Budahraun Lava field sits on the south shore of Snaefellsnes peninsula. It originates from the low Budaklettur crater, which sits in its center. 

The eastern part of the lava field became a Nature Reserve in 1977.  Around 130 different plant species grow here.

Budahraun is a unique place to walk in the sandy lava fields, see the charming black church, and stroll on one of the few golden beaches of Iceland. Don’t forget your camera. There are many great opportunities for great photos in the lava field.

Hiking in Budahraun lava field

A 2 km (1.2 mile) trail lies between Budir and Frambudir, where there are ruins of fishermen’s huts and trading booths. From Frambudir, there’s also a trail that heads inland across a lava field to the Budaklettur volcanic crater. You can see the lava that flowed from the crater 8.000 years ago. Today,  the lava field is home to a rich variety of mosses, ferns and wildflowers.

Overall, it’s an easy hike. You should give yourself about 3 hours for a round trip hike.

A Black Church Built by a Brave Woman

The settlement of Budir lies near the lava fields. It was a bustling fishing village and a major trading post in the Middle Ages.  Eventually, the area declined and traders abandoned the post in the 19th century. Today, though, Budir is a beautiful stop for visitors who want to enjoy the peace and beauty of Snaefellsnes.  A hotel on site is popular for romantic holidays.

One of the most beloved places in the area is the black wooden Budakirkja.  Actually, the church is the last remaining building from the trading post days.  The first church in the area was a turf building raised in 1703. The Danish King Christian VIII ordered it to be closed in 1819. The building became a warehouse. Led by a merchant’s widow, Steinunn Svensóttir, the residents protested and asked for a new church.  The Church Council refused, so Steinunn appealed to the King of Denmark, who authorized her request. In 1849, the priests’ council gave permission for Budir’s residents to build a new church, but residents had to pay for it and maintain it themselves.

Steinunn oversaw the building of a black wooden church that incorporated some of the items from the original chapel.  She defiantly put an inscription on the door: “This church was built –with no subsidy from the spiritual fathers — by Steinunn Sveinsdóttir.” Today there is a memorial at the church honoring Steinunn.

Renovations took place in 1951 and again in the 1980s, when the church was moved slightly and reconstructed based on its original Danish design.  The church is not open to the public, but people do  rent the church for special events like weddings.