Kirkjufell Mountain & Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall | The most photographed location in Iceland


Basic Information

Kirkjufell is a picturesque mountain that rises above Grundarfjordur Town in the Snaefellsness Peninsula. Take a picture of this uniquely shaped mountain that is beside Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. The mountain peak is 463 meters high. Its posture and narrow top make it look like an arrow. A little fact about this mountain, it creates a small peninsula which frames in the village of Grundarfjordur. Its isolated location and the way it seems to rise from the ocean, making this landmark an exquisite photo spot. Mt. Kirkjufell is the prominent mountain in the region and a landmark of the fishing town of Grundarfjordur. It stands tall and is referred to as one of the most beautiful mountains in the peninsular region.

Kirkjufell mountain seen from above

The Formation of Kirkjufell:

Mt. Kirkjufell is made of layers of sedimentary rocks from both glacial and interglacial stages. The base of the peak is Tertiary lava which is about 5 to 10 million years old. As you hike this peak you will find different layers of rocks and lava which are about 700 thousand years old. The upper layers are both Sandstone and Quaternary lava and on the top is tuff which is common in Iceland.

The tuff is formed when a volcanic eruption takes place underwater or ice. Its angular fragmentations are formed by thermal shock and succession of rapid cooling. The mountain’s name implies “Church Mountain” in English. This church shape is the result of the glacial erosion that took place in the later part of the most recent Ice Age. Its profile was an inspiration for state architect Gudjon Samuelsson’s design of Hallgrimskihkja, the largest church in Iceland (in Reykjavik).

Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufell waterfall in Snæfellsnes during winter with snow

Some fun facts about Kirkjufell:

The mountain was once nicknamed Sukkertoppen or the Sugar Top by Danish sailors as they were exporting sugar to Iceland and the packaging was similar to the shape of the mountain. It is believed to have been known as Firdafjall in the time of settlement and was later named Kirkjufell. It is one of the steepest mountains in Iceland. There are chances of finding fossils on the top of the mountain.

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall:

When driving from Grundarfjordur towards the mountain, you will be able to spot a beautiful waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss. This waterfall is a combination of three waterfalls, all of which run in the same river. They form the river Kirkjufellsa which takes name from the mountain itself. The river begins on the east part of Helgrindur Mountain Ridge. When the weather becomes warm, kids and teenagers cool off themselves by jumping into the waterfall.

northern lights aurora borealis dancing over Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Picturesque Site:

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are every photographer’s delight. Both amateurs and professional photographers capture the landscape reflections of the mountain in the water with intricate details such as magnificent sky colors at sunset and magical exposures during the Aurora Borealis. Even Game of Throne fans will recognize the mountain as “Arrowhead Mountain” from the HBO TV series, where the Hound and the company travel north of the wall to capture a white walker. The scenic beauty of the region has mesmerized people for centuries no matter what the season is. This place is bound to give you a special experience.

How to get there?

Kirkjufell is located on the north coast of the Snaefellsness peninsula, West Iceland. It is about 183 km away from the capital city of Reykjavik and about 107 km away from Borgarnes on the Ring Road. Kirkjufell is 379 km away from Akureyri.

It is easy to get to the waterfall. There are a small parking lot and a path that you can walk to get closer to the mystic waterfall.

Map of Kirkjufell

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