Travel: Hiking Anastarpi to Hellnar, Iceland

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Anastarpi and Hellnar are tiny towns located in Snaefellsnes National Park on the western coast of Iceland. When I say tiny towns, I really do mean a few homes, at best. Remotely located on the coastline, there are a lot of great views to be had on the cliffs, which are teaming with seabirds, jagged rock, and strands of beach.

SIDE NOTE: There is a hike that extends all the way from Hotel Budir to Hellnar (which no one EVER talks about) that we did not get to add to our itinerary (because we simply did not know about it before hand and did not allocate enough time) but it tops my bucket list for our return to Iceland. Even now, as I sit in the comforts of my home trying to google information about the hike through Budahraun Natural Reserve, I cannot glean any information. The only evidence of such a hike is an AllTrails suggestion. According to my travel notes, it is a 6-8 hour trek that begins at Hotel Budir (you will see a sign plus the trailhead starts after Budakirkja Church). Thankfully, I took a photograph of the sign.

There will be a river crossing but if you want to avoid getting wet, you can cross it on the road above the trail. The tail end of this long hike is the one I will write about today, which spans from Anastarpia to Hellnar.

Hiking Anastarpi to Hellnar

It takes about one hour to hike from Anastarpi to Hellnar. When I say the towns are tiny, I really do mean tiny. I can count on my fingers and toes the number of buildings present in Anastarpi. There are less in Hellnar. The hike is easy, and goes along the coastline. We drove to Anastarpi around 10am and parked at a lot in front of the restaurant. Tour buses frequently park here so I would come earlier rather than later to snag a spot. I would suggest walking around the area first before starting this hike.

At Anastarpi, there is this giant stone statue called Bdar Saga. It is worth looking at and reading the sign.

From far away, he looks like a guardian standing over the city for protection.

Or a lonesome stranger sitting in nature.

There are also cliffs from which to birdwatch.

My favorite view was this stone bridge.

To the east, there is a trail that I am sure connects to the hike originating at Hotel Budir. Head towards the lake and onwards if you wish to go that way.

The view of Anastarpi. Beautiful green grass, colorful buildings, a blue lake, and birds everywhere. This is the perfect bird watching place!

The hike to Hellnar is to the west. Once you’ve had a chance to look around, I would start walking west and you will approach a gate that’s meant to stay closed. This is the mark of the trailhead. Don’t let the gate deter you, it is open.

The trail is mostly through volcanic rock terrain. Hiking boots are not a necessity, but if you are curious, this is what I wear on every hike when I travel:

Mikey moving along the trail.
A boy looks into a hidden cave.
When you get to this boardwalk, you know you are approaching Hellnar.

At the end of the trail, once you reach Hellnar, there is a cute cafe situated on the coastline. It isn’t fancy, by any means, which adds to its charm. I highly recommend stopping here to grap a cuppa and a snack. They make really good waffles. On a rainy or snowy day, you can cozy up inside, but we preferred the outdoor views, even with the overcast weather.

They were generous with the house-made whipped cream.
On the way back, we were surprised to find this brightly colored home. Which goes to show that turning around to see from whence you came is always a good idea.

We headed back to Anastarpi after our coffee pick-me-up and arrived shortly after lunch-time. There is a pizza place and a burger joint. I highly recommend the pizza place, although it is a bit pricier than the burger spot across the street. But the pizza was the perfect lunch after our hike!

So how do I rate this hike? The hike was an easy one with mild views. It was not my favorite trek but it is good for children and older folks who wish to do a bit of jaunting while in Snaefellsnes National Park. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had connected to it from Hotel Budir. As I said before, we’ll save that for next time!