Snæfellsjökull National Park is a national park located on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland. The park is home to the ice-covered volcanic crater that was the setting for Jules Verne's book Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Located at the end of the peninsula, the national park encompasses all of its western coast and the Snæfellsjökull volcano. It is perhaps the most easily accessible park from Reykjavík, only 3 hours away by car.
Expect a huge variety of natural beauty, ranging from towering sea stacks to sandy beaches. The volcano is ice-capped year round.
Flora and fauna
The northern entrance to the park is just outside Hellissandur. Ólafsvík is otherwise the main town on this part of the Peninsula.
Fees and permits
Most of the roads on the Western and SW-most parts of the peninsula are unpaved (to road 54). Road 574, Utnesvegur, leads around the park more or less by the coast, while road 570, Jökulhálsleið, leads east of the glacier outside of the park but close to the glacier. F575 between Utnesvegur and Jökulhálsleið leads over the highland, but requires four wheel drive.
Several companies offer tours to the summit.
- Vatnshellir Cave, ☏ . May 15-Sep 30: Hourly 10AM-6PM; Oct 1-May 14: Hourly 11AM-3PM. An 8000 year old cave formed by the cooling lava from the eruption of Snæfellsjökull. One of the most easily accessible caves nationwide, Jules Verne decided to begin his journey to the earth's core here. Light climbing and rain jacket necessary. Visit only possible with guided tours. Adults ISK 3750, Teenager ISK 1500, Student/Senior ISK 3000.
- Londrangar. Sticking out like a castle on the sea, the dikes are what is left of a sunken volcanic crater. Best seen from a viewpoint a couple kilometers away.
- Skarðsvík Beach. Tired of volcanoes and glaciers? Head to the beach! In contrast with black sand along most Icelandic coastline, this beach is not unlike the ones in the more temperate regions. Just don't forget, it's colder!
Walking, skiing, and/or snowmobiling will take one to the top of Snæfellsjökull. Beware of crevasses.
Hotels exist in Hellissandur and Ólafsvík. The Hotel Hellissandur (with a restaurant) appears more reliable than Ólafsvík.
Beware crevasses. And weather.