our jackets and the low gusts of wind coming off the ocean. I closed my eyes and took a breath. I was hit with chills. This...this place made you feel truly isolated.

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Below: the view from Rauðfeldsgjá looking back towards the road. The ocean lies just beyond the fog.

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Arnarstapi

The small town of Arnarstapi has continued to be an important fishing hub for the West, dating all the way back to Danish rule in the 1500's. Recent tourism booms in Iceland have helped to develop the town, which now includes several homes to rent as well as a few restaurants and cafes. 

There's a lovely walk along the coast in the town, overlooking the cliffs and various rock formations jutting out from the water.

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Saxhólsbjarg

Located within Snæfellsjökull National Park, the road to Saxhólsbjarg was a long and bumpy one. A turn off of 574 will eventually get you there – not before a 30-minute winding drive through a lava field.

The drive is worth it, though. The bright orange Saxhólsbjarg stands in isolation, overlooking the cliffs against the vast Greenland Sea.

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Stykkishólmur

Something about Stykkishólmur hit me as soon as we drove through – maybe it was the colorful, Europe-esque feel the town radiated, the small cafés or the large, peaceful harbor the town overlooks. Yeah – it was all of that. I love this town.

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The below café, Narfeyrarstofa, served us our first proper coffee stop while in Iceland. After days of brewing instant coffee from the back of our van, their cappuccinos were more than welcomed.

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Most of our evenings in Iceland were shrouded with clouds, rain and fog. A few nights, however, were clear – and we were greeted with views like the below. We drove to our nearest campsite and prepared for our next destination: the North.

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