After being the Icelandic star of the popular show Game of Thrones, Kirkjufell has become increasingly popular for multiple reasons. Not only is it located on a beautiful peninsula, but it is also an incredibly photogenic scene with great trails, nature, and a great little town just a couple of minutes away.
Standing tall at 463 meters above sea level, Kirkjufell mountain towers over the northern coast of the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula. So, where is Kirkjufell? The mountain sits perfectly on a little appendix to the peninsula, making it an excellent target for most happy visitors to aim a few camera shots at.
At the southern foot of the stunning mountain, Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall appears with three small steps, right in front of the mountain. When visiting Kirkjufell in Iceland, you must make sure to catch that waterfall as well.
How was Kirkjufell Mountain Formed?
Kirkjufell has an interesting story since it isn’t just another volcanic mountain in Iceland. This mountain once used to stand tall over the surrounding glacial masses during the Ice Age and was before that not the result of volcanic activity, but rather just layered rock (like the earth’s crust) that managed to survive the glacial friction. Despite this, the magnificent Kirkjufell Mountain from Game of Thrones is not one of the glaciers of Iceland.
How to Get to Kirkjufell
This scenic place is just around the corner from Grundafjordur, so it’s easy to get there. From Reykjavik to Kirkjufell, it’s easiest to get there by renting a car, jumping on a tour bus, or getting on one of the many national bus lines moving around the country.
Driving to Kirkjufell
Getting from Reykjavik to Kirkjufell is as easy as pie! When you’ve rented a car in the big city, just hop on Ring Road 1 going north and later steer on to Road 54 going north towards Grundafjordur. Just remember to keep north when you hit the Snaefellsnes, otherwise, you’ll be “stuck” with driving around this scenic beauty of a peninsula. Kirkjufell is a great stop on an Iceland self-drive tour.
Top Things to Do at Kirkjufell
When you visit Arrowhead Mountain in Iceland from Game of Thrones, there are a couple of great activities for the outdoorsy person, regardless of how much effort one wants to put in:
The classic way to get a feel for this amazing country is to go hiking in Iceland. Church Mountain in Iceland (as Kirkjufell is also called) is an excellent hiking spot with a nice and easy hiking trail going around it and some small, hidden paths leading to those local secrets. There is also a trail going to the top of the mountain, but it’s not for the faint of heart or the slippery of boots.
Photography at Kirkjufell
Since Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland, it comes as no surprise that this is one of the activities we’d recommend doing here. For the best shot, make sure to get those classic Kirkjufellsfoss photos with the mountain in the background.
Even though you can hike to the top, there are one or two areas around the mountain that requires a rope climb and will be more of a challenge for the ones who dare to challenge Mt Kirkjufell. You will need to check with the local guides (or go on a tour) to have the best chance of getting through this endeavor.
Essential Tips for Visiting Kirkjufell Mountain
Unless you plan on spending your time in a car or bus while you’re visiting the church mountain of Iceland, good shoes and clothes will be your first check off the list. Since Kirkjufell in Iceland lies next to the sea, the weather is bound to be rough most of the time, even though it is somewhat protected in the fjord. Unfortunately, it’s not one of the many glacial lagoons in Iceland just because, but the lakes next to it are still stunning.
You are going to want to take proper pictures whilst you’re there, so make sure you have a fully charged camera or phone (with a good camera) with a decent amount of memory on it.
When is the Best Time to Visit Kirkjufell Mountain?
If you want to get the best out of your visit to Kirkjufell, the summertime is going to be the best time to get there. Even though you might have to compete a little bit with other visitors, you’ll have a fair to a good chance of getting excellent summer weather and traveling the hiking trails whilst they’re somewhat dry and easy to walk on.
If you are longing for a snow-covered mountain, late winter is going to be better, but you might just end up with harsh weather and rain, so summer will always be a good option.
How Long Should You Spend at Kirkjufell Mountain?
Spending anything from an hour to a day at Kirkjufell is going to be a good choice. It all depends on what you are in the mood to do and what your goals are with the visit.
If you want to properly hike around it, a full day will be excellent. If you rather want to just take good pictures of the mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss in Iceland, you’ll likely be fine with an hour or two, cruising around the mountain.
Photography Tips for Mount Kirkjufell
There is a good reason why this is the most photographed mountain in Iceland: it’s hard to get a bad picture of it. Nonetheless, following these tips and tricks will land you a good photo of Mt Kirkjufell:
Late summer nights will provide you with excellent light that hits the mountain just right.
Getting Kirkjufellsfoss in the foreground is stunning.
Getting the nearby lake in the foreground is also stunning.
Getting a good panorama photo from the top of the mountain is more than stunning.
If you want to get a good photo in Iceland in the middle of winter, make sure to get there in the middle of the day so that you can get a good angle with some natural light. If you are looking for a star-filled sky, Kirkjufell is best seen on a clear winter night or early morning.
If you are interested, there are photography tours you can join that will visit Kirkjufell and also help you get the best Kirkjufellsfoss photos whilst you’re there.
Accommodation Near Kirkjufell
If you are staying the night in the area, you will have many options to choose from when it comes to accommodation. In and around Grundafjordur, you’ll find anything from full-fledged hotels to B&Bs and self-catering apartments. Some will give you a great peak of Kirkjufell from your room, whilst others will provide you with a scenic ocean view.
If you travel further west, you’ll be able to stay in a classic camping ground close to the sea in Olafsvik. The grounds have all the amenities you could need, except a view of Kirkjufell.
Kirkjufell; the Must-visit Mountain in Iceland
When you rent a car in Iceland and take it for a spin, make sure to load up a camera, and some good hiking boots, and spend at least a couple of hours at Kirkjufell. It’s a visit you won’t regret!