Skaftafell National Park, Witness the Fire and Ice

Skaftafell National Park

Skaftafell National Park is the second one of Iceland, established in 1967. It is an oasis among the glaciers and sands, with the acreage of about 5 thousand kilometers. It is one of the must see destinations in Iceland with beautiful mountainous regions. The area is a splendid place to view the great contrasts among active volcanoes, mighty glaciers, strong glacier rivers and continuing sandy plains.

There are no roads inside the park, but a network of trails offering good opportunities for differently extended hiking, and it is easy accessible from Reykjavik. There are many ways to experience the wonders of the Skaftafell Park. You can hike from your campsite or hotel, drive to the glacier lagoon, climb up to the Kristínartindar peaks for a stunning view, or watch the documentary of the 1996 eruption in the Skafta. It’s ideal to combine the trip with the glacier lagoon Jokulsarlon and the Laki crater area.

Park Rangers are available in summer. You can get advices from them or follow them on a variety of hiking trips, which give you opportunities to know more about Skaftafell. Camping in Skaftafell is free from booking, but groups of caravans and cars are required to inform about arrival in advance. The camp site is open in summer, if you want to camp in someplace outside the camp site or other times, you will need permission from the Park Manager.

The popular waterfall Svartifoss is a short walk from the main campsite. Also called the black waterfall, Svartifoss is the major attraction in the park. There are many waterfalls in Iceland, but none as distinctive as Svartifoss is. The waterfall gets the name from the amazing flanking black basalt columns, which are in regular hexagonal patterns like the pipes of an organ. It is the inspiration source of the design of the National Theatre in Reykjavík.

The Skaftafell Visitor Centre is the place where you can get information and services, including accommodation, hiking trails and nearby recreational options. There is an exhibition room in the Visitor Centre, where you can learn the story of fire and ice: the way in which volcanoes and glaciers met together and finally created the surrounding places; as well as the eruptions, the floods and the expeditions.

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