The South Coast and the South Travel Guide

The South Coast and the South Sights

Vatnajökull National Park

  • Klapparstígur 25-27
  • Reykjavík
  • Body Of Water/Waterfall
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 09/20/2028

Fodor's Review

Established in 2008, Vatnajökull National Park covers roughly 13 percent of Iceland, encompassing not only the entirety of Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier, but also the stunning wilderness areas of Skaftafell in the south and Jökulsárgljúfur in the north. Within this massive park—Western Europe's largest—you'll find spectacular displays of nearly every geological feature and landscape Iceland has to offer: horseshoe-shape cliffs, thundering waterfalls, endless glacier tongues, active volcanoes, otherworldly lava fields, and more. A number of the park's natural attractions are unique sights, such as Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe; Hljóðaklettar, a series of curious volcanic plugs; and Snæfell, the highest freestanding mountain in Iceland. By far the most popular region of the park is Skaftafell, which receives more than 300,000 visitors each year, who come to hike its numerous scenic trails, marvel at dripping blue glacial tongues, and take pictures of

its most photographed attraction, Svartifoss (aka the "Black Waterfall," so named because of its surrounding black basalt columns). In all, there are five visitor centers in the park: Kirkjubæjarklaustur (south Iceland), Skaftafell and Höfn (southeast Iceland), Skriðuklaustur (east Iceland), and Jökulsárgljúfur (northeast Iceland). Park services and facilities include basic campgrounds and mountain huts, ranger-led interpretative hikes, and detailed maps. Most entrances to the park are accessible by car throughout the year, but weather conditions and hours throughout the park vary.

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Sight Information


Klapparstígur 25-27 , Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland


354-575–8400-park office in Reykjavík

Published 09/20/2028


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