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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
GPS Points N63° 49' 5.244" W22° 41' 37.664"
Road number

44

Travel directory for Reykjanes

The official travel index of Iceland

Others

Guesthouse Borg
Guesthouses
  • Borgarhraun 2
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 426-8685, 895-8686
Guesthouse Fiskanes
Guesthouses
  • Hafnargata 17
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 695-8103
Silica Hotel
Hotels
  • Svartsengi
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 420-8800

Others

Grindavík Golf club
Golf Courses
  • Húsatóftum
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 426-8720
SaltyTours
Tour Operators
  • Borgarhraun 1
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 820-5750
Deluxe Iceland
Tour Operators
  • Flugvallarbraut 752
  • 235 Reykjanesbær
  • 490-6006
Volcano Tours
Tourist Information Centres
  • Víkurbraut 2
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 426-8822
Arctic Horses
Tour Operators
  • Hópsheiði 16
  • 240 Grindavík
  • 848-0143
Awol
Tour Operators
  • Keilisbraut 771
  • 235 Reykjanesbær
  • 861-2050

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