BUDAKIRKJA

We’ve all seen it at one point or another on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. The famous black church that was seemingly dropped in the middle of Iceland amidst a beautiful backdrop. Let me just say, pictures do not do this area justice.

Búðakirkja is located just off Road #54 in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. And this area has some of the best scenery! Even when driving there we were greeted by Bjarnarfoss well before arriving. It demanded attention with it’s massive size and I snapped this picture from the passenger seat.

I can’t help but to also see trolls hardened into the surrounding rocks guarding such beauty. Up until this point I wasn’t really a believer. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula convinced me otherwise.

When we arrived at the small lot adjacent to the church there was only one other vehicle in the area. Luckily for us, they took a few pictures and started on the trail into the lava field past the cemetery.

Being limited on time, we were only going to briefly admire the church and surrounding mountains before moving on to the next stop. After all, this church and I are the same age so we weren’t really in the presence of a relic lol.

From that same parking lot, don’t forget to look behind you. Just look at these landscapes! It’s impressive how massive they are while also being accessible.

You could easily hike to this waterfall from a parking lot located at the base.

Leaving the church behind us we continued driving to Snæfellsjökull National Park.

And then soon after that we stopped again. It was a “you had to be there” kind of situation. If you would have been one of the six individuals in our car you would have seen this in person. I swear! This horse was posing for me. Moving more than it’s neighboring pals (pictured below) who were all butts to the wind, and just giving me all sorts of piercing looks. Ask anyone that was there!

Of all the animals I photographed on this trip, this guy right here is my favorite 🙂 Bird and all lol.

There is no more sagacious animal than the Icelandic horse. He is stopped by neither snow, nor storm, nor impassable roads, nor rocks, glaciers, or anything. He is courageous, sober, and surefooted

Jules Verne
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KIRKJUFELL

Any self respecting Game of Thrones fan would know that Kirkjufell is a must see when visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. We were lucky to find an inexpensive Airbnb that was right on the water. From our Airbnb we could see Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss, circled below.

[Sidebar: If you are new to Airbnb and would like a discount on your first stay, please use my link HERE. If you’re already a member and would like to book the same Airbnb, click HERE.]

Iceland as an entity, as a whole, is chock-full of beautiful backgrounds and breath taking landscapes. I would randomly take pictures of my sister and no matter where I did that, it was a beautifully detailed Icelandic background. However, with social media exposing locations at an all time high, the serenity of it all has been lost in the more touristic spots. If you’re a reader, then you know I prefer hard to reach places. It was hard to fight my urge to avoid tourist while wanting to fan girl GOT filming sites.

So we parked at the lot seen below. We watched the desperation of drivers trying to find a spot to place their rentals. I even lost my cool myself when someone tried to skip the line and take my spot! Then we got out of the car to find that the walkway was flooded (see red arrow below). That forced us and everyone else to walk uphill on the road to get around the flooded area. I didn’t know at the time, but there is a new parking lot up the road. It’s much larger and can save you some time waiting for a spot. And more importantly, save your sanity.

I want to give you realistic expectations when visiting Kirkjufell. This picture below has 5 people poorly edited out of the shot. So if you want the place to yourself, I would recommend getting up before sunrise. And even then I cannot guarantee you’ll have the place to yourself considering this was off peak season. But good luck!

You’ll have people who don’t care about the railings and climb over them to get their “perfect” shot. These same people are the ones that will most likely be in your shots too. Patience is key in these situations!

Here’s what it actually looks like:

The person in the red jacket didn’t move once the whole time we were there. So frustrating!

And here’s what it’s like when the trail has flooded: The people walking up the road will also be in your shots lol.

If you give up trying to capture both the waterfall and the mountain in one shot (and you wait patiently) you can get a nice group shot with just your friends and Kirkjufell in the background. And at the end of the day, isn’t it really just about traveling with close ones and making memories? Looking at these pictures brought a smile to my face, other tourists and all lol.

As for the Game of Thrones reference: Kirkjufell can be seen in S6 Ep5, S7 Ep1, S7 Ep6. I would post an image here but as a newbie blogger, I’d like to avoid copyright infringement 😉

Overall here are my thoughts on Kirkjufell. It’s certainly an odd shaped distinguishable mountain. Is it worth going to Kirkjufellsfoss to see the waterfall and mountain in one shot? Probably not. Simply because the mountain can be viewed from different angles on road #54 and there are waterfalls everywhere in Iceland.

However, the next time I’m in that area I’d like to hike Kirkjufell. Now that’s a view I wouldn’t mind sharing!

Iceland, I’m in love with that country, the people are incredible.”

Kit Harington

SELVALLAFOSS

Selvallafoss, also known as Sheep’s Waterfall, is located off of Road #56. It’s a lesser known waterfall you can walk behind. Surprisingly when we got there only one other car was in the lot. There are picnic tables to help you spot the area and trailhead. I’m using the word trailhead loosely here because it took us less than five minutes to find it and the loop we did isn’t the most difficult.

The GPS coordinates for the parking lot are: 64°56’29.9″N 22°54’15.7″W. In the picture below you can see the worn trail to the left just above the left-most pillar.

Stay on the path from the picnic area for a couple of minutes. Enjoy the views, there are mountains in every direction. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling with family, you’ll spot some crazies too!

As you approach the waterfall, the sound of rushing water will get louder. Follow the sound and find the waterfall to your left.

Don’t be afraid to explore the different paths in the area. There are some great photo opportunities within short walking distances. Just remember to be careful as the rocks, mud and moss make the area very slippery. You can walk to the foreground to capture the tiers as my cousin did below.

You can also walk behind the waterfall all the way to the other side. Standing next to this waterfall gets really loud. Even standing where I was in the picture below I was getting wet from the mist of the falls. A waterproof jacket is perfect here if you’re crossing to the other side behind the falls.

Fair warning though, there is VERY low clearance on the other side of the falls. And it is extremely muddy. Do not wear shoes you do not wish to have covered in mud. My cousin can be seen crossing at the beginning of the video below.

Once all six of us made it to the other safely, we continued following the trail for a couple of minutes.

We made a hard left off the trail and climbed to the top of the hill. Essentially climbing to the top of the waterfall. This portion of the hike didn’t seem like it, but was very steep.

We followed the water up stream to the road and crossed back over. Below you can see Jessica in her beige jacket leading the group to the road. I prefer to do loops than in and out hikes. So this was a perfect way to get back to our rental car.

Here’s an amazing panoramic image of the area while we were trying to figure out which way to get back to the car.

Overall I would say that if you’re in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula this is a great spot to add to your itinerary. In the small amount of time we were there, we didn’t encounter many other tourists. We freely enjoyed the waterfall and didn’t have to break out into a hardcore hike sweat session to get back to the car. All in all, a wonderful waterfall option!

I have fantasies of going to Iceland, never to return.

Edward Gorey