Below a cliff in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland east of the town of Arnarstapi is Gatklettur stone arch, which was naturally formed over the centuries and is used by dozens of birds as a place to rest.
Gatklettur Stone Arch in Iceland
As an option, one could take two hours to hike approximately five kilometers to access Gatklettur for a closer view of the interesting yet unique swirling patterns across the rock itself — which is a result of both the constant barrage of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the relentlessly strong cold maritime winds — rather than what is offered from the Arnarstapi Cliff Viewpoint, which is easy to access by motor vehicle.
Nearby Gatklettur is a monument which is comprised of a sculpture of rocks that was created in 1985 by Ragnar Kjartansson called Bárður Snæfellsás, which is a representation of the guardian spirit called the Deity of Mount Snæfell.
According to legend, Bárður Snæfellsás was half man and half troll who arrived in Iceland in the ninth century and settled, giving Snjófellsnes Peninsula its name. His father was half titan; but his mother was human. Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Snjófellsnes Peninsula are actually the same name, as both words snær and snjór are Icelandic for the English word snow.
Final Boarding Call
No admission is charged to see Gatklettur stone arch or Bárður Snæfellsás in western Iceland. Arnarstapi Cliff Viewpoint is never closed to anyone who wants to visit it. No facilities are available at the site itself.
Plan to spend at least 2.5 hours to drive the approximately 193 kilometers from Reykjavik. Bring a jacket, coat, or other garments to keep you warm against what could potentially feel like brutally cold winds.
Please click here for links to additional articles of my experiences in Iceland via this Iceland: Itinerary and Master Guide.
All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.