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Inspired by Iceland

Iceland is full of hidden secrets waiting to be discovered

13/12/2013 | By | Reply More

Iceland has plenty of natural attractions to decorate your festive experience, from fjords and volcanic fields to the beautiful Northern Lights

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This dazzling mountain is called Kirkjufell and is near Grundarfjörður, a town in western Iceland.

One of those hidden secrets is the Snæfellsnes peninsula, home to some of Iceland’s most remarkable natural and historical phenomena. Situated in the middle of the peninsula you will find Grundarfjörður a charming fishing village on the north coast.

Grundarfjörður lies in a beautiful fjord and is surrounded by spectacular mountains, most notably Mount Kirkjufell of Iceland (church mountain), the lone mountain that is the town’s landmark. The town has about 1000 inhabitants and is situated in front of an impressive mountain Kirkjufell which has a slightly alpine look.

Although the main industry of the town is fishing, tourism is growing rapidly and today you´ll find a community with a wide variety of services and activities for visitors to the area.

The geology of Grundarfjörður is unusual, as it spans the entire geological history of Iceland. Volcanic activity is thought to have begun here about 18 milion years ago, dying out about 6 million years ago. The volcano Rauðukúla í Helgrindum is about 3000 years old.

Social and cultural activities

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Grundarfjörður surrounded by Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in winter

Grundarfjörður has long enjoyed a stable employment situation, which has created a positive atmosphere and strengthened community life.

Cultural and social activities thrive in the town with the active participation of both local residents and the district’s rural population. Sports activities are popular: the riding club has built excellent facilities and there is an active gold club with a good nine-hole course.

The town boasts three restaurants, each with a different emphasis: Kaffi 59RuBen and Hótel Framnes are all known for excellent food, service, and the various social events that add variety to the town’s social life.

The Eyrbyggja Heritage Centre is worth visiting as it does a sterling job, not only as a museum but also as an information centre for the whole peninsula. “We tell you the story and help you plan the day“.

The relatively long distance from the capital has encouraged local residents and visitors to create and enjoy their own town atmosphere without the noise and stress of city life.

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Icelandic horses enjoying a good life

What to do

Grundarfjörður offers a wide range of activities for those who like the outdoors. Hiking, birdwatching, horse riding, fishing and in winter, skiing and ice climbing. Other more exotic pasttimes include beachcombing, wave watching and waterfall counting.

The town has an excellent port and thus has become one of few favoured ports of call for cruise liners travelling to Iceland.

The locals are friendly and helpful and proud of the fact that the town bears the coveted Green Globe certification for environmental standards. The town is an excellent midpoint to stay over night if you are touring in Snæfellsnes national park.

Distance from Reykjavik City Centre: 177 km. / 110 miles

Accommodation and other services

Hotel, youth hostel, farm holiday accommodation, rental cottages (summer houses), restaurants, cafés, museum, boat tour and a swimming pool. Camping sites are located in the town and at the farms Setberg. There’s also a superb 9-hole golf course, Bararvollur, 10 km outside of the town.

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Profile of strata of Mt Kirkjufell, Iceland. Click on picture to get bigger photo.

Mount Kirkjufell

In Grundarfjörður will you have a nice views towards Kirkjufell, one of Iceland’s most iconic mountains. There are also two picturesque waterfalls, Grundarfoss and Kirkjufellsfoss, which you could enjoy visiting nearby.

A hiking path around the base of the mountain offers amazing views and varied bird life. This is a perfect walk for families and takes about 3 hrs. It is 794 meters (2,605 feet) high and should be climbed with care.

The mountain forms a small penisula and oposite this beautifully shaped mountain, we have this phenomenal waterfall named after the mountain and is called Kirkjufellsfoss. It´s made of 3 waterfalls falling side by side and on the top is this old little stone bridge, that makes the scene so  special.

If you are touring in Snæfellsnes national park then I recommend you take a round to view the mountain and if you do, you drive by this place of Grundarfjörður.

If you are located in Reykjavik city you can even take a day tour to view the mountain because it´s not that far.

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Snæfellsnes peninsula – Snæfellsnes national park

If you like scenery, cliffs with nesting birds, the picturesque harbours of cozy fishing villages, glaciers, and the ocean, then definitely, you are going to love the peninsula of Snæfellsnes.

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Sensational and scenic tour to Snæfellsnes peninsula and Snæfellsnes national park for nature lovers.

The combination of breathtaking scenery, the glistening ice cap of volcano Snæfellsjökull, lava fields, waterfalls, volcanic features, and fishing villages, make Snæfellsnes, Iceland’s newest National Park, the most wonderful place to visit. Black sand and golden sand beaches are to be found there. It´s varied landscape has given it the nickname of “Iceland in miniature“.

You drive away from Reykjavik and head through the tunnel below Hvalfjörður continuing through the lovely town of Borgarnes. Then you will travel through Mýrar, the place where the famous Viking and poet, Egill Skallagrímsson was raised before you reach Hnappadalur.

You could stop to see Gerðuberg, where an impressive wall of beautiful basalt columns forms geometric patterns in the cliffs.

Stykkishólmur, a cozy little fishing town that was once a centre for services, transportation and trade, is an ideal place to visit next. Many of the period houses in this town have recently been renovated, giving the whole town a really charming look.

Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum is a popular place to visit next. Visitors are able to sample or buy shark and/or “harðfiskur”, the Icelandic dried fish which is very popular.

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Map of Iceland pointing of Grundarfjörður with Red dot

Grundarfjörður, a town with nice views towards Kirkjufell, one of Iceland’s most iconic mountains is good place to stop next. There are also two picturesque waterfalls, Grundarfoss and Kirkjufellsfoss, which you could enjoy visiting nearby as I mention above.

If you wish to visit the little fishing villages of Ólafsvik, Rif and Hellisandur you could do so before you go to the most western part of Snæfellsnes, Öndverðarnes. Here are you very close to the famous glacier of Snæfellsjökull, immortalized in Jules Verne’s fantasy tale, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth“. The glacier of Snæfellsjökull is a stratovolcano that has been the source of some explosive lava eruptions in the past; its most recent eruption took place around 1750 years ago. If you wish you could walk very close to the glacier giving you the chance to admire many interesting craters and areas of lava.

The black sand beaches of Djúpalónssandur and Dritvík are good places to explore next. Here the debris from two shipwrecks from some decades ago, is still spread along the beach. These beaches are stunning and extremely interesting places to view with unusual cliff formations and black pebbles.

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The sea stacks of Lóndrangar

The sea stacks Lóndrangar are to be found by Malarrif. They are a lava neck, formed when magma on it´s way up through a vent on an active volcano hardened inside the vent. The tallest of them two is 75 meters (246 feet) high. The cliffs by Malarrif are an awe inspiring sight..

Journeying a little further along the coast you could visit the fishing villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, maybe enjoying a hike to explore the cliffs of this extraordinary shoreline with its plentiful birdlife.

You could also visit Rauðfeldsgjá, an interesting looking ravine nearby; it is possible to walk into this crack in the mountain wall which cleaves all the way down to the root of the mountain.

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Mount Stapafell as backdrop in the village of Arnarstapi

The beach of Búðasandur with it´s light, golden sand is nearby and from here there are fabulous views over Snæfellsjökull and the national park area. You could enjoy exploring this area and also stop at a mineral spring to take a drink of the natural, fresh, clean water before you head back to Reykjavik head back to stay in Grundarfjörður.

Some of the recreational activities, you could request are horseback riding, a visit to a maritime museum, a hike through beautiful scenery to enjoy bathing in a geothermal natural warm pool or a snowmobile tour. If you wish, it is also easy to include some extra hiking in your tour, perhaps exploring some of the many beautiful mountains located on the peninsula such as Helgafell, Kirkjufell, Stapafell and Drápuhlíðarfjall.

Watch video below of 13 day trip around the country of wild camping by Canadian couple which visited Iceland last June this year. The places they visited was Reykjavik, Glymur, Hraunfossar, Kirkjufell, Kirkjufellsfoss, in West Fjords; Látrabjarg, in Northern Iceland; Hvítserkur, Borgarvirki, Akureyri, Aldeyjarfoss, Goðafoss, Lake Mývatn, Hverfjall, Námafjall, Hverir, Víti, Mt. Krafla, Dettifoss, in East Iceland; Jökulsárlón, Dyrhólaey, Sólheimasandur, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, Gullfoss, Langjökull, Raufarhólshellir Cave, and Garður.

Songs: The Icelandic band – Of Monsters & Men – Dirty Paws, King & Lionheart – Courtesy:  Waxmuseum

They spent 12 days driving around the entire country and ‘wild’ camping in breathtaking locations. Their journey began in the city of Reykjavik, the captial where over half of the 325,000 inhabitants live. Then they spent there first night next to the mountain and waterfall of Kirkjufell, and then continued on through the West Fjords of Iceland to Látrabjarg. After exploring Northern Iceland, they headed on intense hikes through Borgarvirki and Aldeyjarfoss. The Lake Mývatn region had much to offer, but the most breathtaking spots were in the south: the glaciers at Jökulsárlón Lagoon, the black beaches of Sólheimasandur, the incredible waterfalls Skógarfoss and Seljalandsfoss, Geysir, and exploring Raufarhólshellir Cave. You can read their travel story and their adventure from here.

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Visit our site at: wowgotravel.com to discover special travel offers and more tours like above, or like as the young Canadian couple did in Iceland.

You can travel within Nordic region as NorwaySwedenIceland and associated autonomous territories including Greenland (Denmark), Lapland (Finland) and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard (Norway) over the winter period and also over the summer.

It is always a lovely period in Scandinavia when you can smell the Winter World & Aurora Borealis.

Scandinavia – a way to go … recommends Nordic Visitor for your travel in the Nordic region.

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Category: Iceland

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