Directions to Vatnajökull national park
Not far from the bridge monument (about 4 km) we arrive at vatnajökull National Park. Take Route 998 on your left. (Photo by: Hafsteinn Robertsson)
Vatnajökull National Park is the second largest national park in Iceland. Amongst other things, you can visit the famous Svartifoss waterfall, the Mörsárdalur valley and the Skaftafellsjökull glacier. Thanks to the mild climate in the region, this is one of the few places in Iceland where you can find a natural forest.
You can visit the park from the spacious parking area near the information centre. There are many hiking and trekking routes available. If you have time, you should certainly take a walk over the glacier. In the visitor centre, they also show a film about the eruption of the Bárðarbunga volcano in 1996.
The 20-metre high Svartifoss waterfall (“black waterfall”) consists of six-sided columns of black basalt (hence its name), which we have already previously encountered on this trip.
You can visit the waterfall via the trail that starts on the left of the information centre. The hike to the waterfall takes about 90 minutes (round trip). Along the way you’ll pass the Hundafoss waterfall.
Ice cave tour
Have you ever wanted to walk through an ice cave? On the south side of Vatnajökull, there are several spectacular and photogenic ice caves, which you can visit whilst being accompanied. Reservations are required in advance.
For safety reasons, you can only do this activity during the winter months, from October to March. Bring a good pair of boots or walking shoes; you will be provided with crampons, essential to move around safely in the ice cave. Do not forget to wear warm clothing.
Svínafellsjökull glacial tongue
The Svínafellsjökull is a smaller glacial tongue, and part of the much larger Vatnajökull glacier. The Svínafellsjökull lies between two mountains: Hafrafell and Svínafellsfjall. The water of the glacier is transported to the sea by two rivers: Svínafellsá and Skeiðará.
The Svínafellsjökull is popular and easily accessible. There are several tourist agencies that organize walks and trips on the glacier. Depending on the tour and difficulty, you will be walking 2 to 6 hours. You will get the necessary equipment when booking your trip.