Hellissandur: The Unknown Paradise of Iceland

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Basic Information

Once a busy fishing center, the small village of Hellissandur is located on the furthest north-western point of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in west Iceland. More than the four-century-old village has preserved its fishing history and lives of the early settlers at the Maritime Museum, Hellissandur. The oldest existing rowboat in Iceland named Bliki (1826) still stands tall today at the Museum. Although fishing remains one of the main occupations for locals, tourism has taken prominence in recent times. The serene and peaceful village of Hellissandur along with plenty of sites to explore makes it a perfect short-stay destination for travelers.

Hellissandur church and Snæfellsjokull glacier in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Catch sight of Arctic Terns

Just 2 kilometers away is another fishing village, Rif. The area between the two villages is a paradise for bird-lovers. Arctic terns have made this area one of their favorite nesting homes in Iceland. Catch sight of this wonderful small bird that knows how to aggressively defend its turfs.

Snaefellsjokull National Park

Just on the doorsteps of the Hellissandur is Snaefellsjokull National Park, a stunning natural scenery. Snaefellsjokull is a glacier-capped volcano formed during the last Ice Age of earth. The glacier-mountain is one of the most popular sites of Iceland, and the only National Park in Iceland that stretches to the sea. The glacier is located in the National Park. 

One can see this 1446-meters tall glacier from the capital Reykjavik on a clear day. In Icelandic folklore, Snaefellsjokull has been considered as one of the world’s ancient power sites. Believing that there would be an alien landing, thousands of people once flocked here in 1993, even CNN showed up. Though the aliens didn’t turn up, the incident shows the popular belief in this mysterious mountain. The Park is one of the well-preserved sites of Iceland and everyone is free to explore this area. If you are on a road trip in Snæfellsnes Peninsula, it is a must stop.

Hellissandur church and Snæfellsjokull glacier in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Other Sites to Explore in the area

  • Londrangar Basalt Cliffs: Londrangar are uniquely formed basalt volcanic dykes sticking out from the sea. As men in Iceland didn’t build any castle, the mother-nature took it on herself to carve out. And that is what Londrangar is, a natural castle reaching out to the sea.
  • Skarðsvík Beach: Just beside Hellissandur, is the golden sandy beach of Skarðsvík. Unlike other black-sand beaches in Iceland, Skarðsvík resembles a Mediterranean shoreline beach. Take your time to absorb the beautiful aquamarine waters and volcanic landscape of Skarðsvík.

How to reach Hellissandur?

The distance between Reykjavik and Hellissandur is roughly 200 km. There is a daily bus service between the two which takes around less than 5 hours. If you are self-driving, it is a much smaller journey that takes around 2 and ½ hours. When self driving to Hellissandur, we recommend that you drive around the whole Peninsula of Snæfellsnes and explore all the other beautiful attractions on the way. 

Hellissandur church and Snæfellsjokull glacier in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Hellissandur on a map

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