West Iceland Travel Tips
The town of Stykkishólmur lies on the north coast of West Iceland´s Snæfellsnes peninsula. The town is rich in history, and the area is strongly linked to the Icelandic sagas.
The peninsula is also reputed to have magical properties, as well as being a converging place for ley lines.
Stykkishólmur is the departure point for the ferry to the Westfjords – a recommended voyage, even though it is also possible to drive all the way.
The pleasant estate of Húsafell is perhaps not a massive attraction in itself; instead it is a great base and service centre from which to explore the surrounding wonders.
Húsafell is not a town, despite its restaurants, hotels and other tourist services. In fact it is an old and very large farm of some 100 square kilometres.
Húsafell has a good swimming pool, a golf course and is a base for organised glacier tours. Also check out the local waterfalls and the Víðgelmir caves.
Not so far from Húsafell, and right next to Route 1 near Bifröst, you will see the compact and perfectly formed cone volcano called Grábrók. It is all-too-easy to just drive on by; but a stop off is highly recommended.
At just 170 metres tall, Grábrók is the largest of three nearby volcanoes and an easy hike with rewarding views from the top.
It has been a protected natural site since the 1960s and it is possible to walk around the rim and even climb down to where molten lava once spewed forth, creating the surrounding craggy landscape some 3,600 years ago.
The town of Akranes is perhaps mainly known overseas for its successful football team, ÍA and for the fact that it is the town you can see looking north over the sea from Reykjavík. However, there is much more to Akranes than that: its museum, for example, is reason enough to visit the town all by itself.
The museum complex houses five separate exhibits including the national sports museum, a geological museum, an extensive exhibition on rural life in an old fishing town, and an impressive look into the construction of the nearby Hvalfjarðargöng – one of the world´s longest underwater road tunnels.
The Snæfellsnes peninsula (where Stykkishólmur is located) takes its name from Snæfell mountain and the tiny glacier on its peak, called Snæfellsjökull – or 'Snow Mountain Glacier´ in English.
The glacier may be monumentally tiny, but it is also breathtaking to behold. Just think of a giant, curly wisp of cream or ice cream placed on top of a mountain. It´s no wonder that Snæfellsjökull has inspired stories, superstition and intrigue throughout the centuries.
Just three of its many cultural accolades are as the entry point in Jules Verne´s novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth, as the supposed meeting point of ley lines and as the place where aliens from outer space are first going to land (sooner or later).