Peninsulas of Iceland: Names, Facts, and Features

Peninsulas of Iceland

Peninsulas are specific landforms or land pieces surrounded by water on three sides and attached to the mainland on only one side, something like a piece of land sticking into open water. Despite its small size, Iceland’s coastline is rigid and features 13 named peninsulas. The high number of glaciers in the country is a result of the rising water levels and subsequent land receding and erosion. The glacial activity is a contributing factor as well. The peninsulas are surrounded by fjords and bays with fish-rich waters, thus supporting the fishing industry. In recent years, the peninsulas and their untouched landscapes are attracting more and more visitors replacing fishing as the main economic branch with tourism. The biggest and probably most famous peninsula is Snaefellsnes, located in West iceland.  

Here is a list of the Peninsulas of Iceland:

  • Álftanes Peninsula (5 square kilometers)
  • Dyrhólaey Peninsula
  • Hornstrandir Peninsula (580 square kilometers)
  • Langanes Peninsula
  • Rifstangi Peninsula
  • Seltjarnarnes Peninsula (200 hectares)
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Stórhöfði Peninsula
  • Southern Peninsula (826 square kilometers)
  • Tjörnes Peninsula
  • Tröllaskagi Peninsula
  • Vatnsnes Peninsula
  • Westfjords Peninsula (22.271 square kilometers). 

1. Álftanes Peninsula

Álftanes Peninsula (Swan Peninsula) in Iceland is located in the southwest. The Álftanes Peninsula’s coordinates are 64.1006° N, 22.0290° W. Álftanes is in fact an umbrella name covering several smaller peninsulas with a total area of 5 square kilometers. Álftanes is part of the Capital Region and houses Bessastaðir; the Icelandic Presidential Residence first settled over 1000 years ago. Surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic, Álftanes is a true oasis despite being close to populated city areas. It is also famous for its biodiversity and represents an essential stop for migratory birds. Tours and Tour Guides for the Álftanes Peninsula in Iceland are available. Álftanes is popular among tourists for its untouched landscapes and popular hiking trails. Plus, visitors can see the Gálgahraun lava field. Many executions took place at the Gálgahraun during the settlement period, and today there are still emerging human bones over the lava field.   

2. Dyrhólaey Peninsula

Dyrhólaey Peninsula (Door Hill Iceland, former name: Cape Portland) in Iceland is located in the south. The Dyrhólaey Peninsula’s coordinates are 63.3996° N, 19.1269° W. Dyrhólaey is a promontory situated in near vicinity to the small village Vík. Dyrhólaey is Iceland’s southernmost mainland point. It has a volcanic origin, and it was formed after a massive eruption that occurred during the Pleistocene more than 100 thousand years ago. The Dyrhólaey Peninsula is 120 meters elevated and on its top is the famous Dyrhólaey Lighthouse. During the summer months, Dyrhólaey’s cliffs are a popular nesting spot for Atlantic Puffins.  Tours and Tour Guides for the Dyrhólaey Peninsula in Iceland are available. Dyrhólaey is a popular spot as it offers an impeccable view. Visitors standing on the peninsula can see the monstrous Mýrdalsjökull Glacier in the north, the black Reynisdrangar lava columns emerging from the sea in the east, the entire coastline up to  Selfoss in the west, and the gigantic black lava arch that gave the peninsula its name in the south. 

3. Hornstrandir Peninsula

Hornstrandir Peninsula in Iceland is located in the north. The Hornstrandir Peninsula’s coordinates are 66.3333° N, 22.3333° W. Situated north of the Jökulfirðir and northwest of Drangajökull glacier, Hornstrandir covers an area of 580 square kilometers and is the northernmost peninsula in Iceland. Hornstrandir features different landforms, including fjords, tundra, glaciers, and alpine lands. Hornstrandir’s south shore is rigged with the five Glacier Fjords (Hesteyrarfjörður, Veiðileysufjörður,Lónafjörður, Hrafnsfjörður, and Leirufjörður). The vegetation and wildlife in Hornstrandir are fragile and protected by classifying the peninsula as a natural reserve. Tours and Tour Guides for the Hornstrandir Peninsula in Iceland are available. Hornstrandir is the perfect destination for visitors looking for untouched landscapes. The Hornstrandir lands are roamed by the beautiful Arctic Fox, the cliffs of the peninsula harbor various birds like puffins, kittiwakes, and guillemots, and in the small surrounding bays, whales and seals. 

4. Langanes Peninsula

Langanes Peninsula (Long Peninsula) in Iceland is located in the northeast. The Langanes Peninsula’s coordinates are 66.2906° N, 14.9953° W. Langanes is 40 kilometers long hence the name. It is cradled by Þistilfjörður to the northwest and Bakkaflói to the southeast and ends up with a thin strip of land named Fontur. Langanes houses Kistufjall, a tuya volcano that formed due to subglacial volcanic eruptions. On Langanes, there are many abandoned fishing villages such as Heiðarhöfn, Læknistaðir, Skoruvík, Skálar, Fagranes, and Saurbær. Today, the only inhabited village is Þórshöfn, with a population of 480 residents. The cliffs of the Langanes Peninsula are nesting spots for various seabird species such as guillemots, kittiwakes, and gannets. Tours and Tour Guides for the Langanes Peninsula in Iceland are available. Langanes is one of Iceland’s top destinations for bird-watching. 

5. Rifstangi Peninsula

Rifstangi Peninsula in Iceland is located in the northeast. The Rifstangi Peninsula’s coordinates are 66.5362° N, 16.1943° W. Situated on the large Melrakkaslétta peninsula, the Rifstangi Peninsula is tiny and represents Iceland’s northernmost tip. Rifstangi holds the record for the shortest day in Iceland. Today, Rifstangi is uninhabited and harbors many shipwrecks and driftwood. The only structure on the Peninsula is the old rural house named the Rif. Namely, in 2015 the shortest measured day on the Rifstangi Peninsula was 2 hours and 14 minutes. Tours and Tour Guides for the Rifstangi Peninsula in Iceland are available. Rifstangi Peninsula is often visited by tourists traveling the northeast region of Iceland. 

6. Seltjarnarnes Peninsula

Seltjarnarnes Peninsula in Iceland is located in the southwest. The Seltjarnarnes Peninsula’s coordinates are 64.1558° N, 22.0053° W. The small Seltjarnarnes Peninsula covers an area of 200 hectares and is part of the Capital Region of Iceland. Seltjarnarnes houses the same-named and smallest town in Iceland, which got its township form in 1947. Seltjarnarnes is a mountainous and quiet place connected with  Grótta island via a natural path.  Grótta Island is well-known for its lighthouse, rich birdlife, and untouched landscapes. Tours and Tour Guides for the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula in Iceland are available. Seltjarnarnes is an attractive spot for recreation and enjoying nature. The proximity to Iceland’s capital adds to the popularity of the small peninsula. 

7. Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland is located in the west. The Snæfellsnes Peninsula’s coordinates are 64.8443° N, 22.6533° W. Situated west of Borgarfjörður Snæfellsnes is popularly called “Iceland in Miniature” as it features Iceland’s most prominent and unique landforms and natural wonders. The hallmark of Snæfellsnes is its dramatic landscape owing to the presence of the Snæfellsjökull National Park. The inhabited settlements in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula are  Arnarstapi, Grundarfjörður, Hellnar, Ólafsvík, and Stykkishólmur. Since June 2008, Snæfellsnes has had an EarthCheck community status, thus being the first EarthCheck-certified area in Europe and the fourth one globally. Tours and Tour Guides for the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland are available. Basically, all visitors heading toward the Snæfellsjökull National Park need to visit the peninsula itself. 

8. Stórhöfði Peninsula

Stórhöfði Peninsula (Great Cape) in Iceland is located in the south. The Stórhöfði Peninsula’s coordinates are 63.3997° N, 20.2885° W. The Stórhöfði peninsula is the southernmost point of the populated Heimaey Island (the largest island in the Westman Archipelago Islands). Stórhöfði holds the record for being the windiest place in Europe. It also has the lowest on-land air pressure in Europe. Stórhöfði houses the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, which was built in 1906 and is still operational. Tours and Tour Guides for the Stórhöfði Peninsula in Iceland are available. 

9. Southern Peninsula 

The Southern Peninsula in Iceland is located in the southwest. The Southern Peninsula’s coordinates are 63.9155° N, 22.3650° W. Covering 829 square kilometers; the Southern Peninsula is part of the Reykjanes Peninsula with Keflavik as an administrative center. The Southern Peninsula is marked by pronounced volcanic activity, which results in poor vegetation but rich geothermal powers. Tours and Tour Guides for the Southern Peninsula in Iceland are available. Popular attractions on the Southern Peninsula include the lake  Kleifarvatn, Krýsuvík geothermal area, and the luxurious Blue Lagoon Spa. 

10. Tjörnes Peninsula

Tjörnes Peninsula in Iceland is located in the north. The Tjörnes Peninsula’s coordinates are 66.1667° N, 17.1333° W. The stubby Tjörnes Peninsula is situated between the Skjálfandi and Öxarfjörður Fjords. Tjörnes is the most prominent geological location in Iceland, with layers of fossil shells and lignite spreading on the coastal cliffs on the western side. The eastern side of the Tjörnes Peninsula features seabird nests. Tjörnes houses the densest population of Rock Ptarmigans in Iceland. Tours and Tour Guides for the Tjörnes Peninsula in Iceland are available. 

11. Tröllaskagi Peninsula

Tröllaskagi Peninsula in Iceland is located in the north. The Tröllaskagi Peninsula’s coordinates are 65.9431° N, 18.9041° W. Tröllaskagi is situated between the Eyjafjörður and Skagafjörður fjords in the Greenland Sea. Tröllaskagi is a mountainous peninsula and features several peaks over 1000 meters, with the highest one being Kerling with 1.538 meters. There are also several valleys that formed due to glacial activity during the last Ice Age. The largest town on Tröllaskagi is Akureyri and other settlements include Hofsós, Hólar, Siglufjörður, Ólafsfjörður, Dalvík,Hauganes, Hjalteyri, and Hrafnagil. Tours and Tour Guides for the Tröllaskagi Peninsula in Iceland are available. Tröllaskagi is connected to the Ring Road with a passage named Öxnadalsheiði. The passage is troublesome in winter times, and travelers need to be well-informed before trying to cross. 

12. Vatnsnes Peninsula

Vatnsnes Peninsula in Iceland is located in the north. The Vatnsnes Peninsula’s coordinates are 65.5906° N, 20.7497° W. Surrounded by the waters of the Húnafjörður on the east and the Miðfjörður on the west, Vatnsnes Peninsula is home to the largest seal colony in the country. In terms of geological features, Vatnsnes is well-known for harboring Borgarvirki, a volcanic plug mentioned in the “Sagas of Icelanders,” where it served as a fortress. Vatnsnes is also famous for the 15-meters high basalt Hvítserkur that stands on its eastern shore. Tours and Tour Guides for the Vatnsnes Peninsula in Iceland are available. 

13. Westfjords Peninsula

Westfjords Peninsula in Iceland is located in the northwest. The Westfjords Peninsula’s coordinates are 65.9196° N, 21.8812° W. Situated on the  Denmark Strait, the large Westfjords Peninsula faces Greenland’s east coast and covers an area of 22.271 square kilometers. The Westfjords Peninsula is connected to the mainland via an isthmus cradled between Gilsfjörður and Bitrufjörður. The Westfjords are a mountainous region whose coast is heavily indented by fjords and steep hills. The fifth-largest glacier in Iceland, Drangajökull, lies in the northern parts of the peninsula. On the Westfjords Peninsula is the 14-kilometers long Látrabjarg cliff. Látrabjarg is the most sizeable bird cliff in this part of the Atlantic Ocean and the largest one in Europe, housing bird species such as puffins, northern gannets, guillemots, and razorbills. Tours and Tour Guides for the Westfjords Peninsula in Iceland are available. 

What are the facts about Peninsulas in Iceland?

At the moment, Iceland has 13 named peninsulas formed over the years as a result of continuous rising of the water levels, glacier activity, and land erosion. Some peninsulas are small, others are large, and there are those located on other peninsulas. In the past, peninsulas posed a major transportation challenge, and some could only be accessed on water. Today, there are tunnels for connection. Peninsulas are attractive for visitors as they feature unique landforms, and each year they draw around 2.000.000 tourists. 

How are Peninsulas formed in Iceland?

Peninsulas in Iceland formed due to the rising water labels, which triggers slow receding of the land. Over the years, this has caused serious erosion. Another factor contributing to the formation of peninsulas is glaciers. Iceland has many glaciers, so it is safe to say that their presence and changes have affected the formation of peninsulas. 

What is the biggest Peninsula in Iceland?

The biggest peninsula in Iceland is Snæfellsnes stretching over 90 kilometers in length. Snæfellsnes is also the most popular one. Namely, there are landscapes and natural wonders on the peninsula as part of the Snæfellsnes National Park. Plus, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is conveniently close to Iceland’s capital. 

What is the most crowded Peninsula in Iceland?

The most crowded peninsula in Iceland is Snæfellsnes. This has to do with the peninsula’s proximity to important landmarks and facilities, including the country’s capital Reykjavik, the wildly popular Golden Circle, and the Keflavik International Airport. 

What is the prominence of Peninsulas for Iceland Geography?

Peninsulas have a positive impact on the geography of Iceland. As constantly changing landforms prone to continuous erosion, they are reshaping the map of the country. Certain peninsulas also represent separate districts and regions, thus contributing to the simpler administrative organization. 

What are the Geographical Features found in the Peninsulas of Iceland?

The geographical features found on the Peninsulas of Iceland are:

What is the effect of Peninsulas on Iceland’s Economy?

Peninsulas support the Economy of Iceland by attracting tourists. They feature many unique landforms, natural wonders, and mesmerizing landscapes, thus attracting tourists. Plus, peninsulas have a positive effect on biodiversity as their steep and cliff-like sides serve as bird nests. However, on the negative side, peninsulas pose a transportation challenge. Many peninsulas are connected with the mainland via tunnels, and the roads leading to them can be closed during certain periods of the year. 

What are the Peninsula Tours in Iceland?

Peninsula Tours of Iceland are popular among visitors, and most of them are available year-round. There are many different tours, including different types of activities from sightseeing to bird or whale watching to sportive adventures such as horse riding and hiking. The prices of these tours depend on their length and what they include but usually start at around $50. 

What are the Cultural Tours in Iceland?

The cultural tours of Iceland are tours allowing tourists to immerse themselves into the Icelandic culture, legends, and history. Such cultural tours include visiting historic landmarks, monumental buildings, and authentic fishing villages. The group of cultural tours also involves introductions with Icelandic cuisine (delicacy tasting), traditional music, and local nightlife. 

What are the Best Places to See in the Peninsulas of Iceland?

Some of the best places to see in Iceland are housed on the country’s peninsulas. The best places to see in Snæfellsnes Peninsula are listed below:

  • Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge
  • Ölkelda Mineral Spring
  • Sönghellir Cave
  • Gerðuberg Basalt Cliffs
  • Ytri Tunga Beach
  • Búðakirkja Church
  • Arnarstapi Village
  • Snæfellsjökull National Park
  • Kirkjufell mountain
  • Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum.

What are the Transportation Conditions to the Icelandic Peninsulas?

Transport in Iceland is well-organized despite the hostile terrains and blocking landforms. In the past, some peninsulas were only accessible via boats. Today there are roads and tunnels connecting the remote ends of the peninsulas with the mainland. However, due to safety issues, some roads may be closed at certain periods of the year.