Mountains in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

We spent our Thanksgiving week in Iceland. Our wish for going around this time was to see the northern lights. But the nights turned out cloudy and rainy, except for one when the sky cleared up briefly and we had a glimpse of the celestial wonder – faintly. We were not disappointed though. Iceland was so beautiful and had so much to offer that we almost forgot the main reason why we traveled there during the cold winter days in the first place. For one, Iceland has a dramatic and diverse natural landscape that would take anybody’s breath away. 


Snowy Mountains in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland.

On our first day, we headed straight to Snaefellsness Peninsula, the westernmost point of the country. With spectacular glaciered mountains and volcanic peaks, stunning fjords, countless waterfalls and salmon rivers, dramatic sea cliffs and rock formation, charming fishing villages dotting the coastlines, lush valleys and lava fields, etc. – Snaefellsness is considered a miniature Iceland as it provides a sampler of what the whole country offers best.


The road in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe road cutting through expansive lava fields with magnificent snowy mountain ahead. 


Lava Field in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland.The stark lava fields provides a fascinating contrast to the glistening glaciered mountain.


Snaefellsjokull Volcano, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe area is dominated by the immensity of Snaefellsjokull, the volcano that was the setting of Jules Verne’s fantasy novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth.


Bjarnafoss Waterfall, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Bjarnafoss, one of the many waterfalls in the area, gracefully flowing into basalt rocks.


An Old  Church in Bodir, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandAn old church in Budir.


Hotel Budir, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandHotel Budir provides a sweeping view of  Snaefellsjokull glaciers.


Snaefellsjokull Glacier and Budir-estuary, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe magnificient view of Snaefellsjokull and Budir-estuary.


Budir-estuary, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe mysterious winter sight of Budir-estuary, where the river meets the sea. 


Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland The snowy path to Songhellir, the “cave of song,” known for its superb acoustic.


Songhellir, Cave of Song, Snaefellnsnes, IcelandHjalmar, our driver/guide, outside the Songs of Cave. It turned out that Hjalmar is an opera singer. He regaled us with a beautiful aria inside the cave and while we were driving. It was such a good treat. It seems like everyone we met in Iceland had an artistic bent. It’s either they’re a musican or a writer, plus something else.


Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

The winter weather was ever changing.  The locals say that if you don’t like the weather in Iceland,  just wait five minutes. It can be dark, rainy, and windy one minute then bright and dry the next. 


Mount Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandMount Kirkjufell, considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain in Iceland. 


Arnarstapi Village, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe fishing village of Arnarstapi with its basalt rock columns.


Arnarstapi Village, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe village of  Arnarstapi


Turf Houses in Arnarstapi, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandSome of the remaining traditional turf houses in the village. In the olden days, the roofs and sidings of the houses were covered with turf for insulation. 


Hellnar, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandCliffs and sea caves in the fishing village of Hellnar.


Londrangar basalt cliffs, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, IcelandThe dramatic basalt cliffs of Londrangar.


Londrangar, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

The Icelandic winter days maybe cold and short (with about 5 hours of daylight) accompanied by unpredictable weather elements, but at the end of each day we felt surprisingly exhilarated rather than depressed.  Hjalmar told us that, “These mountains, these glaciers, we draw great energy from them.”  There’s probably some truth to it. (And their beautiful, powerful nature is what probably gives the people of Iceland their artistic juices. )


Travel Notes:

  • We booked a private trip to Snaefellsnes Peninsula with AT Iceland Tours/  We recommend their services. It was great to have Hjalmar Georgsson, the company owner, as our driver/guide. He’s very knowlegeable and passionate about his country and, of course, his music:)  
  • This trip may be easily done on your own in the summer but we don’t recommend it during winter.  It’s important to have a knowlegeable guide with you in wintertime who knows which roads are passable and which areas are closed for visits. We also recommend that you do this trip in 4×4 jeep in the wintertime. 
  • Dress in layers during winter. Waterproof outerwears are recommended. 


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Linking to Travel Photo DiscoveryOur World Tuesday, Travel Tuesday, Sweet Shot Tuesdayand Travel Photo Thursday.

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

79 responses to “Iceland: The Fall/Winter Wonders of Snaefellsnes Peninsula

  1. Beautiful pictures. Iceland is my dream trip and my husband and I are going to go in August. Thanks for sharing!

    • Marisol

      Hi Brittanny, thanks! Oh, I’m sure you and your husband will love it there. We can’t wait to go back ourselves.

  2. Todd

    Iceland is easily one of my favorite places in the world and I’m desperately trying to get back. Some friends and I rented a car last March and went with the same goal in mind. Unfortunately we had cloudy nights and THEN the most ridiculous blizzard I’ve ever seen, and I’m from the Midwest. Needless to say, a car stuck in a snow drift, being snowed in to one location for 3 days, and driving 10 hours through weather where you can only see one reflector on the road put a damper on my trip. However, what we did see was stunningly beautiful. Very awesome pictures.

    • Marisol

      Oh gosh, sorry to hear about your misadventure, Todd. But I’m glad that you got to appreciate the beauty of the country despite the damper.

    • Marisol

      Hi Agness, thanks! You have to see them for yourself to really see how amazing they are.

  3. Lady Fi

    How utterly gorgeous! Iceland is high up on my to-visit list!
    Lady Fi recently posted..Branching outMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Thanks Fiona. I hope you get to visit there sometime soon.

  4. Andrea

    OMG that is really really spectacular. I felt like it is an alien planet if you are not in some pictures. I can’t imagine why some people make it their home, as after all, humans are still hot-blooded animals. Thank you so much for the tour, at least i was able to see it through you. For someone who hasn’t experienced winter yet, this is just like a dream!

    • Marisol

      Hi Andrea, Iceland is a beautiful country that its people are so proud to make it their home. They leave but they always return. Some races are built hardy and adjust well to extreme climate in their countries. Winter in Iceland is actually not any hasher than the winter in North America. They say winter in NY where I live can actually be colder than in Iceland. I hope you get to experience winter sometime soon:)

    • Marisol

      Hi Marcia, so true. The stunning landscape can bring out the artistry in people. Yes, there’s always a next time for a northern light. Gives us an excuse to return or to venture somewhere else for it

  5. oooOhh hello Iceland!!! Lovely photos Marisol! As much as I love white sand and beaches, I love snowcapped peaks just as much! How wonderful you guys braved the [freezing] cold for an Icelandic treat! I’m hoping to make it there in the next coming year. Did you book a tour throughout the entire week or just flew out there and signed up for tours when you got to the country?
    Antoinette recently posted..Weekend Wedding and Giant Cactus in ArizonaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Antoinette, thanks! I know there’s something magical about snowcapped peaks, isn’t it? You know, winter in Iceland isn’t any worst than in NY, only they have shorter daylight. I really hope you make it there next year; I’m pretty sure you will love it as much as we did. We booked most of the activities before we left; some of them we did on our own. If you’re not sure what you want to do, you can wait until you get there to figure it out and book the tours when you get there.

  6. the landscape is raw and gorgeous. i doubt if the temps in the summer go to the 80s.
    Photo Cache recently posted..People WatchingMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Its rawness is truly gorgeous! I heard that the average summer temp is in the high 70’s. The highest record summer temp is 86.9F and that was in 1939!

    • Marisol

      Hi Noel, It truly is spectacular. The winter isn’t that bad but then summer is better for having longer day lights for photography.

  7. Gorgeous countryside!!! Less snow than I would imagine of Iceland..

    • Marisol

      It truly is gorgeous! Ironically, Iceland is actually more green than snow:)

  8. Karen

    What a wonderful trip and an amazing landscape which you captured well. Never neen on your blog but will certainly return to read about your travels.

    • Marisol

      HI Karen, it was an amazing place and trip indeed. Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Catherine

    Wow, gorgeous shots! What a majestic landscape…. love the little church amid the mountains.

    • Marisol

      Hi Catherine, thanks! I also love that church that stands in the middle of nowhere. It added drama to the landscape.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Molly. The light was truly interesting because it kept changing every few minutes.

  10. pat

    Breathtaking photos. I would love to visit there some day. Thank you for sharing!

    • Marisol

      Our pleasure, Pat. I hope you get visit sometime soon. It’s really a breathtaking destination.

    • Marisol

      Hi Amanda, I hope you get to go soon and have the amazing experience.

  11. pea

    I was planning a late spring visit to see the northern lights. Your journey makes me eager to get there.

    • Marisol

      Hi Pea, that’s awesome. I wish from the bottom of my heart that you get to see the auroras.

  12. Linda W

    What a trip! Your photos are great!

  13. Sharon

    Oh, my, these photos are breathtaking! I had not realized the immense beauty of Iceland. Thank you for sharing all these. This is a new place on my bucket list now! My favorite is the waterfall above the “tiny” home. My goodness, what a view!
    Sharon recently posted..Finding the Filbert StepsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Sharon, thanks! That view of the tiny house below the waterfall is much more dramatic in person. There are also a lot more waterfalls that are stunning. Iceland should definitely be on everyone’s bucketlist.

  14. Claire

    How glorious – Iceland has been top of my travel to-do list for a while, and this has given me even more of a push – thanks!!
    Claire recently posted..A Place Where the Kids are HipMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Claire, thanks! I hope you can cross off your list soon.

  15. Kaelene

    Beautiful pictures of your trip! Snæfellsnes was one of my favorite road trips in Iceland so far. Bummer about the northern lights, they are so tricky. I have been here 7 times and I finally saw them when I made my official move here this October. Glad you guys enjoyed your trip, it truly is such a beautiful country with amazing landscapes.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Kiki! You’re lucky to be living in Iceland (and to finally have seen the auroras!). It’s such a beautiful country with such amazing nature and people. My husband and I are missing it and look forward to going back.

  16. Love Iceland and it’s easily one of my favorite countries but I’m not sure if I can handle the 5 hour daylight. This still looks spectacular though. We never made it to Snaefellsnes Peninsula so we’d love to visit next time. Beautiful shots and glad you’ve some clear weather. Mount Kirkjufell looks so imposing. You two look adorable all snuggled up :) I guess you’ll just have to go back to see the Northern Lights.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Celebrating December Nights Festival in San DiegoMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mary, we also love it so much that we’d love to go back as well, maybe in the summertime for the midnight sun. You definitely have to visit Snaefellsnes next time. I can imagine how much more spectacular it can be during the summer.
      Marisol recently posted..Iceland: The Winter Wonders of Snaefellsnes PeninsulaMy Profile

  17. Johanna

    Oh Marisol it looks so other worldy, eerie and magical. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, and despite the bitter cold it must be an amazing adventure.

    • Marisol

      Hi Jo, it was truly magical and amazing. It was not actually bitter cold the whole time. It gets bitter cold for few minutes when the wind blows and the it will get comfortable shortly. I hope you make it there soon.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Stewart. It’s definitely worth a long trek from Australia. I hope it happens soon.

    • Marisol

      Hi Freya, yes we were lucky. Gorgeous scenery and with beautiful live singing = awesome!

  18. Wow! Your pictures are beautiful – I guess I always assumed that Iceland would be all white in the winter like Minnesota! A friend once told me that she loved Iceland in the winter, but I really didn’t believe her. Now that I’ve seen your pictures, I may have to reconsider!
    cindy thetravelgal recently posted..I Suppose I Should be Getting Ready for ChristmasMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Cindy, thank! You really have to reconsider. It’s truly beautiful in the winter and I can’t wait to see its beauty in the summer.

    • Marisol

      Hi Jackie, thanks. You should definitely put it on your destination list. I hope you sealed one of those great deals!

  19. A couple of photographer friends have run photography tours in Iceland that I was very tempted to go on. After seeing your fabulous photos I know that one day, I will definitely have to go. Seeing the Northern Lights is a dream of mine so maybe I can combine both!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..A Weekend in MarysvilleMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jenny, I urge you to do that photography tour with you friends! And I wish with all my heart the you get to see the northern lights.

    • Marisol

      Thanks a lot, Denise.

  20. Beautiful photos, amazing scenery!

    • Marisol

      Thanks Rachel. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  21. What an exciting trip. You were lucky to get the owner as your guide. The scenery is fantastic.

    • Marisol

      Hi Jan, it truly was exciting and fantastic:)

  22. Where you were posting about Iceland on Facebook, I had been wondering if it was a layover or a chosen destination. I’d love to see the Northern Lights sometime, too. It’s always a bit hard when you’re dependent on nature, though, isn’t it? I’d be bummed if I went all that way and didn’t see them. That’s fantastic that your guide/driver sings opera. I imagine that hearing an aria inside a cave must be quite memorable.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..128 Hours 55 Minutes of Air Travel in One YearMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Michelle, yes the northern lights is a bit tricky. I really wish with all my heart that you get to see it when you go. But I found that it’s really hard to be disappointed if you don’t see it because the country has so much to offer to make up for it. Yes, hearing the opera in the Song Cave was amazing.

  23. Leigh

    Iceland is way, way up there on my wish list and I’d visit at any time of the year – though ideally in summer. Were there any hot springs you enjoyed on the trip? That would seem like a very fitting way to spend time on a dark, cold day in Ireland. Despite the weather you got beautiful shots.

    And where is your next adventure? You always got to the most interesting places.
    Leigh recently posted..Magical Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Leigh, Iceland should definitely be up on your list. You’d love it! Yes, we did enjoy a hot spring at the end of the trip; it was divine after all the active trips. We’re still deciding on the next adventure. So many to choose from:)

  24. Thanks for sharing the photos. Iceland must be the most photogenic country in the world. I have yet to see a bad pic of it. Sorry to miss the country on the current big trip – next time!

    • Marisol

      Hi Peter, our pleasure! Iceland is truly is photogenic; glad you agree! I truly hope that you make it there next time.

  25. Bama

    Ahh Marisol, please stop torturing me! You’ve been going to places I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time: Bhutan and now Iceland! :) Even though you only got a glimpse of the northern lights, those breathtaking landscapes of Iceland surely didn’t disappointing at all.
    Bama recently posted..Politics, Religion and Art at Jakarta’s Focal PointMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama, Ha! Ha! Now we’re even after you torture me with those food posts. It was easy not to be disappointed after seeing all those wonders that Iceland has to offer. I really hope you get to visit Iceland soon.

    • Marisol

      Hi Erica, the lighting was really fascinating because it kept changing every few minutes. Yes, it truly is a surreal landscape.

  26. I have finally managed to link up with last weeks Travel Photo Thursday – and I am glad I did. What amazing photos you have posted of your time in Iceland. Fantastic scenes. I love the church in Budir, and the view from the hotel. Now I want to go to Iceland! Have a wonderful week and the countdown to Christmas. Did you see Father Christmas on your travels?

    • Marisol

      Hi Jill, yes, go, go! You and your camera will love it there! Iceland is big on Christmas and so yes we saw Father Christmas:)

  27. Michelle

    Amazing pictures. Thank you so much for sharing these. Just discovered your blog, and I’m obsessed! :)

    Have a wonderful new years.

  28. corinne

    More beautiful photos. I’m glad you put who you booked through and included the photo of the hotel windows…great info!

  29. Greta And very lovely images sharing,


  30. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” cjeckbox and
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