Sönghellir Cave translates to ‘Song Cave’ and is known for its incredible acoustics (hence the name). But where is this magical place, and how does one get there? What is the legend that lies behind the cave, and what else is there to see and do in the area?
In this article, we answer all these questions and more. So, if you’ve always had an interest in Iceland’s attractions or have an upcoming trip to the island – read on. You might just want to add Sönghellir Cave to your trip itinerary.
Where is Sönghellir Cave?
Sönghellir can be found on the northern side of Mount Stapafell in the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Mount Stapafell overlooks the incredibly interesting Arnarstapi Village.
The cave is roughly 185 kilometers or a 2.5-hour drive from the capital city of Reykjavík, which makes it a possible day trip during our summer months with plenty of daylight hours. But since it’s so conveniently close to the Ring Road, we recommend that you add it as a stop to a Ring Road road trip.
How to Get to Sönghellir Cave
The best way to get to Sönghellir Cave is with your own transport. If you’re coming from the direction of the capital city, you simply need to get onto the Ring Road and start driving towards Borgarnes. From there, you just take Road 54 and continue on this road for about an hour and 20 minutes till you get close to Arnarstapi.
Right before the village, you will turn right onto Road 570 which goes to Snæfellsjökull Glacier. Road 570 is a gravel road, but it’s well-maintained and only a few kilometers before you reach the cave parking lot.
The Legend Behind Sönghellir Cave
Legend has it that Sönghellir served as shelter to the family of a 9th-century settler called Bardur Snæfellsas. But this was no ordinary man. He was half-man and half-giant and had magical powers. Today, he is believed to be the guardian of the Snæfellsa area.
Sönghellir Cave & Icelandic History
Sönghellir Cave plays quite an important role in preserving Icelandic history. That’s because the many names you’ll find carved into the cave walls are not from vandals, but incredible figures and famous people who played significant roles in the country. These include people such as Bjarni Palsson and Eggert Olafsson who travelled the country in the 18th century.
What to See and Do at Sönghellir Cave
You will find plenty to see and do around Sönghellir Cave. A few things you can consider adding to your trip itinerary include:
Visiting Arnarstapi Village
Hiking the Snæfellsjökull Glacier
Checking out the Gatklettur Rock Formation
Exploring Raudfeldsgja Canyon
Visitng Stori-Hellir Cave
Some Helpful Safety Tips When Visiting Sönghellir Cave
If this is your first time to Iceland or just the first time visiting Sönghellir Cave, the following tips will help you have a safe and memorable trip:
Stick to the designated areas for visitors. You may feel like Indiana Jones, but this is no time to take "the road less travelled".
Be sure to dress in layers. Not only is this a good rule of thumb for Iceland in general, but especially when the temperatures inside the cave vs. the outside can vary significantly.
Bring a raincoat, and waterproof clothing and gear. Not only will this protect you against any potential weather changes, but will also protect against any dampness (especially when visiting during one of the months when there are still some snow and ice thawing here in Iceland).
Sönghellir Cave; Echos of the Past
Sönghellir Cave echoes the past – from famous historical figures to legends of giant guardians. But it also echos any sounds you enter the cave with today. This alone makes it an incredible place to visit.
Add on the many other attractions and activities in the surroundings, and you’ve got the makings of a great road trip itinerary. Just rent a campervan in Reykjavík upon arrival and start your unforgettable Ring Road road trip with Sönghellir Cave as a stop along the way.