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Nature highlights

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Nature highlights

The nature on the Reykjanes peninsula is unique and since November 2015 it is known as Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark.

The peninsula exists where the North Atlantic ridge rises from the ocean. Here you can find 100 different craters, caves and lava fields, a variety of bird life, astonishing cliffs, high geothermal activity, and black sand beaches. Below are a few selections of interesting geothermal hotspots and attractions located in this area. 
 
The peninsula is very accessible all year round and distances between places are not long as many places of interests are only a 5-20 minutes drive from the Keflavik international airport and within an hour's drive from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. 

Take a look at some of the highlights in the region. Some of the sites are marked as geosites within the Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark. These sites have are of a great significance to the Geopark and part of the geological and cultural stories of the area.

Geosites

The Reykjanes Geopark has 55 areas listed as geosites. A geosite is an interesting site because of the geological, geographical or cultural history of the region. It plays a significant role in the interpretation of the Reykjanes Geopark and what it stands for.

Below you will find information about the 55 geosites. For even more nature highlights in the area click here.

Almenningur

Patch of lava field in Vatnsleysustrond county. Located between two lava fields Kapelluhraun and Afstappahraun. It came from Hrútárgjárdyngju that erupted over 7000 years ago. There used to be a forest but like in other places in Iceland it was gone due to exploitation and grazing. In the area you can find one of many Gvendarbrunnur and on the south side of Reykjanesbraut there are Hvassahraunskatlar.

The name Almenningur means "Common Grazings" and they still share it.

Location: Vatnsleysuströnd

Arnarsetur

Arnarsetur is a short monogenetic volcanic fissure with scoria and spatter craters, formed in an eruption that was an integral part of the Reykjanes Fires, a volcano-tectonic episode from 1210 to 1240. The fissure is two kilometers in length and the lava formations that originate from it cover 20 square kilometers. They are rugged and contain lava tubes and remains of human activity. The name Arnarsetur means Eagle's nest and derives from a pair of eagles that lived in the area before.

Arnarsetur is located east of the road to town Grindavík (43). The exit is about half way from Reykjanesbraut (41) to Grindavík.

Basendar

An ancient fishing outfit and a trading post just south of Stafnes.

It was one of the harbours of the Danish Trade Monopoly posts comprising Hafnir, Stafnes and Midnes. During the night of January 9th 1799 a catastrophic tidal flood devastated Batsendar. It swept most of the houses away and some of the people barely escaped. Only one old woman drowned. This was the most devastating, tidal flood in the history of the country.

How to get there: Road from Sandgerði to Stafnesi. There is a parking and walk from there until you see ruins of the place and old wall made from rocks.

Brennisteinsfjöll

Brennisteinsfjöll, or Sulphur Mountains, are a ridge of late Ice Age hyaloclastite mountains. The highest point is the lava shield Kistufell. Brennisteinsfjöll are lined with volcanic fissures that are not much older than Iceland's settlement. A geothermal area is located in the northern part of the mountains, where sulphur was mined around 1880 with little success. The mines are still visible.

Bridge Between Continents

Bridge between Europe and North America on Reykjanes Peninsula.

The lava-scarred Reykjanes peninsula lies on one of the world's major plate boundaries, the Mid Atlantic Ridge. According to the continental drift theory the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are continuously drifting apart with great forces under the gaping rifts. As the plates diverge, linear fractures, known as fissures form due to stresses created by the tension that builds up as the plates move away from each other.
The Bridge between two continents at Sandvík is a small footbridge over a major fissure which provides clear evidence of the presence of a diverging plate margin. The bridge was built as a symbol for the connection between Europe and North America.

One can cross the continental divide on Leif the Lucky's Bridge and take home a personalised certificate at the Reykjanes information center and Reykjanes Geopark visitor center at Duus Cultural house.

Brimketill

Brimketill is a small, naturally carved pool, by marine erosion, at the lava shore edge west of the town of Grindavík. The folklore relates that the pond was regularly occupied by a giantess named Oddný. The viewing platform overlooking Brimketill is just a few steps away from the parking lot starting with a small set of stairs, making the platform inaccessible to wheelchairs. Standing on the platform you risk the possibility of getting soaked as the waves can almost reach the parking lot. Make sure to watch your step while taking in the amazing view and the unrelenting forces of nature. Utmost caution is recommended, especially when travelling with children.

Safety information!

  • There is no safety supervision of the area.
  • Visitors travel at their own risk.
  • The waves can be unpredictable and unexpected.
  • Ocean currents in the area are extremely powerful.
  • Strong blasts of wind can be dangerous and unforeseen.
  • Never leave your child unattended. Hold it at all times on the viewing platform.
  • Entering the sea may be life-threatening.


Travel safely in Iceland. SafeTravel.is



Drykkjarsteinn

A rock with three holes, shape like bowls.

Most wanted stop for travellers that had to go to either to Grindavik or Krýsuvík. It is located were these two old roads meet.

The story says that one is for a dog, one for a man and the third for a horse. The water is holy and people could always trust that there would be water to drink.

Location: Short walk from road 427.

Eldborg next to Geitahlíð

Eldborg is by far the highest of five craters lying along a volcanic fissure in the slopes of Geitafell, and is often called Stóra-Eldborg (Big-Eldborg). It is steep and made of scoria and spatter. A prominent lava channel branches off to the east. Both Stóra-Eldborg and Litla-Eldborg (Small-Eldborg) are protected. It is possible to hike up to Stóra-Eldborg, which is by many considered the most beautiful crater in the Southwest of Iceland, and from there to Litla-Eldborg where one can look straight down the crater.

Near Grindavík south of road 427 is Stóra-Eldborg and below the road is Litla-Eldborg. It is advised to leave the car by the road to Litla-Eldborg.

Eldey

A sheer 77 metre high rock protruding out of the sea.

It is about 15 km to the south of the southwestern most tip of the Reykjanes peninsula.The structure of Eldey is basaltic hyaloclastites, and it is 0,3 km2 in area. It is the innermost of a chain of skerries standing on a shallow, submarine ridge, which stretches 45 seamiles offshore to the southwest. The name of this chain is Fuglasker or Eldeyjar. One of those skerries was Geirfuglasker, where the last breeding colonies of the Great Auk was located. Geirfuglasker disappeared mostly from the surface during submarine eruptions in 1830.One of the biggest gannet colonies of the world is still surviving on Eldey. According to a count which was made in 1949 the number of gannets breeding there during the summer was 70.000.

Eldvorp - Remnants of ancent settlement

Shelters made of rock, ancient paths and stacked walls.

They have been discoverd near Eldvörp, a row of scoria and spatter cones formed in the Reykjanes Fires 1210-1240 AD.

Location: Close to Eldvörp, walk from road 425.

Mt Fagradalsfjall

Mt Fagradalsfjall, the westernmost part of the mountain ridge of the Reykjanes Peninsula, is really a small plateau. Some hyalocaslite ridges protrude, especially in the western part. Its highest elevation is 385 m. above sea level.

Frank M. Andrews, the commander in chief of the American forces in the North-Atlantic area during World War II, with several other high ranking officers, was killed there in a crash. They were arriving from USA and preparing for landing on Keflavík Airport. Only one man survived the crash. He had to wait more than 24 hours for rescue. There can still been found items from the plane.

Location: In the center of Reykjanes Peninsula, north-east of Grindavík.


FMApic2.jpg

Frank Maxwell Andrews


Festarfjall

A eroded subglacial volcano.

A section of a small hyaloclastite hill is exposed in the costal cliffs. A dyke named Festi(ladder), evidently the feeder for Festarfjall, passes up through the basement and the Festarfjall sequence, branching towards the base of the lavas. The story say that Festi is a neckless of a woman-troll.

The story also say that it is impossible to walk on the beach downbelow without getting wet! Try and see if you can!


Location: Near highway 427

Gallow Cliffs near Hagafell

Cliffs known as Gallows Cliffs or Hanging Rocks.

The cliffs were used to execute thieves captured in Þorbjarnarfell according to an old folk story.

Location: From road 43 there is a short walk.

Gallow cliffs in Stafnes

Place of execution according to an old folk story.

Cliffs, two of which are quite high, with an inlet several fathoms deep between them. A tree between was laied between the two cliffs and men hanged from it a punishment for serious crimes.

Location: About 1 km from Básendar, short walk from road 45

Geitahlid

A table mountain just east of farm Krysuvik.

Geitahlíð is both a doleritie shield volcano and a table mountain. It is 386 metres high on the southern edge of the Reykjanes Mountain Ridge just east of farm Krysuvik. Eldborg the crater is on the souther foot of Geitahlid near the main road.

Location: South of Kleifarvatn, by road 427

Grænavatn

Two maar type explosion craters, probably over 6000 years old.

The age difference between the craters is probably small. Both of the craters are lake-filled today. The trend of the crater rows is the same as that of earthquake fractures of the Reykjanes Peninsula, generally trend SW-NE.

Location: Close to road 428.

Gunnuhver

The mud pools and steam, vents in south-west Reykjanes.

The area is close to Reykjanes lighthouse and is collectively named Gunnuhver after a female ghost that was laid there. She had caused great disturbance until a priest set a trap for her and she fell into the spring. This happened about 400 years ago.

The mud pools take form where steam from boiling geothermal reservoir water emanates and condenses and mixes with surface water. Accompanying gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide make the water acid. This causes alteration of the fresh lava rock to clay.

Steaming of the ground at Reykjanes increased markedly as a consequence of a pressure drawdown in the geothermal reservoir upon the start of production from the reservoir in 2006.

Iceland´s largest mud pool at present prominent, highest up in the Gunnuhver group. It is 20 meters wide across a rim of mud, boiling vigorously.

Two ramps are located at the Gunnuhver group, on close to Gunnuhver itself where you can look down to the spring and hear the vigorous noise, see the boiling water and feel the power bursting from the ground and the steam on your face. The other ramp is located on Kísilhól a silica hill. From there you have a good view over Gunnuhver group and surroundings.

Gunnuhver stands in the heart of the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark where the North Atlantic ridge rises from the ocean, you find 100 different craters and lava fields, bird cliffs, high geothermal areas, black sand beaches, The Bridge Between Continents, geothermal power plants, lighthouses, and exhibitions.

Hafnarberg - Sea-cliffs

Hafnaberg is a long line of sheer sea lava cliffs south of the old fishing hamlet of Hafnir.

Hafnaberg is very popular among hikers and bird watchers as various marine birds nest at the cliffs. A parkingplace is located 4 km from Hafnir on road 44 and from there is a marked path from the road to the cliffs.

Hafnaberg is a geosite in Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark.

Háleyjabunga

Háleyjarbunga is a small, flat lava shield with a large, 20 to 25 meter deep crater.

The shield is at least 9,000 years old. It was formed during a highly effusive lava eruption. The basalt-type is a primitive deep-mantle derived picrite that contains much of the green mineral olivine.

Location: The Háleyjarbunga is close to Reykjanes lighthouse on the tip of Reykjanes. A hikingpath is marked form Gunnuhver over the lavafield to Háleyjarbunga.

Háleyjarbunga is a geosite within Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark.

Hopsnes

The spit on which you are standing is named Hópsnes on the west side and Þórkötlustaðanes on the east side. The spit is 2 km long and 1 km wide and was formed 2,800 years ago when lava flowed into the sea.

Hópsnes/Þórkötlustaðanes was formed during an eruption from a row of craters named Sundhnúkur located just north of the village of Grindavík. Port conditions in Grindavík are excellent due to this lava flow and the lagoon (Hópið) that formed beside the spit when the sea began to erode the lava and move loose materials. If the spit were not there, the village of Grindavík would probably never have been built. The fact is that it is one of six communities on the Reykjanes peninsula that owes its existence to an eruptive fissure in a volcanic system that is still active. Eruptions could occur in this area at any time.

From its earliest days, Grindavík has been one of the main fishing centres in Iceland. Sundhnúkur, from where the lava that formed the spit flowed, has navigation signals showing the route through the gap into the harbour. Travelling around the spit, one can see a number of shipwrecks that have run aground here and in the neighbourhood in the course of the 20th century. There are information signs by some of the wrecks.

Both the village and fishing-vessel operations flourished in the early 20th century. Numerous rowing boats and later motor boats were operated from Þórkötlustaðanes. There are a good number of remains of the settlement that is no more, such as entrance cairns, fish-storage huts, ice storages, fish-processing houses, liver-processing and salt huts. The fishing operation moved to the location that is now Grindavík harbour in 1939, when a group of energetic Grindavík residents took it upon themselves to dig a channel through the reef that had hitherto prevented boats from entering the Hópið lagoon. The Hópsnes lighthouse was built in 1928.

Today the area is a popular recreational area with a hiking and biking trail.

Hrafnagja

The normal fault and tension fracture, Hrafnagjá, is the longest of its kind at the Reykjanes peninsula. It is 12 km long and up to 30 m high. The set of fractures east of Vogar village forms a typical rift valley.

Location: Hrafnagjá is visible from Reykjanesbraut (road nr. 41) to Keflavík International Airport. A hikingtrail leads to the location from the parking place by the intersection of the town Vogar.

Hrafnagjá is a geosite in the Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark.



Hrólfsvík - Xenolithes

A well known locality for xenolithes.

Xenolithesa are gabbroic crystal aggregates related to the host magma. The source of the lava is not known nor is its age.

Location: Near Grindavik, walk from road 427

Hrútagjárdyngja (shield)

Hrútagjárdyngja is a 6,000 to 6,500 years old ava shield, plus a lava flow that covers 80-100 sq. km of land. That volume of lava is at least 3 cu. km. Besides a large top carter, the upper part is cut by deep ravines, probably due to magma injections, causing the whole structure to inflate.

Location: Sign can be found from road 42 that leads to the shield.

Húshólmi

Ruins of farm partly covered by lava flow.

The Húshólmi area is a so called "clearing" over which the lava Ögmundarhraun didn´t flow during an eruption in the year 1151. The lava came flowing from vulcanic craters on the east side of Núpshlíðarháls hill down to the shore. According to archaeologists, in the western part of the "clearing" are ruins of the ancient Krýsuvík farm, dated back since before the year 900. Among the ruins are presumably parts of a home, a church and a semetary.

Húshólmi is a popular outdoor area and a interesting site worth visiting.

Hvassahraunkatlar

Hvassahraunskatlar is a hornitos in the Hrútagjá lava shield flow. Hornitos usually form due to powerful degassing at crater edges. These ones, however, came into being approximately 10 km away from the top crater.

Hvassahraunskatlar is a geosite within Reykjanes Unesco Global Geopark.

Katlahraun

Katlahraun is lava that flowed about 2,000 years ago and entered the sea. Sudden damming at the shore caused a large, circular lava pond to form. Some lava solidified, but the remaining liquid escaped. The site now contains beutiful and various lava formations.

Katlahraun is a geosite within Reykjanes Uneco Global Geopark.

Kalfatjorn

Kalfatjörn is a former farm, parsonage and church site in the Vatnsleysa County. It was a parsonage until 1907, when the parish was united with the Gardar parish of the Kjalarnes deanery. During catholic times, the church was dedecated to St Peter. The present church was built in 1892-93 and consecrated June 11th 1893. It was built of wood and covered with corrugated iron on stone foundations. It seats 150 persons. It now belongs to the Tjorn Parish. The altarpiece, a replica of the one in the Reykjavik Cathedral, painted by Sigurdur Guðmundsson, is equally old as the church.


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Keilir

Keilir is a hyaloclastite mountain.

It was created during subglacial eruptions during the ice age. It´s shape makes it distinctive and according to geologists, it probably is a crater plug. In spite of its steep slopes, it is not too difficult to climb, and the view from its top on a fine day is to be remembered. Keilir is the most distinctive landmark of Reykjanes and a symbol of the Reykjanes peninsula. On top of the mountain is a concrete table with a view direction map on a metal plate.

Location: 4x4 cars can drive on Höskuldarvegi and there is a parking at Oddafell and from there is a trail to Keilir.

From Höskuldarvellir there is only 3 km walk to Keilir.

Kleifarvatn

Lake between Sveifluháls and Vatnshlíð.

The lake Kleifarvatn is about 10 km². It is the largest of Reykjanes peninsula and the third largest of southern Iceland. It is about 97 m deep and one of the deepest lakes in Iceland. Its catchment area is small and it has a very limited discharge on the surface. The lake has diminished since year 2000 because of two major earthquakes, which probably opened up fissures at its bottom. In the sixties char fries from Lake Hlidarvatn were released into the lake and have thrived quite well.

In the southernmost part a hot water from some hot springs runs into the lake but elsewhere the lake is very cold. A small fishing lodge is located by the lake. Great place for photographers because of the volcanic surroundings of the lake are unique and beautiful. The story says that a monster in the shape of a worm and size of a medium sized whale lives in the lake.

Krýsuvík

Popular recreational destination with many interesing hiking paths.

Columns of steam rise skywards, bubbling mud pools play their rhythmical symphony, and the banks around the hot springs are coloured green, yellow and red. The Grænavatn and Gestastaðavatn lakes and the two small pools on each side of the road further south, Augun (Eyes), are all explosion craters created by volcanic eruptions at various times. Grænavatn lake is the largest, some 46 metres deep, with green water due to thermal algae and crystals which absorb the sun. The main geothermal areas in Krýsuvík are Seltún, Hverahvammur, Hverahlíð, Austurengjar, the southern part of Kleifarvatn and Sveifla beneath Hettutindur.

The Fúlipollur mud spring is east of the main road.Lake Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula, and the third-largest lake of southern Iceland, 9.1 km². It is also one of the country's deepest lakes, at 97 metres. It varies in size over the year. Since 2000 it has been shrinking, after two major earthquakes probably opened up fissures on the lake bottom. Trout fry were released into the lake in the 1960s, and the fish have thrived quite well. According to legends a monster in the shape of a serpent, as big as a medium-sized whale, lurks in the lake.

Krýsuvík was once a separate parish, with one of the largest estate farms in the country, and many tenants crofts. The church, built in 1857, was restored in 1964 and is part of the National Museum's Historic Buildings Collection. On the hill and around it, traces of the old farmhouse and other buildings can still be seen, although they are somewhat overgrown with grass. It should be kept in mind that the area's magnificent nature is very delicate and must be treated with great care and respect.

Location: By road 42. 1km west of Grænavatn which is 3km south-west of Kleifarvatn

Krýsuvíkurberg

Sea cliffs with colorful birdlife.

Accessible and very interesting 15 km wide and 40 m high sea cliffs which attract over 57 thousand seabird couples every year to breed.

Location: Close to Hælsvík, walk from road 427

Lambafellsgjá

An open fissure in an oval hyaloclastite mount named Lambafell. The fissure is only few metres deep. It is possible to hick along the entire fissure on the summer time. In the walls of the fissure are excellent outcrops of subglacially formed basaltic pillows.

Location: The walk takes about 1 hour. Take road to Höskuldarvöllur and then drive down to Trölladyngja. Park at the parking at Eldborg and walk east of Eldborg to Lambafell.

Méltunnuklif

Lava pile between Grindavík and Krýsuvík.

A good place to ,,read" the history of the peninsula.

Location: Short walk from road 427

Ósar

Inlet created because of a subsidence.

Important for birdlife and marine biology.

Location: Near small village Hafnir - short walk from road 44

Patterson

Patterson Airport was built in 1942 by the usa navy.

The airport was mainly used to maintain the aircrafts. Next to the airport can be found Subfossils shells, since 20.000-22.000 years ago. They lived shorly before the Late Glacial Maximum at about 18.000 years age. The sea level at that time was about 5-10 m. The airport was closed 1945.

Location: Road 44 at fence on Patterson. Walk north from old ammunition supplier

Reykjanes

The southwest corner of the Reykjanes peninsula.

There the Mid-Atlantic Ridge comes ashore. At this location it is literally possible to see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rise out of the sea.

Reykjanes is a part of Suðurnes which is the largest urban in Iceland. Almost all travelers go around the area entering or leaving from Iceland.

The nature is magnificent. Various volcanic formations are found on Reykjanes Peninsula, such as mountains and hills chiefly made of volcanic tuff, large and small lava flows plus different types of volcanoes and volcanic edifices.

Marine birds are common on the Reykjanes Peninsula. A number of high sea cliffs attract many individuals of different species during the breeding season. In addition, gulls and Arctic terns are common sight.

Agriculture and fishing were the main activites on the peninsula for more than a millennium. Today, cultivation revolves around gardening, reforestation and reclamation of soils and vegetation. Land for outdoor activities and tourist service is considered to be a valuable resource.

THE REYKJANES VOLCANIC SYSTEM

The Reykjanes peninsula volcanic zone is a direct continuance of the North Atlantic Ridge that surfaces from the ocean at Reykjanes. The peninsula has four volcanic systems that become active in eruptive series, approximately every 1,000 years. Each series lasts for around 200 to 350 years.

The western-most system is the Reykjanes system. This system extends from the west side of Reykjanes to Grindavík in the south and thence to the north-east over the peninsula along Vogar to Kúagerði. Approximately 35 km of the system is on land (40-45 km if the undersea part is included), and is 5-15 km in width, broadest in the south. The system is believed to extend 5-10 km under water to the south-west.

The most recent eruptions in the system were the Reykjaneseldar (Reykjanes Fires), which were in 1210 to 1240. The preceding eruptive series occurred 1,500 to 1,800 years ago.

There are between 40 and 50 volcanic outlets in the system from several drift and eruptive series, as well as 14 shield volcanos or shield volcano tops. Signposted hiking trails lie to Háleyjabunga and Skálafell shield volcanos. Picrite, a rare, primitive basalt variant akin to that which forms in Earth's mantle can be seen near Háleyjabunga mountain.

The surface within the system is rather fissured. The system contains numerous faults, including the large rift valley near Valahnúkur and another that lies alongside the Reykjanesbraut highway near Vogastapar.

The most active part of the system is here, in the south-west, where volcanic rock quickly piles up and where the geothermal area is liveliest.

"Darkness in the middle of the day"

The Sturlunga Saga and several other compilations mention the winter of 1226-1227 as being the "Sand Winter" and a significant "Winter of Famine". There was an undersea eruption off the coast of Reykjanes, and the ash-fall was so great that in some places, it was pitch dark in the middle of the day. Numerous farm animals in Iceland were killed, and it was said that Snorri Sturluson lost 100 cattle that he owned in Svignaskarð in Borgarfjörður. Karlinn (the Man), a 51 m sea pillar just off the coast of Reykjanes, was formed in this eruption.

Reykjanes nature reserve

A large nature reserve ideal for recreation and to explore in the nature.

The nature reserve is about 300 square kilometres and is by far the largest region of its kind in Iceland. It is bordered in the east by the districts of Gullbringa and Árnessýsla and in the north it connects with the Bláfjöll nature reserve. The western borders of the nature reserve are west of Undirhlíðar and Núpshlíðarháls hill and a straight line to the sea at Selatangar, a former fishermens´ station. The southernmost borders follow the coastline. The only big lake is Kleifarvatn. The land is very hilly, two very distinctive ridges cut through the landscape in NA-SV direction and they are about 300-400 metres above sea level, Núpshlíðarháls and Sveifluháls. Brennisteinsfjöll are located in the easternmost part of the nature reserve and there are a few mountains that are 500-600 metres above sealevel. Seltún is very active hotspring area and was once to become the source for providing the Hafnarfjörður municipality with hot water for space heating. On the coast is the largest birdcliff on the peninsula, Krýsuvíkurberg, where approx. 50.000 seabirds are nesting. Easy access hiking and walking trails are to be found in many places and attractive ponds and lakes are on top of some of the hills.

Rosmhvalanes

Flat point at the northwestern part of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

It is from glacial periods and is between Ytri-Njarðvík and Kirkjuvog.

Rosmhvalur was another name for Walrus and the story says that they used to live there.

There is a new sign that shows a good way to drive around Reykjanes.

Sandfellshæð

One of the oldest and largest lava shield on the Reykjanes peninsula. Formed in late glacial time, about 14.000 years ago, when sea level was about 30 m lower than today.

Only recommend going there on well-equipped jeeps. By foot it is possible to walk on road between Svartsengi and Reykjanes

Selatangar

Selatangar was a big fishing outfit between Grindavik and Krysuvik.

It was abolished after 1880. Extended ruins of the abodes and other houses are still very prominent in the landscape. They have been declared inviolate. During the latter part of the 19th century ghosts started haunting the settlement. Driftwood was in abundance at Selatangar in the past, but less nowadays. The surroundings are grandious, low mountains and lava fields.

How to get there: A track for 4wd-vehicles lies down to the ruins on the coast from the road to Isolfsskali.

Skagagarður, the Great Wall

A protective wall that lay from Kirkjuból to Útskálar.

The village of Garður at the north tip of the peninsula was named after the wall.

The wall or garður (cognate with English garth), which probably dated from the early days after the settlement, served to keep livestock away from the crops. The wall was broad and tall, built of turf and large rocks. Remnants of it are visible by the old road between Garður and Sandgerði. While today the only reminder of agriculture in the area is fields of grass, several hundred years after the settlement farmers were still cultivating such crops as wheat, oats and barley.

Location: From Útskálakirkja in Garður to Kirkjubólsvelli. By road 45, towards Garðskagalighthouse.

Skálafell

Earthquake fissures in a shield that built up in several eruptions.

In a narrow fissure system. Can find there small caves.

It is most common to walk to Skálafell from parking at Gunnuhver.

Seltjörn

A pond with good walking paths, picnic facilities and a barbecue.

Next to Seltjörn is Sólbrekkuskógur, a small forest, but sheltered and lovely as it is situated hugging small slopes, with interesting rock formations in a few places.

Seltún

An important high temperature geothermal area.

Many study opportunities due to the great variety of features. A boardwalk leads through the area. Seltún has many mudpots and fumaroles, and minerals deposited from geothermal solutions provide colorful sediments. Good walking paths are around the area and parking.

Setún is a part of Reykjanes nature reserve.

Location: Road 42, parking, near Kleifarvatn.

Snorrastaðatjarnir /Háibjalli

A popular recreational area.

Pounds, rich of vegetation and important resting place for migration birds.

Next to the pounds is Háibjalli, a 10 m high fault.

Location: Road 43 near Seltjörn and Sólbrekkuskógur.

Sogasel

Ruins of a shieling(hut), used for cattles during the summer time.

The shieling was located in a crater.

Location: Short walk from road 428 (only open summertime).

Sogin

A depression in a hyaloclastite ridge.

The area is colourful due to intese high temperature alternation and a few mud pools and solfataras.

Location: During summertime it is possible to drive on road Vígdísarvellir (428) on well-equipped cars but it is closed during winter. On winter it is possible to walk from road Krýsuvíkurvegur (42).

Stadarborg

A sheep shelter, round in shape and constructed skilfully from lava rocks.

Situated 2-3 km from the former parsonage Kalfatjorn in a direct line from there to Mt Dyngja.

It is about two metres high, 8 m in diameter, and 35 m in circumferance. The ground inside it is flat and covered with grass.
No sources reveal its age, but it is considered to be a few centuries old. According to the legend, a man named Gudmundur built it for the reverend at Kalfatjorn.

He worked elaborately at the construction, collected stones from the surrounding area to have a large selection to chose from to fit them together as perfectly as possible. He planned to close it with a cone shaped roof of stones, but the reverend envisioned it higher and more prominent than his church´s steeple and stopped the construction work. The stone mason left it exactly as we see it today. It was declared inviolate in 1951.

Stampar

Two volcanic fissures lie from the sea onto land on the western side of Reykjanes and form a series of craters. These crater series have been named Stampar. The crater series are from two periods. This series lies in the SW-NE direction and follow thereby the most common fissure angle in Reykjanes.

The older formed in an eruption from a fissure that was just under 4 km long around 1,800 to 2,000 years ago.

The younger Stampar crater series formed in the Reykjanes Fires in 1210-1240. The row of craters is around 4 km, and the area of the lava field they produced is approximately 4.6 km2. The two craters closest to the road, named Stampar, are at the north end of the crater row. Further south in the crater row are other sizeable craters such as Miðahóll hill, Eldborg the deeper and Eldborg the shallower. Fishermen in earlier times used all these craters as points of reference when out at sea. Most of the craters, however, are low-lying scoria cones and not very prominent.

It may be noted that during the Reykjanes Fires in 1210-1240, there were four lava flows in the Reykjanes and Svartsengi system, as well as submarine eruptions in the seas off Reykjanes.

The Hundred Crater Trail, a signposted trail, lies partly through the Stampar lava field. The trail starts at Valahnúkur in Reykjanes. The trail also passes through the Reykjanes geothermal zone, past slag and scoria cones, the tuff mountain Sýrfell and on to the Stampar craters. From there, the path lies over rough pahoehoe lava and sand dunes, running from the west side of the crater closest to the road, along the row of craters, on to the seaward side of the Reykjanes Power Plant. The craters along the trail are numerous and fragile.

Walking up onto the crater nearest the road is permitted. It is important, however, to make sure that sensitive natural formations are not disturbed.

Location: Road 425 about 2,5 km north of Rauðhólar, short walk from there

Ströndin vestan Grindavíkur

Protected coastline because of birdlife, marine biology and rifts.

Location is west of Grindavik by road 425.

Sundhnúksröðin

A crater row formed in eruption 2.350 years ago.

It created natural harbour condtions in the town Grindavík. Sundahnúkur was used as a landmark for the Grindavík harbour in former times.

Svartsengi

One of the five major high temperature areas of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

It supplies all of the communities of the Reykjanes Area with hot water for house heating and other purpose. The famous Blue Lagoon comes from the discharge from the power station. Area of green patches north of the hill Svartsengisfell north of the town Grindavík. On summertime the people of Grindavík celebrate there.

Sveifluhals

A lava flow formed in an eruption in the year 1151 AD.

In that year a 25 km long fissure opened obliquely across the Reykjanes peninsula. The lava field is located in south of ridge Nupshlidarhals(Vesturhals) and craters in the northern part are part of crater row in the north of Ridge Nupshlidarhals. Ogmundur is a male name in Iceland.

Located West of Lake Kleifarvatn. Drive road 427 and turn left on road 42 then park at Seltún and walk Preststígur. Walk estimated 2-3 hours up and down.

Tjarnir á Vatnsleysuströnd

Seaweed-coverd rocks which are part of the Þráinsskjöldur Lava Flow.

They were formed about 10,000 years ago.

Due to the pourous roks that form the foundation of this part of Iceland fresh water seeps from the ground in many places.

Located near town Vogar.

Grænadyngja and Trolladyngja

Grænadyngja and Trölladyngja are steep hyaloclastite mountains west of the Sogin geosite. They are surrounded by young volcanic fissures, geothermal sites and beautiful colours. The two mountains are associated with various lava flows, including Afstapahraun close to the Keflavík International Airport main road.

Four kilometers on road 41 east from Mt. Keilir.

Valahnúkamöl

High boulder ridge composed of well rounded stones.

The ridge is about 420 m long, 80 m wide and 10 m high. The rounded stones are 1-3 feet thick.

Created by powerful storms, high waves and surf.

Located: On the tip of Reykjanes, next to cliff Valahnúkur. Take road 425.

Vigdísarvellir

Ruins of the old farms Bali and Vigdísarvellir.

Camping site sorrounded by beautiful scenery.

Location: Road 428 closed on winter time.

Mt Thorbjorn

A free standing, hyaloclastite mountain north of Grindavik.

It offers great panoramic view over most of the Reykjanes Peninsula on fine days. The northeastern part of the mountain depicts thermal activity an to its north and northeast is an extensive high temperature area. It is split by a fissure called "The Thieves´ Gap" (Thjofagja), occupied by 15 thieves according to the legend. They were eventually overwhelmed and killed by trickery.

Ogmundarhraun

A lava flow formed in an eruption in the year 1151 AD.

In that year a 25 km long fissure opened obliquely acorss the Reykjanes peninsula. The lava field is located in south of ridge Nupshlidarhals(Vesturhals) and craters in the northern part are part of crater row in the north of Ridge Nupshlidarhals. Ogmundur is a male name in Iceland.

The Reykjanes Peninsula

Towns & Villages

Visitors to Iceland who arrive via Keflavik International Airport on the Reykjanes Peninsula may be somewhat surprised by the landscape that greets their eyes as they touch down in Iceland for the very first time. A seemingly endless, green-grey moss-topped lava field blankets the peninsula for as far as the eye can see, and it is this strange and rather other-worldly sight that is your first glimpse of the land of fire and ice. 

Map Garður Sandgerði Reykjanesbær Vogar Grindavík