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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Bárðarlaug is a small lake at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Bárðarlaug at Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Bárðarlaug at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Bárðarlaug is a small lake or a pond near road nr. 574, the road that goes around the glacier Snæfellsjökull at Snæfellsnes Peninsula. When you take the turn to Hellnar on the road, nr. 5730, the lake is on your right, and a parking lot is about ten minutes from the lake. The part of the name "laug" in this context means bath. So, the term is really the bath of Bárður Snæfellsás, referring to the mystical person that has hovered over the area around Mt. Snæfellsjokull as well as the glacier for centuries. Bárðarlaug was given the status of a natural monument in 1980 and thus became part of the preservation of critical natural wonders in Iceland and is today an essential part of the Snæfellsjökull National Park.

Map of West Region in Iceland
Map of West Region in Iceland

A bath for Bárður approximately eleven hundred years ago

Supposedly the lake was his bath when he was among mortals, the son of a human mother and a half-troll, and as everyone knows, his spirit is still around as the protector of the glacier and the neighboring area. Many of the names of the nearby landscape have the word bath attached, which indicates that when Iceland was settled, the lake was warm and used for bathing by others, and not only by Bárður but also by other people living in the area.

A peaceful crater with a stunning view

In geological terms, the lake is an old spatter cone that has slept silently for ages, finding it more convenient to house water rather than erupting fire. It is renowned for its elliptical form. It is an amazingly peaceful place to visit when you walk the short slope down to the water. Suppose Bárður and the glacier are in a good mood, and the beautiful white glacier reveals itself with the blue sky behind. In that case, the moment becomes magical, and you might feel the extraordinary power of the Snæfellsjökull glacier.


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