Discover breathtaking coastal walks from this fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Snæfellsnes peninsula
Gatklettur rock arch at Arnarstapi
A house atop a cliff at Arnarstapi
Gatklettur rock arch at Arnarstapi
A house atop a cliff at Arnarstapi
Gatklettur rock arch at Arnarstapi
Best time to visit
Year round

Your guide to Arnarstapi, Iceland

Arnarstapi is a small fishing village in West Iceland. You’ll find it on the southern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, close to the Snæfellsjökull National Park boundary.

While you’re strolling around this sleepy village, it might surprise you to learn that it was once a thriving fishery and trading post. This was during the 1700s when Iceland was under the control of Denmark. In fact, the Danish Prefect’s home is one of the oldest buildings in Iceland. 

Visit Arnarstrapi today and you'll find that the village's history stretches back even further, all the way to the Viking age. Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss, written down in the 14th century, is an Icelandic saga that tells the story of Bárður Snæfellsása, who was half-human, half-ogre. 

These days, Bárðar’s spirit is thought to live in Snæfellsjökull glacier, where he sits and watches over the peninsula. Head to Arnarstapi cliff viewpoint and you’ll see a striking stone monument that stands in his memory. 

What to see and do near Arnarstapi

One of the best things to do nearby is to walk around 2.5 km (1.5 mi) from the parking lot and viewpoint in Hellnar, along the coastal trail to Arnarstapi. This is a great way to take in jaw-dropping scenery while you stretch your legs. 

On the hike between Arnarstapi and Hellnar, you’ll cross an ancient lava field and spot plenty of rock formations in the sea cliffs. These include countless basalt columns and impressive stone arches, such as Gatklettur. 

During the summer months, you could also see the Arnarstapi cliffs come alive with hundreds of nesting Arctic terns. 

What else can you do here in a day? Arnarstapi is close to plenty of other natural attractions that you won’t want to miss. While you’re exploring Snæfellsnes, you could visit Snæfellsjökull glacier, Djúpalónssandur black sand beach, and Vatnshellir cave.

Other attractions near Arnarstapi

The Snæfellsjökull glacier at sunset

Snæfellsjökull Glacier & National Park

Discover the Snæfellsnes peninsula’s national park, home to a glacier-topped volcano and more.

9 km (6 mi)

The black sand of the Djúpalónssandur beach



Walk across polished pebbles on this rugged black sand beach.

16 km (10 mi)

A man standing below Kirkjufellsfoss



See one of the most famous mountains in Iceland for yourself.

50 km (31 mi)

A kittiwake flying above cliffs in the Breiðafjörður bay


Breiðafjörður bay

Surrounded by rugged peaks and studded with islands, discover Iceland’s second-largest bay.

87 km (54 mi)