As you stand on the edge of this cliff, you can witness some of Iceland’s dramatic coastlines. There is a sheer drop to the wave battered rocks. The stench of the bird poo clings to your throat. The Lóndrangar rock pinnacles in front of you obscure a lighthouse.
Lóndrangar are strange volcanic stacks on the southern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The name roughly translates to ‘Lagoon Pinnacle’. These tough basalt rock pinnacles are up to 75 feet tall.
Lóndrangar rocks are the remains of an ancient crater that had eroded after many thousands of years by glacier ice, the sea and new lava flows from Snæfellsjökull Volcano eruptions. Snæfellsjökull Volcano is 700,000 years young.
This area offers some of the best views of the Snæfellsjökull Glacier on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
The hill is named after two of the original viking settlers to set up their home with Bardur. Their names were Sval & þúfa. Bardur was a legend who became endowed with “God-like” qualities. A monument stands in Arnastapi to honour ‘Bardur – the protector of Snæfellsjökull Volcano’.
The trail up Svalþúfa Hill starts at the car park which is close to the main road that circumnavigates Snæfellsnes and is just a few minutes drive west from Djúpalónssandur Beach. It is best to veer left on the path up to the sea cliffs.
This photo (above) was taken from Þúfubjarg cliffs on Svalþúfa hill and is facing West towards Lóndrangar. This spot is all that is left of the ancient crater and is home to Kittywakes, Common murre, Northern fulmar and occasional puffins.
From the Earliest folklore, Svalþúfa Hill is believed to be inhabited by Elves. It is forbidden to mow the grass on the hill. Anyone attempting to disturb the dwelling intentionally risk extreme bad luck. I have experienced this from other parts of Snæfellsnes.
If you are thinking of removing a lava rock, think again. The top of Svalþúfa Hill is the setting for more Icelandic folklore. One night, the Devil Challenged a guy called Kolbein to a rhyming contest as the waves battered the rocks below.
Kolbein was the glacier poet and the challenged continued through the night. Kolbein would utter the first lines of a rhyming stanza and the Devil would have to finish the rhyme. Kolbein caught the devil with a word which had no rhyme and then cast the Devil int the sea when Kolbein played around with some clever declension.
Oh and something about the moon. Anyway, the Devil never challenged Kolbein to any rhyming games ever again.
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At the top of Þúfubjarg cliffs there are viewing platforms for your safety and to protect the landscape. You will see a trench that has been worn away by photographers trying to get the best wide angle photos of the cliffs (including me).
The construction of the viewing platforms were started in 2014. This slight inhibition of freedom and our right to roam will ultimately allow future generations to enjoy the natural landscape and hopefully reduce fatalities. Photographers and bird lovers have been known to plunge to their deaths from the top of Icelandicbird cliffs.
There is also a lighthouse which is hidden in this landscape photograph behind the smaller pinnacle. The lighthouse is at Malarrif, an abandoned fishing port just a few minutes drive from Lóndrangar. Malarrif was notorious for dangerous fishing and hasn’t been used for over 100 years.
There is a Snæfellsjökull Visitor Centre with lots of information about the Snæfellsnes National Park at Malarrif. The Snæfellsjökull Visitor Centre is open everyday from 11.00 – 16.00. Phone: +354 436 6888
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