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You are here: Home > Iceland Travel Guide > Southern Iceland > Skaftafell

Your Trip to Skaftafell

Photo of Skaftafell

A Visit to Skaftafell

The Skaftafell area of the Vatnajokull National Park is enormous! As soon as you reach the entrance, you'll fall in love with its vast green expanses where a few willow, birches, and poplars growing here and there. Trees are rather rare in Iceland and their presence attracts many birds. A multitude of hikes are waiting for you to unpack your walking shoes. Ask for information at Skaftafell's information centre and the entrance of the park.

Located on Iceland's south-eastern coast, at the feet of Vatnajokull and its volcanoes, Skaftafell is a true natural asylum. Stuck between the glacial tongues of Morsarsjokull and Skaftafellsjokull, the park spreads over glacial sandar that drift slowly but surely off to the ocean.

Hiking in Skaftafell

- The Thjohamragil trail is a great way to discover the park on foot! Through scenery inhabited by birds and flowers, go and conquer Skatafellsjokull. Plan to walk about 2 km before reaching the glacier. - During your stay in the park, don't miss the waterfall hike. The Hundafoss falls are only at 1,5 km from the Skaftafell campsite(a half hour walk). Not far from here, the Svartifoss falls are surrounded by surreal basaltic rock formations. This waterfall is a great place to start a hike to climb the Kristinatindar. From the top of this mountain (1126m) you'll have an unparalleled view on all of the region's glaciers.

- Not far from here you can also climb the Sjonarsker to get a better view of the Morsardalur valley. You'll also be able to make out the icebergs of Morsarsjokull's lake! The way back down follows another glacial tongue from Glama to Sjonarnipa.

- Another option, you can choose to cross the plateau and make for Sjonarnipa, in the midst of endless blueberry bushes. From here you'll get a great vista of the Skaftafellsjokull glacial tongue and Skeidarasandur's plain. On a clear day, you can see Oraefajokull's snowy peaks, at Iceland's very edge.

- From here, head to the Austurbrekkur trail, which brings you back down to the campsite through a charming birch forest, where one wouldn't be surprised to run into a family of elves! Make sure to look into the weather before you go, as the tree roots can get slippery when wet, making it very difficult for a tired hiker. In this case, it would be best to return along Svartifoss.

Practical Information

- Accessible on the circular route 1, Skaftafell is 326 km southeast of Reykjavik.

- The Skaftafell visitor's centre is open every day from 9:00-19:00. If you want to spend a few nights in the park you must ask for a camper's permit, which is free. You'll find hiking maps for sale, as well as a little exhibit about Vatnajokull's history. The information centre also houses a cafeteria and a little grocery market but we recommend still bringing a few provisions for your trip to Skaftafell.

To get started organizing your visit to Skaftafell, contact us! Contact

More information about Southern Iceland:  
Landmannalaugar | Hekla | The Westman Islands | Vatnajokull | Jokulsarlon | Thorsmork | Skaftafell | Skogar | Vik |

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