Skagi Peninsula Self Drive Guide

Driving around Skagi Peninsula in Northwest Iceland is beautiful, and the best thing is, that this Peninsula is totally off the beaten track.

Mari Tirkkonen
29. November 2018

Having lived in north Iceland for some years now, it has given me the perfect opportunity to explore the north and the surrounding areas. One of the less travelled areas in the north is Skagi Peninsula – a beautiful place between Skagafjördur and Húnaflói in Northwest of the country. Driving around the Peninsula takes about 2-4 hours with a few stops to explore the hidden gems that this beautiful part of Iceland has to offer.

Apart from mind blowing ocean views, the landscape here offers exquisite basalt column rocks, a beautiful lighthouse, impressive cliffs, exciting bird life, and much more. It’s perfect for those who’d like to explore something different than the most popular sights and locations in Iceland.


 
Skagaströnd

Skagaströnd IcelandSkagaströnd is small, but very pretty little town. Travelade/Mari

 

Coming up to Skagaströnd from Reykjavik, the driving time is approximately 3,5 to 4 hours. Skagaströnd is the only town on this Peninsula, apart from Blönduós and Saudarkrokur, that are located at the bottom of the Peninsula on both sides.

Skagaströnd, with a small population of just over 500 inhabitants, is a bit of a sleepy fishing village. Apart from the small harbour and the public swimming pool, there’s a really cool area to walk around here – just drive through town to the end of Strandgata, and you’ll find a parking space that gives you an access to walk over to the cliffs and the stunning coastline. This is an area where you’ll find good walking tracks, small secluded beaches, many lupines in the summer time, different bird species and beautiful nature all around.

The cliffs around SkagaströndWalking around the beautiful coastline of Skagaströnd offers stunning views. Travelade/Mari

 

Not too far from town, Spákonufell (Prophetess Mountain), rises high and makes a cool hike. The views, up from the mountain, overlooking the village and the surrounding areas, are pretty amazing. 
This used to be a mountain of Þórdís the fortune-teller, a woman who lived in Skagaströnd in the late 10th century. She was the first person that was given a name in the area, and the tale says that there is a huge treasure chest hidden in the mountain and that apparently, the key is still in the keyhole.


Once back on the ground level, visiting the Museum of Prophecies is a good idea. Here, you’ll get to learn more about Þórdís the fortune-teller.


 
Kálfshamarsvík

Kalfshamarsvik lighthouseThe walk up to the lighthouse is something very special. Travelade/Mari

 

Carry on driving up north from Skagaströnd, on the gravel road nr. 745, and after about 15 miles (24 km), you’ll see a white lighthouse on the coast. There’s a driveway very close to it, and the rest of the way you’ll have to walk. It’s beautiful down here – the walk is next to a cool pebble stone beach – I always think it’s incredible how softly shaped these stones are. Once you’ll reach the lighthouse, you’ll see why this place is so incredibly special.

Basalt column rocksThese basalt column rocks are one of the most amazing things to see in iceland. Travelade/Mari

Basalt column rocksThe coastline by the lighthouse is full of basalt column rocks. Travelade/Mari

 

The amount of basalt column rocks here is unbelievable. These rocks were formed about 2 million years ago, and seem to come in every possible length here, forming different shapes and curves onto the coastline. It’s worth investing some time to walk around here taking it all in, but be careful though, as the rocks can be sometimes slippery. There are a few tiny but beautiful beaches between the rocks, also filled with those smooth pebble stones. There is also an interesting historical walk around – just look for the signs.
 
 


The top of the Peninsula

Skagi PeninsulaThere are many lupine fields and even more sheep around the Peninsula. Travelade/Mari

 

Carrying on driving up on the Peninsula towards the top, keep an eye on your left side - on a clear day, the Westfjords are visible from here. The drive will take you through massive lupine fields, past a few farms, and through an area with many little ponds and lakes, where you can see many native birds. The area on the top of the Peninsula is quite flat, so birdwatching will be easy.

Fishing is very popular habit around this area amongst the locals. There are some small huts here and there, where the locals can have a sleepover if the fishing gets too tiring.
Whilst driving, it’s good to be aware of the sheep around here – they are hanging out everywhere, including the roads, enjoying their freedom for the summer. 

Every time I’m driving here, I also seem to bump into random horses that have escaped from their paddocks. So paying attention whilst driving is a good idea.


 
Ketubjörg Cliffs

Ketubjörg CliffsKetubjörg cliffs and the bird colony living here is a stunning place. Travelade/Mari

 

On the east side of the Peninsula, overlooking the fjord of Skagafjörður, the dramatic cliffs of Ketubjörg are standing tall and proud. At the highest point, the drop is about 122 meters, and the views are outstanding. There is a little river floating close to the edge, forming a stunning waterfall a bit further out, straight down to the sea below. Looking down, and you’ll see black sand beaches and clear turquoise water, with waves crashing gently to the shore. The beautiful tall cliffs with bright green moss cover on them, is only adding to the beauty here.

Ketubjörg cliffsIt's important not to get too close to the edge of the cliffs. Travelade/Mari

 

There’s a big bird colony living here, but it is strongly advised not to get too close to the edge to observe – there are some cracks around the edge that are very, very dangerous. It’s fascinating watching the bird life here, and it is easy to watch the birds from a little distance as they often fly higher up to observe any visitors. The authorities have recently fenced the most dangerous areas, but still being here with a good amount of common sense comes without mentioning. Even the beautiful green moss can be slippery, easily causing accidents. So please do take care if you visit this area.
 
The rest of the way back to the ring road takes you through road nr. 744, but I would recommend to go through Sauðarkrókur. My all time favourite geothermal pool called Grettislaug is close by, and to soak in a natural hot water pool before leaving, makes an awesome finish to this road trip.


 
Q&A

How to get to Skagi Peninsula:
The distance from Reykjavik and Skagaströnd is about 165 miles (266 km), and the diving time is about 3,5-4 hours. Driving around the Peninsula takes about 2-4 hours, depending on how long you’d like to spend on exploring the areas. I recommend to always check the roads before going.

Good to remember:

This Peninsula, just like the rest of Iceland, is full of natural beauty. Please remember to take all of your trash with you when visiting these sites, as there won’t be public bins here – it’s really off the beaten track.
 
Also read our guide for The Regions in North Iceland.

Also read about Akureyri, the capital of north Iceland.

Also read about Tjörnes Peninsula in Northeast Iceland.