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Skaftafell National Park

Skaftafell is an adventure playground for outdoor lovers! There are hiking and cycling trails, glacier hiking, magical ice cave explorations and ice climbing tours to suit all tastes and ability levels, there is even a boat trip which will weave its way between mystical towering icebergs.

The Skaftafell Area

There are many activities to suit even extreme glacier enthusiasts including ice wall climbing. How magical would it be to defy gravity in a starkly beautiful blue/white natural world which is both raw and stunning?

The area within Skaftafell National Park has been shaped by some of the most powerful forces known in nature giving rise to the dramatic and magnificent scenery. The great Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland, and the second largest in terms of volume in Europe (3,100 km3), is located here. There are many glacial tongues which are surrounded by jagged mountains. It is clear for all to see how both the landscape and the history of the local people were shaped by fire and ice. The Öræfajökull volcanic eruption of 1362 wiped out an entire community, Öræfajökull translates into English as wasteland glacier, accurately describing this area after that eruption. Giant glacial floods, known as Jökulhlaups, have caused catastrophic flooding of the Skeiðá, Morsá and Skaftafellsá rivers changing the land forever. Nowadays, these areas are appreciated by people from around the world for their dramatic beauty.

On the lower areas of Skaftafell birch and sometimes rowan trees grow plentifully and angelica, wild angelica and sea pea grow well. Ravens and a variety of birds can be found here together with mink, field mice and Arctic foxes. Svartifoss is a scintillating waterfall which dropping from a stunning crescent of geometric black basalt columns into a tranquil pool below. The dramatic waterfall is reached by a very beautiful short hike from Skaftafell Visitor Center, on a clear day, there are magical views of towering mountain peaks and glaciers.

There are so many amazing and exciting possibilities to be discovered here that it really is difficult to choose between them – sometimes a combination tour or a longer tour is the only realistic choice! If you want an easy adventure you can do that – if you want to experiences the extremes which Skaftafell can offer then go for it! Get ready to experience that moment of awe or to feel your adrenaline pumping.

Where is Skaftafell located?

Skaftafell Visitor Center is located 319 km from Reykjavík, 140 km from Vík. The famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is only 56.3km away and if you travel from the east coast, the distance from Egilsstaðir is 313 km. Other places of interest in the area include the Diamond Beach at Jökulsárlón (56.0 km), Höfn (136 km) and Kirkjubæjarklaustur (71.6 km).