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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Mt. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall



Kirkjufell is a spectacular mountain near the town Grundarfjörður at Snæfellsnes Peninsula. In recent years it has become one of the most recognized landmarks and one of the most photographed places in Iceland. Kirkjufell has always been considered one of the most beautiful mountains in the country, but with growing tourism, social media, and many competent photographers, it has been enhanced to a new level. Photos of the mountain with the Kirkjfellsfoss waterfalls in the foreground and often northern lights in the background are well known and published throughout the world.


West Region map of Iceland
West Region map of Iceland

The name Kirkjufell

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall
Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall

For an island packed with mountains, the Icelandic language offers many terms for this spectacular product of the forces of nature depending on its size and form. Although most people would look at Kirkjufell and conclude that it is a mountain, things are not so simple in Iceland. Early on, Kirkjufell was called Kirkja or Church. Not surprisingly as the shape resembles a church and its beauty has a divine presence. Fell, on the other hand, is a term describing a small mountain that fits between a hill and a mountain and stands alone. The stand-alone factor is obviously one of Kirkjufells significant modern-day qualities as it is quite photogenic from all directions. Kirkjufell also gave names to places nearby like the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, and even in the past, the cove Grundarfjörður on the east side of Kirjufell bore the name Kirkjufjörður. Somehow it didn't stick.

Neither, most, fortunately, did the name Danish seamen gave Kirkjufell in the 18th century when they called it the ill-fitting and downgrading name Sugartop.


A spectacular climb but dangerous

Mt. Kirkjufell from the west side
Mt. Kirkjufell from the west side

Kirkjufell is 469 meters high. It is a product of many forms of geology throughout millions of years which gave it many fascinating installments, one on top of the other. Kirkjufell has tempted many people to climb up to its peak throughout the centuries and has also taken many lives. It is not easy to climb but will remain interesting for those who seek adventure and is, of course, a point of the spectacular view over Breiðafjörður and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is highly recommended, for those who are interested, only to climb Kirkjufell with a local guide. And for those who are interested in hiking, there is a hiking trail around Kirkjufell which takes about three to four hours to walk.


How to visit Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall?

Mt. Kirkjufell from the east side
Mt. Kirkjufell from the east side

Kirkjufell is on the north side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Both Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall is within walking distance from the small town Grundarfjörður. It is an inseparable part of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula drive and a must-stop. By the waterfall on the main road Nr. 54 Snæfellsnesvegur is also a parking lot and walking paths around the waterfall. It is a great place to take photos of Kirkjufell and one of the most scenic places when driving the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.



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