Arnarstapi: The Fishing Village in Iceland

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Arnarstapi, also known as Stapi, is a beautiful small fishing village that is located at the foot of Mt. Stapafell, which is in between Breiðavík Farms and the Hellnar Village, southern side of Snæfellsnes, Iceland. This is believed to be a fishing hub once but now has turned to a tourist place, or a place to rejuvenate in between, before we enter to Snæfellsjökull National Park. The population has shrunk considerably. You will see numerous old houses and hear many interesting stories about the place. It is indeed a mesmerizing place known for its beautiful landforms and picturesque views! The eye-catching formations of lava rocks and the gorgeously stunning gatherings of sea birds will add to the charm of this Icelandic Village! You will notice how beautifully Arnarstapi is framed in pictures from Snæfellsnes Peninsula and is often showed with a small white house under a spiny black mountain. 

Arnarstapi fishing village in snæfellsnes peninsula

Arnarstapi: Trading Point for Fishermen

Arnarstapi is one of Iceland’s most favorite and frequently visited destinations amidst tourists and natives! Situated in the lap of nature amidst the exquisite beauty all around, it is a mesa that has easy access to the Snæfellsjökull glacier. It was during fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it became an important fishing village. But eventually, it turned out to be a famous and most important Arnarstapi dock for small boats and a destination for crafts and yachts too! Arnarstapi with surrounding cliffs along the coastline has been occupied by the myriads of kittiwakes, birds, fulmars, and razorbills with many others too in the area. Arnarstapi harbor is amidst the few places in Iceland, which is perfect for shipping ports that offer the convenience to ship the fishing village grew. It gradually became the hub for commercial services for West Iceland. It was a trading point for commercial fishermen and the fishing boats were anchored to unload stocks and other merchandise in the 16th century during the rule of Danes over the Iceland that flourished for over 200 years. The Arnarstapi lighthouse was built in 1941.

The Historical Aspect of Arnarstapi

Stapi was enlisted amidst the most important trading post in the near past with larger population size as compared to today! Turning the pages of history, and following the Bardar-Saga – a mythological person, which is half a man and half an ogre, used to live in the cave located in the northern slopes of the mountain. The name of this place and the tourist attractions nearby this place are inspired by the legend of – half-human half-ogre Bárður.

Gatklettur at Arnarstapi fishing village in snæfellsnes peninsula

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Gatklettur Arch-Rocks

Arnarstapi is a perfect place to hone your photography skills! A haven for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers. Gatklettur is a huge, and magnificently beautiful arch-shaped rock formation that positions between the beach and sea, which is near the port of Arnarstapi.

Bárðar Snæfellsás Statue

Just near the Arnarstapi coastline, while you walk along, you will witness a large stone sculpture of a man in the Viking helmet. According to Icelandic saga, this is a sculpture of Bárðar Snæfellsás, whose father was a huge troll and mother was human. The legendary stories about his adventures are well-known by everyone there. He touched the shores of Snæfellsás and came with his family from Norway. Many regions across that place carry his name and stories. Not just this, it is still believed that he is the protector of the Snæfellsnes peninsula and his spirit roams around that area to help tourists who travel there!

Arnarstapi fishing village in snæfellsnes peninsula

How to Get There?

The entire journey from Reykjavik to Arnarstapi will take you around 2 hours and 30 minutes if you drive without refueling in between. Drive along the Ring Road 1 to Borgarfjordur that will take you to the town of Borgarnes.  Take a left turn – West, which is a roundabout onto the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Now follow road nr. 54 – along the southern part of the peninsula, past Búðir and Lýsuhólslaug swimming pool before you reach Arnarstapi.

Map of Arnarstapi

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