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Blog Author - Joe

By Joe

July 25, 2019

Vatnajökull National Park: Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Vatnajökull National Park has officially been labeled a “unique value to mankind” and added to the UNESCO World Heritage List! A present-day picture of Earth’s past, Vatnajökull just went straight out of the ice age and into the spotlight! 

The second-largest national park in Europe is now Iceland’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining Thingvellir National Park and the volcanic island of Surtsey. 

Vatnajokull National Park glacier

Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull National Park is a natural marvel where active volcanoes meet arctic ice in a constant battle for survival. A land of shifting glaciers, lava fields, sudden glacial floods, ice caves, unique wildlife, fresh glacial rivers, and deep canyons — all of which showcase the dynamic nature of fire and ice in real-time.

Since Earth’s very beginning, the geological forces of Vatna have built and shaped the planet and still do to this very day. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the world unearthed what Icelanders have long known for certain: that Vatnajökull is a real blast from the past!

Did You Know? —  All About Iceland’s Newest UNESCO Site

  • Vatnajökull National Park covers 14% of Iceland’s surface area
  • It’s home to Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe
  • The park also claims Iceland’s tallest point, Hvannadalshnúkur Peak
  • Ten total volcanoes! Eight volcanoes are subglacial (under the ice) and two are among the most active in Iceland
  • Around 40 outlet glaciers in total and roughly 1.7 billion swimming pools of water make up the entire ice cap

A Beacon of Hope Against Climate Change

The park has been chosen not just for its size and natural beauty, but also for its geological significance. Now to be preserved for future generations, the land that time forgot can continue to stay that way. 

Man sitting in Vatnajokull National Park

Man Sitting Near The Vatnajokull Glacier

A poster child for the worldwide campaign to combat climate change, the melting Vatnajökull serves as an icy reminder of what’s really at stake.

Very few places on earth allow you to delve into a natural ice cave or snowmobile on top of a glacier. Check off another wonder from UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. Visit beautiful Vatnajokull National Park and trek into a foregone era! 

A Warm Thank You

We here at Arctic Adventures want to send a special takk fyrir (thank you) to the Iceland Government for their hard work on the Vatnajokull UNESCO project. Thank you for the work you’ve done since 2016 to make this goal a reality. 


We fully support protecting and celebrating the world we live in. Only together can we preserve our cultural heritage and Mother Nature’s gifts. Life’s better on the rocks — let’s keep it that way!


Check out our breathtaking glacier tours in Vatnajokull!

Vatnajokull National Park UNESCO

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