Grundarfjordur is a lovely fishing town located on the North side of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland. For most travelers a stop at Kirkjufell is a must do when visiting this area. But there is more to see and do in and around Grundarfjordur. In this article we list the top 10 things to do in Grundarfjordur.
1. Mount Kirkjufell and the Waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss
No article can be written about things to do in Grundarfjördur without mentioning the famous Mt Kirkjufell and the beautiful waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss right next to it. So lets write about the most photographed mountain in Iceland first. 🙂 Kirkjufell means church mountain and it refers to its majestic size and the freestanding form of the mountain. The formation of Mount Kirkjufell took millions of years. During the ice age the mountain, located exactly in the middle of two glaciers, was shaped by glacial erosion.
Because of its popularity it can get quite crowded there during the day. Therefore, we highly recommend our readers and guests to look for a different angle instead of taking the same photo as other hundreds of travelers before. Kirkjufell is always present when walking around Grundarfjordur so why not take a pleasant walk around town, visit the other places we describe in this article and look for an interesting (new) perspective.
2. An Orca in the Middle of Grundarfjordur
Did you know that there is an orca you can see on land in Grundarfjordur? This sculpture, created by Unnsteinn Guðmundsson, is modeled after a special male orca named “Thunderstorm”. This orca is a fully-grown male we regularly see on our whale watching tours in winter. He is a member of a family of 9 orcas. Read more about its creation on the Orca Guardian’s Iceland website and do not miss it when visiting Grundarfjördur.
3. Grundarfjordur Information Center
The information center is located right in the middle of town. Inside are different interesting exhibits which you should not miss when visiting Grundarfjordur. Entrance is available during the opening hours of the library and free of charge. What we highly recommend is the Bæringsstofa photo exhibition. Photos from the Icelandic photographer Bæring Cecilsson (1923-2002) are on display that show the daily life in town in the old days. Another interesting artifact in this museum is an old cannon which was found in the shore sand next to Kirkjufell. It belonged to a French whaling boat that stranded there in 1720.
4. Liston Art Gallery and Workshop
The art of the town’s most famous artist Liston is present all around Grundarfjordur. Definitely look for his stone sculptures when wandering around. You should also stop by at his art gallery and workshop filled with art and creative Icelandic spirit in Sólvellir 6. An artwork from Liston might be a very special memory of your holidays in Iceland. Check the artist’s Facebook page to get an idea about Liston’s work of art.
5. Join one of our Boat Tours in Grundarfjordur
The most authentic way of exploring a little fishing town is by boat. So one of the top things to do in Grundarfjordur is definitely a boat tour. During summer, you can choose between a puffin watching tour or a sea angling trip. In winter, you should not miss our unique winter whale watching from Grundarfjordur. From the boat you can also enjoy a unique view on Kirkjufell.
6. Swimming Pool Grundarfjordur
We might not have the largest and most fanciest swimming pool in Iceland but the pool in Grundarfjordur is a great place to relax in the hot pots and to experience the Icelandic bathing tradition. Enjoy a wonderful mountain view while sitting in the warm water. We recommend checking the opening hours since especially in winter they are a bit more limited.
7. Grundarfjordur Harbor
The harbor is the livelihood of the town and normally quite busy during the day. Fishing boats are coming in and out, the fish gets out of the boats and is transferred to the factory. From there, large trucks transport it to the supermarkets or larger harbors for export. Here is a nice time lapse about the different seasons at Grundarfjordur harbor.
8. Grundarfjordur Church
The church in Grundarfjördur is an interesting landmark and quite big for Icelandic standards. The church was opened in 1961 and took five years to build. The architect was Halldór Halldórsson, who also designed a number of other churches in Iceland. The church is a nice photo motif when walking around Grundarfjordur.
9. Grundarfoss Waterfall
Many people miss this nice waterfall and only know about the town’s best known waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss. We highly recommend to also include this in your travel itinerary. Especially when you stay in town for the night it might be a nice option for a lovely evening hike. You have to walk for about 20 minutes to reach this waterfall. The waterfall is 70 meters high and falls in the river of Grundará. Next to parking lot is an unlocked gate you can use but please definitely close and secure it behind you.
10. Láki Hafnarkaffi
After a nice city walk we recommend a visit of Láki Hafnarkaffi. Our cafe is only a stone’s throw away from the harbor and the perfect place to relax after finishing with our “top things to do in Grundarfjordur” list.