My travels around the world

Hellnar

Iceland

September 2020: Who would have thought this would be possible, that we would travel abroad autumn 2020, in the midst of the Covid Pandemic! But we did! We found an opportunity at the very VERY last minute to travel to Iceland!

To be able to travel into Iceland, we had to stay in quarantine for 1 full week with Covid testing at the beginning and the end of that period. But we could rent our own accomodation for the quarantine period, so we stayed in a nice little house in middle of nowhere, but with great views! After the quarantine period we enjoyed 2 weeks of travelling around the whole island. And being able to travel here during the Covid time has been such a unique opportunity, with hardly anyone around and being able to experience the amazing nature without disturbances.

And today we are exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula, with many stops on the way, including a visit to the village of Hellnar with its beautiful coastline and rustic church. And that is what this blog is going to be all about...

The rustic church at Hellnar

Iceland

The rustic church in Hellnar with the Snæfellsjökull in the background

The rustic church in Hellnar with the Snæfellsjökull in the background.

Finally the weather has calmed down; after having had two very stormy days during our stay on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. And with the weather clearing up, we have a chance to discover more of this beautiful part of Iceland. The plan is to visit, amongst others, the village of Hellnar and do a hike along its gorgeous coastline. It is unfortunately our final day on the peninsula before we need to head towards Helsinki for our flight back home tomorrow. So we are trying to enjoy this last day to the fullest, and so far the Snæfellsnes peninsula has really been delivering!

Map Hellnar

But before I continue with my impressions of Hellnar, please let me give you an idea where you can find it on the map. Hellnar is located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It is just over 2,5 hours / 200 kilometres drive north west of Reykjavik according to maps. Although in our experience driving in Iceland takes much more time than we had estimated.

location on the map: 64.6319018, -23.7911964

Another important thing is to ensure to have a filled gas tank because distances are long here and gas stations are few and far between in this area.

The road to Hellnar

The road to Hellnar

As this is our final day on the peninsula, we have no time to waste and we get up really early and get on our way. So far today we have visited the Saxhóll Crater, Djúpalónssandur beach, Lóndrangar and we are now heading towards Hellnar. And I am enjoying the drive round the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the fullest. In Iceland the journey is often just as enjoyable as the final destination, and the road to Hellnar is no exception. The landscape surrounding us is rugid and absolutely breathtaking!

Hellnar is an ancient fishing village, a cluster of old houses and buildings situated close to Arnarstapi on the westernmost part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It is difficult to imagine that this tiny hamlet on the south coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula used to be one of the largest fishing villages south of the glacier.

The views over the cliffs from Hellnar

The views over the cliffs from Hellnar

We drive to the very end of the road in the village of Hellnar where we find the parking lot right at the coast and hop out of the car. The views from here over the cliffs are absolutely gorgeous; just as we had hoped for.

But it is bitterly cold today and the threat of rain is hanging in the air. The original plan was to take the hike between the two villages of Hellnar and Arnarstapi, crossing the lava fields, walk along the cliffs and enjoying the views over the beautiful shoreline. But taking the weather into account, with the big risk of getting soaking wet by the rain, we decided to just enjoy the views from here instead. Such a pitty that the weather has been against us during the past few days on the peninsula, as without a doubt this short hike of two and halve kilometers would have been fantastic.

The coastline at Hellnar
The coastline at Hellnar

Mesmerizing rock formations at Hellnar

I particularly liked this part of the rock formations; the twist and shapes of these rocks are absolutely fascinating and mind-boggling to watch.

The rustic church in Hellnar

When we walked back towards the car, an old church on top of a hill cought my eye, and it just begged me to explore. Åke however popped back into the car to warm up escaping from the biting cold winds. But I just couldn't resist against the temptation and had to take a closer look. The grey clouds opened up, giving way for some blue skies and bright sun rays casted themselves over the red and white church. It looked so picturesque from down here. So without hesitation I started to walk up the small path uphill leading me to this rustic little church.

Shadow on the red door in Hellnar
Door knob, church in Hellnar
Church in Hellnar

The church itself is far from impressive, but the location made it to such a charming and relaxing place to be. While I walk up the hill and towards the church I soak up the views in peace and quiet:
The yellow golden hue from the grasses against the blue sky and the bright reds of the church.
The weathered fence with it poles leaning in all directions, like they want to dance in the wind.
The old churchyard with the wooden crosses being embrased by the long golden coloured grasses.
And in the background the always impressive Snæfellsjökull glacier dusted in a fresh coat of snow.

When I turn around I see the blue sea and the wind blowing the clouds past in a rapid speed. I just stand here for a while and absorb the atmosphere. Maybe this is not an impressive church, but such a picturesque spot to just 'be' for a short while. One of those enjoyable moments during our trip that will always stay in my mind.

church in Hellnar

Red and white church in Hellnar
Wooden crosses, churchyard Hellnar
Door knob church Hellnar

The church is weathered, the red paint is peeling off everywhere. Only the door is still bright red, like it has recently been painted.

The corrugated iron is slowly rusting in parts, staining the bright white walls with orange brown tears running down its sides. It gives it such a rustic look. No wonder really that it is so weathered, as it is so exposed to the elements in this open spot adjecent the ocean and below the mighty Snæfellsjökull glacier where the weather can play freely.

Church Hellnar
Red and white church Hellnar

The church probably dates back to 1945, but rests on the site of an older house of worship dating back to 1833.

Snæfellsjökull

impressive Snæfellsjökull glacier dusted in a fresh coat of snow.

It is time to say goodbye to Hellnar and its little church and continue our journey around the impressive Snæfellsjökull glacier on the very tip of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Our next stop is going to be Arnastapi where we will be greeted by more wonderful views over the impressive coastline of this part of Iceland.

Simone & Åke, September 2020, Hellnar, Iceland

 


Simone

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