Exploring Skaftafellsjökull

Added by Lisa Bao

Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip). Walking time: 30 minutes to the glacier face. Easy access to a view of the largest continental glacier in Europe.

The glacier Skaftafellsjökull is an outlet of Vatnajökull, which is the largest continental glacier in Europe. It's a part of Skaftafell National Park, about half-way between Höfn and Vík in Southern Iceland.

Parking is easily found at the Skaftafell Visitor Centre and you can follow a paved path behind the building towards the face of the glacier. From the end of the paved section, a gravel path leads to the viewpoints. As you follow the path, there are several land markers that are meant to educate you on the local geology and history of the rapidly receding glacier. Pick up a brochure from the Visitor Center if you want to learn more as you follow the trail.

Since the glacier has retreated so quickly during the past few decades, there are clear indications of this that show up in the landscape. An example of this are the moraines, which are accumulations of dirt and rocks that have fallen onto the glacier surface or have been pushed along by the glacier as it moves. Also, be careful of quick sand in this area.

Once you get to the end of the trail, you have a number of views to take in of the glacier. If you dare, you can carefully explore and walk on the glacier; although it's advised that you go through the Visitor Center for official trips on the glacier.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Photography
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

It's a hard to photograph spot, but you can't beat the opportunity to see an immense glacier up close.

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Sjónarnípa

    Skaftafell National Park is a portion of Vatnajökull National Park and easily accessible by car by Route 1 (the Ring Road). Sjónarnípa is a viewpoint overlooking the Skaftafell glacier and surrounding mountains. To hike to Sjónarnípa, begin at the...

  • Winter Hike to Svartifoss

    At 20 meters tall, Svartifoss, also known as Black Falls, is one of the most popular waterfalls located in Iceland’s Skaftafell National Park. This waterfall’s claim to fame is definitely the beautiful hexagonal basalt columns that surround the fa...

    1.25 miles

  • Scramble Kristínartindar

    Kristínartindar isn't for the feint of heart, and even I almost fall into that category. But a lot of the trail can be done extremely easy, and is still a really awesome hike as it overlooks a glacial tongue.The hike starts at Skaftafell Visitor C...

    11.2 miles 3412.1 ft gain

  • Explore Svinafellsjokull

    Look for the point of interest sign to Svinafellsjokull several minutes past the exit for Skaftafell National Park. Drive down the dirt road for approximately 5 minutes before reaching the parking lot.  From the parking lot there is a clearly mark...