The southern side of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is blessed with a picturesque fishing village called Arnarstapi. Nicknamed as Stapi, it is sandwiched between Breiðavík and Hellnar. Keep reading to find out more about this scenic little village!
Arnarstapi is an important highlight of most Snaefellsnes Peninsula trips and is most commonly photographed with a small white house and jagged black mountain in the background. The sky-scraping basalt stone arch of Gatklettur right in the middle of the ocean is also commonly circulating and the most viral picture of the region.
But there is definitely more to Arnarstapi than these two pictures! The small village is fast becoming the favorite getaway destination in Europe. How often does one see a fishing village so pristine and lovely? Located just two hours away from the capital, Arnarstapi is the ultimate destination to beat the heat and enjoy fresh fish delicacies!
Hikers, there is something for you too! Lying between Arnarstapi and Hellnar, a popular hiking path awaits hikers with high spirits and stamina. As you traverse the topography and undertake this hour-long hike, you will be greeted with a lava field, Hellnahraun, sitting next to the beach, accompanied by otherwordly vistas.
Arnarstapi also serves private fishing companies, which means a boat ride is a must-have experience here. Both the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Arnarstapi have fishing and trade in common.
Arnarstapi is a clear example of how culture and folklore influence a region. Almost everything, be it places, things or nearby villages of Hellnar, is spawned from the myth of the half-human half-ogre Bárður, who is believed to have lived in the area.
The region possesses several natural wonders, including a natural harbor and is unlike many places in Iceland. Even though the topography of Iceland is too unique to even explain – Arnarstapi clearly stands out. It was ideal for a shipping port and thereby became a small fishing village. It is a crucial center for commercial services for West Iceland.
Danish regalities controlled trade and commerce of the region since 1565. They continued to enjoy commercial rights over the harbor and the nearby land throughout centuries.
Arnarstapi in Snaefellsnes is closely situated alongside Rekjavik (193 km), Borgarnes (117 km), Akureyri (428 km).
Arnarstapi, given its low profile, seems like a difficult place to reach. On the contrary, the place is one of the easiest to commute to. While finding a way to reach the area, tourists will surely be surprised by how delightful it is.
One of the most eye-catching aspects of the region is its architectural layout. The influence of Danish culture is pretty visible in the buildings of the region, especially in Amtmannshús, a two-story-high black and white timber house.
A drive from Reykjavik to Arnarstapi is approximately about 2 hours and 30 minutes long, given that there is no stop en route. The scenic route takes you through the Ring Road, first into Borgarfjordur and then to the town Borgarnes. From here, take a left turn, west, at the roundabout to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Take road number 54, down the southern part of the peninsula, passing through Búðir and Lýsuhólslaug swimming pool before reaching Arnarstapi.
Read our detailed article about where to eat on the Snaefellsnes peninsula!
The Snjofell Campsite is yet another or more commonly known name of the campsite of Arnarstapi. The vast stretches of land and ocean accompanied with majestic panoramas allow the visitor to loosen up and relax. The campsite offers decent amenities for a stay.
Other nearby campsites are Lýsuhólslaug and á Eyrunum, Tradir.
Arnarstapi is a homey and quaint destination during the winter months, giving the perfect home away from home feeling. As soon as the snow starts pouring in, birds and buzz leave the place for the better. And peaceful mornings and tranquilizing evenings are the highlights.
Nevertheless, Arnarstapi is open to serve its guests in restaurants and hotels with warm and cozy stay facilities and luscious meals. And is definitely worth a visit!
Note: the camping grounds are closed in winter!