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What Is There To Do in the Reykjanes Peninsula and Why You Should Visit

Welcome to the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland's hidden gem, where fiery volcanic landscapes meet serene Nordic beauty. Nestled conveniently close to Reykjavík and Keflavik Airport, this Peninsula is a treasure trove of experiences. 


Imagine exploring dramatic sea cliffs, bubbling geothermal areas, and mysterious lava tunnels. Or delving into Iceland's soul at quaint heritage sites and museums, all while being enveloped in the charm of traditional Icelandic culture. 


With Campervan Reykjavik as your guide, boasting local expertise and top-notch service, you're set for an unforgettable journey. Ready to uncover the wonders of Reykjanes? Let's dive into an adventure where nature's magic meets cultural richness!


Reykjanes peninsula


Why Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula?


This Peninsula is a playground of volcanic and geothermal wonders. Think bubbling hot springs, recent volcanic eruptions that have reshaped the landscape, and a history deeply rooted in the brave tales of seafarers. And guess what? 


It's just a stone's throw away from Reykjavík and Keflavik Airport, making it super easy to reach. Whether you're a geology geek, a history buff, or just in for some unique sights, Reykjanes has a bit of everything for everyone. It's like stepping into a real-life adventure book!


How to Get to the Reykjanes Peninsula?


Getting to the Reykjanes Peninsula from Reykjavik is a breeze. It's a swift 50-minute drive along Route 41, right from the heart of the city. You've got several options to make this journey: rent a private car, join a guided tour, or – our personal favorite – hire a campervan. 


Why a campervan, you ask? Well, it's your ticket to freedom! With a campervan, you're not just moving; you're home on the go. It's the perfect blend of comfort and adventure, allowing you to explore Reykjanes at your own pace. So, why wait? Hire a campervan in Reykjavik and hit the open road!

Camper rental Iceland


What Natural Wonders Await You in the Reykjanes Peninsula?


Since we're a bunch of locals, we'll let you in on a secret. The Reykjanes Peninsula is where nature puts on its most spectacular show. Here are our top picks for natural wonders that you cannot miss:


The Blue Lagoon


The Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly one of the Reykjanes Peninsula's star attractions. Known worldwide, it draws visitors with its therapeutic, milky-blue water, making it an irresistible dip! But it's not just about the fantastic selfies. 


The water's rich minerals have powerful healing properties, perfect for rejuvenating tired muscles after a day of exploring. And guess what? The facilities are top-notch, with a modern spa, sauna, and restaurant. 


Blue lagoon, Iceland


Litli-Hrutur Eruption and Fagradalsfjall Volcano


The eruptions of Fagradalsfjall Volcano in 2021 and 2022 piqued curiosity, attracting visitors to the remote volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula. After 800 years of dormancy, this region of the Peninsula reawakened in a spectacular fashion. 


Fortunately, these eruptions didn't damage Icelandic infrastructure due to their remote locations within the Peninsula. Unexpectedly, a third eruption occurred in 2023 at the base of nearby Litli-Hrutur mountain, lasting nearly a month. Today, both Fagradalsfjall and Litli-Hrutur in the Reykjanes Peninsula lie dormant, yet their eruption sites continue to captivate adventurers and geology enthusiasts. 


Want a challenge? Take a 12-mile (19-kilometer) round-trip hike to Litli-Hrutur, but be prepared for a tough final stretch. For a safer approach, guided tours are available, ensuring you can enjoy awe-inspiring sights without compromising safety. 



Reykjanes volcano


Thrihnukagigur Volcano


A trip to the Reykjanes Peninsula would be incomplete without an awe-inspiring visit to the Thrihnukagigur Volcano. This dormant volcano boasts a vast magma chamber covering a staggering 35,200 square feet (3,270 square meters) and plunges to an impressive depth of 699 feet (213 meters)! 


Do you know what's even more fascinating? The interior walls of the volcano present a mesmerizing array of colors, a result of minerals and natural elements transforming the volcanic rock over millennia. 


The experience of descending into this vibrant, cathedral-like chamber is truly unparalleled. For an extra thrill, why not view this majestic site from the air with a helicopter tour



Thrihnukagigur Volcano


The Bridge Between Continents


The Reykjanes Peninsula is home to a unique geological marvel aptly named the Bridge Between Continents. This bridge literally straddles two tectonic plates – the North American and Eurasian – and it's one of the only places in the world where you can walk from one continent to another in mere seconds! Isn't that something?


From a geological viewpoint, it's a captivating symbol of Iceland's dynamic, ever-shifting land. Photographers, on the other hand, will relish the opportunity to capture striking shots of this symbolic bridge, with its rustic wooden structure contrasting against the stark, volcanic terrain. Not to mention the priceless bragging rights of selfies taken between two continents!


The Bridge Between Continents


Brimketill Lava Rock Pool


The enchanting Brimketill Lava Rock Pool, or the 'Whitewater Pot,' as it's locally known, is a natural wonder that can't be missed. Perched on the edge of the ocean, this unique formation carved by the relentless Atlantic waves offers a sight like no other. 


Local Icelandic folklore tells the tale of a giantess, Oddný, who used to bathe in this pool. The natural beauty is equally captivating – waves crashing against the rugged lava rocks, creating a stunning contrast with the serene pool's azure waters. 


We advise you not to try and take a dip, though. The conditions are treacherous, and the waves can be unpredictable! So stick to the viewing platforms and soak in the beauty safely.


Brimketill Lava Rock Pool


Gunnuhver Geothermal Area


The Gunnuhver Geothermal Area is a must-visit attraction on the Reykjanes Peninsula, characterized by large plumes of steam billowing from its hot springs and creating an awe-inspiring spectacle. 


Legend has it that the area is haunted by Gunna, a local ghost, who is said to materialize through the geothermal mist occasionally. This folklore adds a slightly eerie yet intriguing ambiance to the area's stunning natural features.

 

Among those features is Iceland's largest mud pool, boasting an impressive diameter of 20 meters (approximately 65 feet). This blend of fascinating folklore and geological wonders makes Gunnuhver a unique and unforgettable stop on your Icelandic adventure.


Gunnuhver Geothermal Area


Reykjanesta and Eldey


Reykjanesta and Eldey, at the southwestern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, are a testament to Iceland's rugged beauty and poignant history. Reykjanesta, with its jagged rock formations and abundant birdlife, is a photographer's dream. 


The Valahnukur cliff offers a majestic view of this wild landscape, while the nearby Reykjanesviti lighthouse adds a touch of maritime charm. Gazing out to sea, the isle of Eldey stands as a solemn sentinel. It's a place of historical sorrow, marking the extinction of the great auk in the 19th century.


 A statue commemorating the last of these magnificent birds serves as a moving tribute, reminding us of nature's fragility amidst its grandeur.


Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel


Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel, a subterranean marvel, offers a journey into the heart of Iceland's volcanic legacy. Stretching an impressive 4,461 feet (1,360 meters), it's one of the longest and most accessible lava tubes on the island. 


Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel


Formed by an ancient eruption, this tunnel is a geological time capsule. Inside, you'll find a world of intricate formations – from stalactites and stalagmites to the captivating patterns etched into the walls by flowing lava. 


The cave's interior, illuminated and equipped with walkways, makes exploring its depths both safe and awe-inspiring. Guided tours are available, offering insights into this underground wonder and its place in Iceland's fiery history.


Lake Kleifarvatn


Have you ever stood by a lake so deep and mysterious that it feels like a storybook come to life? Welcome to Lake Kleifarvatn, the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Spanning an impressive 3.5 square miles (9.1 square kilometers) and plunging to depths of 318 feet (97 meters), it's a marvel in itself. 


Lake Kleifarvatn


But here's a twist – after an earthquake in 2000, it lost a significant portion of its surface, only to resiliently recover over time. Fed solely by water seeping through the surrounding lava rock, Kleifarvatn is a hiker's and photographer's paradise. Ducks and swans glide over its surface, adding life to its serene waters. 


And let's not forget the local folklore – whispers of a serpent-like creature lurking in its depths. Doesn't that pique your curiosity?


Hafnarberg Sea Cliffs


Perched on the edge of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Hafnarberg Sea Cliffs are a sight to behold. These natural edifices overlook the Atlantic, offering dramatic vistas that capture the raw beauty of Iceland. 


The cliffs are teeming with birdlife, serving as a haven for numerous species, including the enchanting puffin. Gulls and guillemots also frequent these cliffs, their shrill calls echoing against the backdrop of crashing waves. 


As you stand there amidst the cacophony of bird calls and the rhythmic ebb and flow of the untamed ocean, the sheer magnificence of nature becomes profoundly palpable.


Hafnarberg Sea Cliffs

Krysuvik Geothermal Area


The Krysuvik Geothermal Area presents an otherworldly landscape brimming with hot springs, steaming vents, and kaleidoscopic rock formations. Here, nature's restlessness unveils itself in the form of bubbling mud pools and sizzling fumaroles. 


The soil, rich in minerals, paints a surreal palette of vibrant hues, with the contrasting blues, greens, and yellows lending a striking appeal. A journey here is akin to stepping onto an alien planet, yet it's all part of Iceland's rich geothermal heritage. 


To truly uncover the secrets of this fascinating area, consider taking a private tour of the Reykjanes Geopark. Their expert guides bring the geology to life, making for an enriching and unforgettable experience.


Krysuvik Geothermal Area

Discovering the Cultural Gems of Reykjanes


Now, let's delve into the cultural richness of Reykjanes Peninsula, exploring its historical sites, art, cuisine, and Icelandic traditions. Ready for an adventure like no other? Let's go! 


Viking World Museum


Have you ever wondered how the Vikings navigated the vast, unpredictable seas? The Viking World Museum on the Reykjanes Peninsula transports you back to the era of the fearless Norse seafarers. 


The museum houses five absorbing exhibitions, each offering a unique perspective on Viking history, culture, and mythology. A remarkable highlight is the replica of the Viking ship, the Islendingur. This faithfully recreated vessel is a testament to the Vikings' exceptional nautical skills and adventurous spirit. 


The Icelandic Museum of Rock' n' Roll


If the Viking World Museum is the portal to ancient Iceland, then the Icelandic Museum of Rock' n' Roll is your gateway to the nation's vibrant modern soul. This unique museum in Reykjanesbær is a treasure trove of Iceland's vibrant music history, dating back to 1830. 




Imagine immersing yourself in a world where you can not only see but also hear and interact with the rich musical heritage. From Gunnar Jökuls Hákonarson's legendary drum set to Emilíana Torrini's iconic dress, each exhibit tells a story. 


And for those who dream of rock stardom, there's a sound booth to test your skills. Don't forget to visit the Rokk-Café for a taste of local flavors, making your visit to this Reykjanes Peninsula gem a truly immersive experience. Ready to rock?


Stekkjarkot Heritage Site


Lost amidst the raw beauty of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Stekkjarkot Heritage Site reveals a fascinating glimpse of Iceland's architectural past. Here, you'll encounter the traditional Icelandic turf houses, which embody both practicality and charm


These dwellings, with their thick turf walls and roofs, were ingeniously designed to withstand the harsh Icelandic climate. The grass-covered exteriors blend seamlessly into the landscape, creating a picture of humble harmony with nature. 


A visit to Stekkjarkot is a journey back in time, offering insight into the simple yet resilient lifestyle of the early Icelanders. The humble turf house stands as a testament to Iceland's rich cultural heritage and the ingenious adaptability of its people.


Stekkjarkot Heritage Site

Selatangar Ruins


Imagine exploring the remnants of an old coastal fishing station right at the heart of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Welcome to the Selatangar Ruins. 


These ruins, a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of the Icelandic people, echo the stories of sailor-fishermen braving the unforgiving sea. Here, you can wander among the foundations of huts and workspaces, picturing the sailors processing their catch. 


How might it feel to live through such harsh conditions yet still persist? A visit to Selatangar not only transports you back in time but also invites reflection on the enduring human spirit.


Lobster Soup at Bryggjan Restaurant


On your cultural journey through the Reykjanes Peninsula, don't miss out on a culinary delight that has won the hearts of both locals and tourists alike - the famous lobster soup at Bryggjan Restaurant.




This hearty soup, known for its delicate balance of flavors, showcases the freshest local lobsters simmered to perfection. The velvety broth, brimming with succulent lobster chunks, leaves a lingering taste that encapsulates the essence of Icelandic cuisine. 

Its fame extends beyond the borders of Reykjanes, earning it recognition as an unmissable gastronomic experience in Iceland.


Strandarkirkja


Strandarkirkja, an emblematic coastal sanctuary, is a serene jewel nestled in the heart of the Reykjanes Peninsula. This humble yet enchanting church, with its white walls and red roof, serves as a beacon of faith against Iceland's rugged landscape.


Surrounded by the relentless waves of the Atlantic and the austere beauty of the lava fields, its presence brings an air of calm and reverence. The panoramic views from Strandarkirkja, encompassing the vast ocean and the desolate grandeur of the Peninsula, are truly awe-inspiring, making it a must-visit location in Reykjanes.


Strandarkirkja


Lighthouses of Reykjanes Peninsula


Unfurling the tales of seafaring and navigation, let's explore the iconic lighthouses adorning the captivating Reykjanes Peninsula.


Reykjanesviti Lighthouse


A beacon of resilience standing tall on the rugged cliffs of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Reykjanesviti Lighthouse holds the prestigious title of being the oldest lighthouse in Iceland. 


First illuminated in 1878, it has withstood the test of time and the harsh Icelandic elements. 

The lighthouse's solitary silhouette against the dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean encapsulates the austere beauty of the Peninsula. A testament to Iceland's maritime history, the Reykjanesviti Lighthouse continues to guide seafarers, just as it has for over a century.


Reykjanesviti Lighthouse


Hopsnesviti Lighthouse


Located on the picturesque coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Hopsnesviti Lighthouse is steeped in local maritime history. It was built in 1928, and this iconic beacon served as a constant guide for seafarers navigating the treacherous waters off Iceland's coast. 


The surrounding area is a haunting testament to the perilous sea, with numerous shipwrecks scattered along the shoreline. These rusting relics, frozen in time, offer a poignant reminder of the bravery and hardships faced by the maritime community.


Gardskagaviti Lighthouse


On the westernmost tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Gardskagaviti Lighthouse stands guard, a beacon of light reaching out into the vast ocean. This location is unique as it houses not just one but a pair of lighthouses - a testament to the evolution of seafaring safety measures. 


The older lighthouse, built in 1897, stands petite and stoic, bathed in the glow of its taller, younger sibling erected in 1944. These lighthouses, each a symbol of its era, are enduring sentinels that represent the resilience and adaptability of the Icelandic maritime community. Together, they guide vessels through the treacherous waters, a testament to the ever-evolving saga of the Reykjanes Peninsula.


Hopsnesviti Lighthouse


How Can You Make Your Trip to Reykjanes Unforgettable?


To make your journey to the ruggedly gorgeous Reykjanes Peninsula indelible, here are a few tongue-in-cheek tips that guarantee a smooth Icelandic adventure:


  • Best Time to Visit: In summer, Iceland offers perpetual daylight, a.k .a. the Midnight Sun. But visit in winter if you enjoy playing 'find your car' under a pile of snow. 

  • Making the Most of Your Visit: Embrace your inner Viking. Taste the local fermented shark delicacy – it's an experience you certainly won't forget, no matter how much you might want to!

  • Planning is Key: Remember, spontaneous adventures are great, but finding yourself stuck in a snowstorm unprepared? Not so much fun. So, always check the weather forecast before heading out.

Trip to Reykjanes

What Makes Reykjanes Peninsula a Must-Visit for Nature Lovers?


The Reykjanes Peninsula is a dream come true for nature enthusiasts. A unique blend of rugged volcanic landscapes, ethereal lighthouses, and fascinating ruins, it offers an immersive experience that marries natural beauty with cultural richness. 


The Peninsula invites you to delve into its mesmerizing vistas and timeless tales, promising memories that will last a lifetime. So, gear up and embark on the adventure of exploring the diverse offerings of the Reykjanes Peninsula!


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