Thursday, 7 March 2019

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss on Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Iceland has so much to offer. From giant glaciers like Vatnajökull and Skaftafell to breathtaking waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss and Godafoss to inspiring landscapes like Landmannalaugar. This remote island is without a doubt a precious gift from Mother Nature. It’s quite hard to find what Iceland has in other parts of the world. I mean, in how many other places do fire and ice coexist? Could it be any more magical? Today we will head to western Iceland. More specifically, to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It’s located about two and a half hours from our capital, Reykjavik. So whether you're visiting for a few hours as part of a day trip or are or taking a road trip around Iceland, you shouldn’t miss this wonderfully stunning waterfall and its mighty companion, Kirkjufell mountain.

Kirkjufell is the famous mountain from Game of Thrones

When Should You Come to Kirkjufell? 


You are probably aware of how infamous Iceland’s climate is. It’s no surprise that our country has some of the most unpredictable weather you’ll ever encounter. This is largely due to the wind. It can be very dangerous if you don’t take it seriously or if you decide to ignore it. I am not trying to scare you though! We are very well prepared, and there are many sites like Vedur website where you can get alerts about the wind/weather conditions.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula can be visited all year round since the roads to get there from pretty much anywhere are very well maintained. You don't even need a 4x4 to drive in this area. You could actually rent a car from Reykjavik and get there in a small sedan.

So when should you come? Well, this depends on your preferences. If you prefer to enjoy Iceland in warmer (or not-so-cold) weather, then you should come in June, July, or August.

I personally suggest you come any time from September to March. Why? Simply because one of the most beautiful things you can witness is the Aurora Borealis dancing behind this imposing peak. The Northern Lights are not visible in the summer, so you’ll need to come at a different time of year to see them.

The Northern Lights over Kirkjufell mountain

The Perfect Photo of Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss 


Now, I am not a photographer of any kind. In fact, I just press the shutter button, and that's about it. But I am sure many of you can do a lot better! If you enjoy photography, then you absolutely cannot overlook this special location. Church mountain (that is what Kirkjufell means) is the most photographed landscape in Iceland, along with its loyal buddy, Kirkjufellsfoss. When you see the juxtaposition of the elements, you’ll understand why.

This 463 meter (1,519 ft) high mountain has a very unique shape. In fact, whenever I look at it, I see an upside down ice cream cone. From the right angle, the cascades of Kirkjufellsfoss could be like some ice cream melting down. I might be a bit of a gelato lover though, so I always have ice cream on the brain. Seriously though, this place is a real delight to your eyes. That is why you should contemplate it and take it all in. Just enjoy it without taking your camera out at first. This charming place deserves all of your attention, no distractions.

Regardless of the type of photography equipment you have, be it your own professional camera, a regular camera, even your smartphone, I assure you, those pictures will amaze whoever you show them to. Especially to any Game of Thrones fans you might know. This mountain was featured in season seven of the popular HBO series.

If you want to go a little further, there are also photography tours of the area. These are in very high demand, due to Snaefellsnes’ proximity to Reykjavik. It’s not a long trip, and they usually take you in a Jeep. You will be shown the best shots from the best angles, with the best exposure, and all that good stuff.

Can You Climb Kirkjufell Mountain? 


So, what about some action after taking delightful pictures? You are probably wondering if it is possible to go up that sugar cone. Well, the simple answer is yes, but to honest, I don’t recommend it. You can climb up the Kirkjufell, but because it’s quite difficult, steep, and windy, it’s a bit dangerous. It’s definitely for only the most experienced climbers. There have been three fatal accidents on Kirkjufell; one from a local and two from tourists. That is why it is only recommended for experienced hikers and ideally accompanied by a guide.

The climb should also only be done when the weather conditions are optimal. A non-windy day in summer is the perfect time to do it. It gets very slippery during winter/ fall, and it could be quite perilous. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the peak at a normal pace. Those brave few who have attempted the climb say that the effort is totally worth it, as the view is unparalleled.

Kirkjufell's steep, rocky incline is not suitable for climbing

The Nearby Town of Grundarfjörður 


Before leaving the peninsula on your Iceland road trip, you should consider visiting this picturesque little harbor town. It is quite small, with a population of almost 900. Located in the middle of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Grundarfjörður is the perfect stop to get some rest, a warm cup of coffee, or a delicious meal before heading out to see Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss.

There is more to do though. In fact, you might like it so much that you will probably want to stay longer if your travel itinerary allows for it.

Boat tours depart during summer so that you can go deep sea fishing. And if you are lucky, you could even spot a few Icelandic whales. This particular zone of Iceland is well known for its orca population. Also, the famous and adorable puffins can be seen close by. And you can also go horseback riding.

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss on Snaefellsnes Peninsula 


As you can see, this area will give you plenty of rewarding experiences that you will never forget, and who knows? Perhaps you will come again, and you will be just as astonished as the first time.

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