Did you ever dream of staying in a small fishing village, enjoying its laid-back lifestyle, and soaking up the natural beauty? All your desires can come true at Arnarstapi. Yes, this small fishing village, located on the southern part of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, is the best place to unwind and witness the grandeur of Icelandic landscapes.
Where Jules Verne's book Journey to the Centre of the Earth begins
Kirkjufell Mountain, Djupalonssandur Black Sand Beach, a Glacier, Lava Cave and more
Often lovingly called Stapi, Arnarstapi is a tiny fishing village situated at the foot of Mt. Stapafell, sandwiched between Hellnar village and Breidavik farms. It is located in the southern part of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, about 193 km from Reykjavik. Arnarstapi is at a distance of 117 km from Borgarnes and 428 km from Akureyri, two other important cities in the area.
Although small and thinly populated, Arnarstapi is one of the most photographed villages in South Iceland. The chances are high that you have seen photos of a basalt arch against the clear blue sky and raging ocean waves. Well, such Hollywood-like shots are taken in Arnarstapi. Do you need any more reason to visit this picturesque village?
Arnarstapi is a 2-hour drive from the capital, Reykjavik. The village experiences heavy footfall during the summer months. The tourists flock to this sleepy village for various reasons – some want to witness its authentic small village charm, others come down to gorge on fresh seafood dishes, and photographers visit this village to capture its magnificent views.
Even hikers love this hub for its hiking scopes. Between Hellnar and Stapi is a hiking path that takes you through lava fields and a beach with splendid views.
Arnarstapi has a natural harbor that is rare in Iceland. It was developed into a shipping port and people started settling around it. Since 1565, the shipping business was under the control of the Danish Crown, and its commissioners ruled over the harbor and enjoyed sole commercial rights on the nearby lands.
Today, you can see the influence of Danish architecture in the buildings of Arnarstapi, the most noted example being the Amtmannshus, a black and white timber house.
Several private fishing companies operate in the area today. The maintenance docks serve recently renovated ships and boats. Fishing and trading are the most popular occupations in the villages of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
There is another reason behind the fame of Arnarstapi, Iceland, and it is related to folklore. One such famous story is linked to a half-human-half-ogre Barour, who resided in the area adjoining Arnarstapi.
The local people believe that Barour, the mix of humans and ogres, is the owner of Arnarstapi.
The village was always less populated, with only 150 people permanently residing here in the early 18th century.
Arnarstapi is more popularly known as Stapi.
Have you read Jules Verne’s celebrated book A Journey to the Center of the Earth? Arnarstapi finds a mention in the book where it is the last stop before the characters climb the Snaefellsjokull to reach the center of the earth.
Including Arnarstapi in your Iceland trip is a great way to appreciate the village life of this fascinating country. From Reykjavik, you can easily reach the village by car. Drive down the Ring Road, through the town of Borgarnes, and take the road near 54. As you drive along the southern part of the peninsula, you will pass Budir and Lysuholslaug swimming pool before reaching Stapi. The entire drive will take around two and a half hours.
With the enchanting scenery around and several tourist spots near Arnarstapi, your stay here will be an exciting one.
The fishing hub has a lot to offer. Apart from enjoying its scenic beauty and fishing village ambiance, you can participate in different activities here according to your interests.
If you are looking for inexpensive but comfortable hotels, choose any of these –
Arnarstapi also has hostels where many tourists stay for short trips
You will get a wide choice of guesthouses, farm stays, B&Bs, and apartments in Arnarstapi, where you can stay comfortably within your budget. Some of these are -
If you want to indulge in adventures, stay in cabins or cottages.
Those who love camping will find Arnarstapi enchanting. Commonly called Snjofell campsite, it offers stretching views of the ocean and coast. The campsite is quite large with all the basic amenities.
Arnarstapi usually gets more tourists in the summer, so it bustles with activities. However, winters are quiet and peaceful. With the snow piling up on the grounds and roads, the hamlet looks serene and blissful. All the restaurants and hotels remain open, so you can always spend a nice and quiet holiday in Arnarstapi, away from the maddening world.
When staying at Arnarstapi, you can check out the neighboring tourist spots. Some of these are –
Olafsvik Village – This fishing town is located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It has many natural attractions, including pristine beaches, a national park, and the Baejarfoss Waterfall. Bird watchers love it for its variety of birds.
Hellnar – Dramatic cliffs and rugged coastline increase the appeal of this fishing town. The rock formations at Badstofa are an added attraction. You will love roaming around this small rural town and checking out its natural wonders.
Ytri Tunga Seal Beach – Who wants to miss the chance to spot seals? While you are in Arnarstapi, head to Ytri Tunga Beach, where seals are commonly sighted during the summer months.
Kirkjufell Mountain – Commonly known as Arrowhead Mountain, it is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Featured in popular shows like Game of Thrones, Kirkjufell attracts tourists throughout the year. You must visit it to take lovely photos of the mountain and its adjoining coastline. They are simply gorgeous.
Iceland is an all-time favorite for travelers for its different landscape. It offers unique experiences like staying in fishing villages. Arnarstapi is one such village that will always remind you of your Iceland holiday.