Don’t you just love checking out those mind-blowing pictures of Iceland on Instagram? If you’re not an Instagram fan, you can still see some pretty astonishing photos of Iceland on Pinterest. OK, and if you don’t have Pinterest either, we can always look on Google Images. I’m pretty sure that one applies to everybody. Regardless of the website you use to find stunning pictures of Iceland, I bet you’ve come across images of Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss. It is probably one of the most famous scenes of Icelandic landscapes and the one that attracts tons of shutterbugs. Kirkjufell is supposedly the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional picture taker to come here and enjoy this dazzling scenery. So, whether you’re a photography fan or not, this place has something to offer for everyone. Want to find out what awaits?
Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss – One of Iceland’s Most Iconic Images
In Iceland, there are over 10,000 waterfalls and a wide variety of diverse terrain. Of course, all of them have their own particular brand of beauty. Choosing the most impressive one is not an easy feat. Instead of choosing just one out of thousands of places, we create listicles and “top ten” articles, right? Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss might be Iceland’s most beautiful waterfall or mountain on their own. But combined, their unique juxtaposition makes them stronger together. They are quite an idyllic, picture perfect sight to behold.
First of all, we need to know what Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are. For that, we need to travel a bit. Let’s head to Grundarfjörður!
This is a small town in Iceland, located in the western part of the country. This area is the well-known Snæfellsnes peninsula. One of the most interesting natural attractions here is the 4,984 foot (463 meter) high mountain whose name is Kirkjufell. For those who are not familiar with the Icelandic language, Kirkjufell means “church mountain.” The name comes from its characteristic and unique shape. For many Icelanders, it resembles a church. In the past, it used to be a landmark for ships passing by the Icelandic coast and was a fantastic point of reference for location.
Right next to the mountain, you will spot Kirkjufellsfoss. In Icelandic, “foss” means “waterfall”, so it’s simply “church mountain’s waterfall” in English. The lovely cascade flows quietly while being guarded by the imposing Kirkjufell mountain. The river crossing this area is the Kirkjufellsá, whose waters flow from the peninsula’s Snaefellsjökull glacier.
Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss – Game of Thrones Fame
The names of Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss might not ring a bell, but I bet you’ve seen them without even realizing it. If you or someone you know is a Game of Thrones fan, that’s undoubtedly the case. The mountain had a bit of a starring role in the GOT scenery. Not sure when or where? I’ll give you a clue: White Walkers. For those of you who love the HBO series, you probably already know that Iceland has tons of filming locations for the show. This one appears in Season 6 and 7, episodes 5 and 6. Jon Snow and his friends are heading north of the Wall in search of the Army of the Dead. They walk by Arrowhead Mountain (Kirkjufell) on their journey, and the Hound recognizes it as the “mountain shaped like an arrowhead” from his vision in the fire. Pretty cool, right? You can visit this and other filming locations on Iceland Game of Thrones tours.
Iceland’s Most Photographed Mountain and a Camera Lover’s Dream
You’ll find some of Iceland most iconic and famous views at this natural landmark. Thousands of photographers come each year to immortalize this view with their amazing eye and artistic talent. But why Kirkjufell? I dare say it’s the combination of elements in the area that make for an ideal composition. If we separate them, they’d still get our attention. But arranged together, the sum is greater than the whole of its parts, and it’s just magnificent. We’ve got an unusual mountain with a peculiar shape, a fascinating waterfall careening down into a rounded river bend. It’s then topped off by a serene lake that creates a mirror image of the mountain. How could any skilled photographer resist?
The four seasons also work their magic here. During the fall, the foliage slowly changes to shades of orange, red and yellow. When winter comes, it transforms into an icy wonderland with the Northern lights shining brightly above Kirkjufell mountain. And finally, when spring and summer strike, the landscapes converts to green pastures are everywhere. There are beautiful meadows all around.
Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss – Outdoor Activities
Iceland is all about outdoor activities, and so is Kikjufell! Besides taking the best photo possible and doing your best as an amateur or pro photographer, you can also take part in some physical activities.
Trekking at Kirkjufell
This area is excellent for hiking, and there is a trail in the area right after the parking zone. You can walk to the base of the mountain to check out the lake and the waterfall. It can take up to three hours, so make sure you bring some sturdy, comfortable, good shoes. Regardless of the season, waterproof and windproof clothes are a must when you come to Iceland.
Climbing and Hiking
It is possible to walk up the mountain, but we need to warn you about how difficult and risky it is. The incline is very steep and therefore, dangerous. If you do not have any experience climbing, then it’s probably not the best idea. Sadly, we get a lot of news reports about foreigners losing their lives when climbing up this mountain. Besides the fact that the terrain is rather rugged and changes abruptly, the weather can also be a fatal factor. Due to the shape of the mountain, when the wind is a bit strong (even by Icelandic standards). There are really powerful gusts here. So even if you are an experienced hiker, also bear in mind that you need to be aware of the elements. Check with the local tourist information center and get as much information as possible. The safer, the better.
Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss – How to Get There
Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are both on the Snaefellsness Peninsula, in the southwestern part of Iceland. It’s about 113 miles (183km) away from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. By car, it can take up to three hours to reach the area. A day trip is possible, but these sights are better as part of a two or three-day excursion to the area.
As we mentioned before, there is a parking area close to the mountain. You can leave your rental car there and walk to the base and lookout points. Grundarfjörður village is conveniently located near Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss. Here you can find the information center, as well as boat tours, horse riding, and bird watching points.
Also, if you need a place to spend the night, an internet connection, an ATM, or a supermarket, you can find it here. Not to mention restaurants where you can fill up your tummy with some tasty Icelandic food after a long day out.
Natural Landmarks – Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss
Now, besides the excitement of visiting a new location, you need to add the beauty of the land. You will be very impressed to discover that the mountain is actually much larger than it appears in pictures. In real life, you will be able to see for yourself how photogenic and special Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are. Don’t miss the opportunity to add this impressive location to your itinerary. The Snaefellsness peninsula is known as Iceland in miniature. Within its limits, you can find a little sample of everything Iceland has to offer from mountains to glaciers to waterfalls. Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss are just a small taste.