Snaefellsjokull National Park (Snæfellsjökull) was established with an objective to protect its area’s sentimental sanctuary and unique nature so as to boost tourism around the region and to make it accessible to visitors from June 2001.
The Snaefellsjokull National Park is unique in its way because it’s the only national park in the whole of Iceland that stretches out to the sea. The ice cap of Snaefellsjokull resides within the park. The natural monument of Bardalaug and Budahraun, Arnarstapi, and Hellinar nature reserves are part of the Snaefellsjokull National Park. The eastern part of Buoahraun lava fields was made a nature reserve in 1977.
Did you know? The lava field hosts some of the most beautiful vegetation. It’s home to around 130 species of plants; including 11 out of the 16 fern species that are found here. Moreover, lots of kittiwakes can be located in this area.
The national park sits on an area of 170sq.km. During the breeding season, its coast is alive with many birds. Most of its coastal plain is covered with lava fields which flowed from the glacier or craters nearby, but is now covered with moss and can be seen in many areas. Snaefellsjokull glacier majestically looks out over the national park.
It has two types of lava namely; rough, jagged lava and smooth, ropy lava. The lava formations are varied and amazing with so many caves in the Snaefellsjokull National Park.
Some of the archeological remains which can be found in Snæfellsjokull national park dates back to the era of Iceland’s settlement 1100 years ago. There are dome-like structures of unknown origin near Gufuskálar. These structures are estimated to be 500-700 years old.
The park is tended by park rangers during the summer and helps and gives information about the park to visitors. There are beautiful villages near the national park like Hellissandur, Rif, and Ólafsvík. Some of the attractions offered include birdwatching, hiking trails, fishing and long sandy beaches.
Snaefellsjokull National Park visitor centre is located in Hellnar. The centre is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm during summer months. Special arrangements are done if it’s not in the summer months.