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Whirlwind Iceland: The wow-factor peninsula that’s easy to see in just a few days

Whirlwind Iceland: The wow-factor peninsula that’s easy to see in just a few days

It was about halfway along the narrow mountain road that I knew we had made the right decision. Suddenly, the grassy terrain to our left dropped off dramatically. The sky yawned open. Below appeared an expanse of farmland, churning sea and a craggy volcanic range, from which a silvery waterfall tumbled. There were sheep and horses but, aside from ours, not a single car facing the whole, epic panorama, lying gold-tinged in the late afternoon light. With scenery like this, coming to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula was clearly A Good Idea.

Iceland packs in a whole lot of wonder. Thundering waterfalls. Glacier-capped volcanoes. Moss-covered lava fields. Adorable puffins and luscious-maned Icelandic horses that gallop dramatically through fields. This cinematic country offers big adventure – but that doesn’t mean you need a huge amount of time to see it.

My husband and I wanted to experience epic Iceland. Not just the quirky capital, Reykjavik, or the touristy (albeit impressive) Golden Circle driving route. We wanted to delve into the wilds, experience the jaw-drop primordial landscapes this nation is famous for. But thanks to mounting workloads and dwindling annual leave days, we didn’t have the time (or the funds; Iceland is notoriously expensive) to do the popular week-long Ring Road, where most of the big-hitter sights are located. All we had was three short days.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is nicknamed ‘Iceland in miniature’ – because it basically has it all

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula was our answer. Just two hours’ driving time from Reykjavik, it is nicknamed “Iceland in miniature” – because it basically has it all. There are craggy mountains lined with crashing waterfalls, glassy fjords and farmland studded with tiny churches. Black beaches home to chubby seals, cute fishing villages and column-like basalt rock formations too. Right at the peninsula’s tip sits a 700,000-year-old glacier-topped volcano; it hardly gets more theatrical.

What – in our experience c Snaefellsnes didn’t seem to have was an unwieldy amount of tourists. After a day spent in Reykjavik, wandering along the seafront, gazing up at otherworldly Hallgrímskirkja and popping into the shops of Laugavegur, we drove our hire car towards the peninsula as late afternoon was setting in. Groceries for self-catering in the boot, we made our way north, then west, along the two-lane road. And in the 45 minutes from when we officially entered the peninsula to our…

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