Hiking with Halla: Eldborg

Feel like doing a hike in beautiful surroundings yet so easy its almost suitable for toddlers. Then why not head off to Snaefellsnes peninsula? You can drive to Snorrastadir, where a farm stay and horse rental are on offer, and hike from there to a 5.000 year old volcano crater called “Eldborg” or “The Fortress of Fire”.

The hike will leave you relaxed and refreshed.
The hike will leave you relaxed and refreshed.

The trail is easy all the way to the roots of the crator where it has rough lava fields reminiscent of the moon’s surface. If you go there in the month of May you have a good chance of spotting a raven’s nest who usually does his nesting inside of the edge of the crator. In August there are lots of blackcurrant berries to nipple on during your smooth hike.

From the top of Eldborg it’s only ca 20 -30 metres down – from the edge into the bottom of the crator. I don’t recommend hiking into the crater as the hills are very loose and hard to get a grip to walk up the inside walls. For safety , people should not go into the crator. The hight is 112 meters over sea level.

I hike on Eldborg almost every time that I go to Snaefellsnes because it’s so refreshing and I just love the energy of the location. There is nothing like gazing at Snaefellsnesjökull from the top of Eldborg. Its simply magical. And knowing all the secrets and folkstories of Snaefellsjökull makes the journey into Snaefellsnes peninsula even more adventurous.

Practical info:

  • Eldborg (volcano crator) to the roots of Snaefellsjökull
  • Drive: 90 min away from Reykjavik to Snaefellsnes peninsula
  • Height: 112 m
  • Length of hike: 6 km
  • Terrain: Easy mos trail all the way until hiking up the edge of the crator, rough lava fields
  • Average ascend time: 1 hour
  • Total average trip time: 2 hours
  • Height gain: ~100 meter
Places of interest on the way
The beautiful church at Búðir, on the south shore of Snæfellsnes.
The beautiful church at Búðir, on the south shore of Snæfellsnes. Photo:Richard Gould.

Hotel Budir. A good place to make a pitch stop to either have a little snack, lunch or dinner. Walking down the by the beach of Budir is wonderful. You can also walk for about 40 min into a location called Frambúdir where you have a good chance to see seals. If you want to swim with the locals in the sea, then right next to Hotel Budir there is a little pier which makes a fantastic jump off-board when the tide is high.

Raudfeldsgja. A crack which cuts into the eastern side of mountain Botnsfjall, in Breiðavík, Snaefellsnes. You can park the car and walk 10 min all the way to the crack. There is a stream running out of it. You can walk further in and see a really beautiful waterfall.

Sönghellir. A famous cave, known for its echo. Its located on the roots of glacier Snaefellsjökull. Take a torch or a pocket light with you and have a look inside. On the walls you will see runes and all kinds of magical signs.

Pools at Djupalonssandur.
Pools at Djupalonssandur. Photo:Jim Kelly.

Arnarstapi. A small fishing village at the foot of mountain Stapafell between Hellnar village and Breiðavík farms on the southern side of Snæfellsnes. From there you can walk to Hellnar. If travelling in a group, it’s a good idea to have someone drive the car to Hellnar to pick the others up. If you decide to do that, then drive all the way to the ocean. There is a tiny little cute cafe located on the breathtaking beach.

Djupalonssandur. A sandy beach on foot of glacier Snæfellsjökull. There you will see peculiar rock formations and ruins of fishing stations at the foot of the cliff. Walk the “pearl beach” as Djupalonssandur is called and even further. It takes about 30 min to get to a bay called Dritvik which is enclosed by rocks and cliffs. Dritvik used to be one of the largest fishing centres in Iceland at one time. From there you can decide if you would like to drive further or head back to Reykjavik.

Note: On the way to Snaefellsnes make sure to stop at Ölkelda, a farm  close to Stadará in Stadarsveit, which is part of Snæfellsbær, Route 571. There you can take a sip of fresh sparkling mineral water from the ground.

For further information, check out Halla’s Facebook-site, send inquiries to hallahimintungl@gmail.com or contact Hekla Travel in Iceland. Note: Halla will be offering day (hiking) trips around Reykjavik for max. 4 people from July to August this year.

Never start a long hike in new hiking boots. Make sure you have proper hiking boots you’ve used several times before and a first aid kit that includes lots of band aids  orso-called second skin. Second skin can be put on your feet in case you get blisters from walking.

Bring food that is easy to carry. If you hike for more than one day then take some dry fruits with you and flat, soft Icelandic rye bread instead of wheat bread as the bread gets moldy rather quickly during hikes.

Remember to bring along some good hiking boots.
Remember to bring along some good hiking boots.

For two or more days take with you: A tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mattress, back pack, first aid kit (see above), toilet bag, 1 toilet paper roll, food, drinks, sun glasses, extra shoes to wade rivers, water bottle, lighter, mobile phone and charger, hiking canes or sticks, which are good when wading rivers and also to take off pressure from the knees and hips when going downhill, pocket knife, duct tape, earplugs, towel, sewing kit, warm clothes and clothes that are wind and water proofed. Comfortable hiking boots that you are used to (see above). Good spirit and lots of laughter.

In case of emergency always leave your travelling plan and mobile number with someone in town, so they can follow-up on you and send out rescue team in a worst case scenario.

If you are hiking in an area that you are not familiar with, rule number one is to ask the locals about the area and make sure you have updated weather forecast before starting the journey.

There are excellent guides and tips on safe travel in Iceland on the site safetravel.is

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