Hellnar, Snaefellsnes, Iceland: GoNOMAD LOCAL DESTINATION MINI GUIDE

GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINI GUIDE: Hellnar, Snaefellsnes, Iceland

Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest natural lake. Greg Roensch photos.
Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake. Greg Roensch photos.

By Gudrun G. Bergmann

Glacier Skiing
Glacier Skiing

WHERE
Hellnar, Snaefellsnes, Iceland. A very small, remote community situated on a peninsula in the Western part of the country.

WHY GO?
A spiritual experience. Hellnar is right next to the mystical Snaefellsjokull Glacier, considered to be one the largest and most beautiful glaciers in the world.

The glacier and the surrounding town are also thought to be one of the major energy centers of earth, with many spiritual attractions and activities. The French writer Jules Verne chose it as the entrance in his novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

WHEN TO GO
Spring, summer, and autumn are the best times, although winter can be very special, too. The Icelandic winter is mild, but damp, and the winds tend to be a bit chilly.

GETTING THERE

By Air
Fly Icelandair (icelandair.com) to Iceland from New York, Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis/St. Paul in the US.

Getting Around
Drive to Hellnar by car — rentals available at the airport or elsewhere — or take a daily bus.

BEST ATTRACTIONS

  • Snaefellsjokull Glacier
    Miles of ice. Great glacier hiking, climbing, snowmobiling, skiing.
  • Mary’s Spring
    West of Hellnahraun lava-field, about 300 meters beyond the old hiking trail between Hellnar and Arnarstapi, is a spring that comes out from under the lava. In the year 1230, bishop Gudmundur, the good one, came visiting Hellnar. He asked for water for him and his men and an old man took them to the spring. Men drank of the water and watered their horses. The weather was cloudy, but when they were about to leave, the sun broke through and Mother Mary and three angels appeared before them. Mary asked the bishop to bless the water for healing. He did. In 1989, the inhabitants at Hellnar bought a statue of Mother Mary and put it up by the spring. The water is still used for healing.
  • Gudridur’s Statue
    A statue in the memory of Viking woman Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir, who went to settle in America just after the year 1000 and is considered to be the first European mother to give birth there.

BEST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION

  • Ley-lines
    Lines on both sides of Hellnar that connect with the pyramids in Egypt and in Southern Mexico. More proof that the place is a spiritual center.

BEST ACTIVITY AND TOUR

  • Tours to the top of the glacier by Snjofell
    snjofell.is
  • Guided tours of the glacier, mystical sites and coastlines by Guiding Light Tours
    hellnar.is

BEST ALTERNATIVE

  • The Personal Growth Center
    Tel. + 354-435-6810 or 435-6820
    Fax: + 354-435-6801
    gudrun@hellnar.is
    hellnar.is
    Peace Center Workshops, peace prayer ceremonies, healings, personal card readings and other spiritual, psychic activities.
  • The Snaefellsass Community
    Tel: + 354-435-6810
    gulli@hellnar.is
    hellnar.is
    Established in 1995, this is the first intentional community in Iceland, and is based on ecological, spiritual and self-sustainable principles. The community houses a tour operation, a guesthouse, a campground and a small publishing house, and became a member of The Global Eco-village Network in the summer of 2000. Visitors are welcome to learn more about the community and join.

BEST LODGINGS

  • Guesthouse Brekkubaer at Hellnar, an eco guesthouse.
    Brekkubaer, Hellnar
    IS-356 Snæfellsbæ
    ICELAND
    Tel: + 354-435-6820
    Fax + 354-435-6801
    gudrun@hellnar.is
    hellnar.is
    Open from April 1st – November 1st annually, the guesthouse has 10 double rooms with private bathrooms, and one double room and one single room that share a bathroom. In summer, a campground is available. Also offers Reiki sessions, Viking card readings, daily yoga classes and delicious, organic foods and wines. Since 1997, the Guesthouse Brekkubaer has operated with strict ecological guidelines and is committed to reducing consumption of resources. Currently working toward certification through Green Globe 21.

BEST EATS
Guesthouse Brekkubaer or Fjoruhusid, a coffee house, both at Hellnar

BEST ENTERTAINMENT

  • Viking feasts at Guesthouse Brekkubaer with local music and entertainment

BEST LOCAL HAUNT
The glacier. Other outdoor spots. The beach.

BEST SHOPPING
No shops at Hellnar. Sorry.

VISAS AND DOCUMENTS
Only a valid passport is necessary for most travelers to Iceland, including US citizens, UK citizens and Australian citizens. Danish, Faeroese, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish nationals arriving from one of the other Nordic countries. Citizens of most EU countries need only a valid identity card.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Dress warmly, as cold winds come off the glacier all year round. Bring sturdy walking shoes. Don’t go glacier climbing alone.

MONEY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Currency is the Icelandic Crown — US$1= 80 Crowns. Visa, Mastercard and Eurocard are accepted almost everywhere, except remote places.There is a 25% Value Added Tax on absolutely everything in Iceland, but if you buy $US100 or more of merchandise in any one store, they give you a special 15% VAT discount. Ask for it. You’ll be given a receipt which you can redeem for cash when you leave the country. Alcohol, film and cigarettes are very expensive. Buy them from duty free before you arrive or bring them from home.

International calls can be made from almost everywhere. Public phones are either coin or card operated. There are many cyber cafes in the main cities and towns.

BEST RESOURCES
eyeoniceland.com
travelnet.is

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