Skaftafell

Get ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of Icelandic nature.

East Iceland
Mountains in Skaftafell on a cloudy day
Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell
Mountains in Skaftafell on a cloudy day
Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell
Mountains in Skaftafell on a cloudy day
Best time to visit
Summer
Open
Every day
Parking
Paid
Charging station
Yes

Head to Skaftafell and glimpse rugged peaks, dazzling glaciers, and tumbling waterfalls

Found within Iceland’s vast Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafell is a wilderness area where the country’s native plant and animal species flourish. During your visit, you can expect to see expansive stretches of moss, striking basalt columns, and birch forests.

The region is also home to a variety of birds. Plus, you could even spot one of Iceland’s elusive Arctic foxes. It’s not hard to see why Skaftafell is a favorite among nature lovers.

Skaftafell is known for its extensive network of hiking trails. You could easily spend hours walking the paths all over the area. You’ll find there are paths to suit most fitness levels, with trails for novices and experienced hikers alike.

Beyond Skaftafell, in the wider Vatnajökull National Park, you’ll find the largest glacier in Europe, and the highest peak in Iceland!

The south coast of Iceland has lots to offer, so get ready to check off even more of your must-see sights and wishlist excursions. Just imagine marveling at glacier lagoons and exploring ice caves.

A visit to Skaftafell truly lets you experience the majesty of Iceland. You’ll be able to soak up breathtaking natural landscapes, enjoy thrilling activities, and take in dramatic volcanic scenery.

Ready to plan your visit to Skaftafell? To help get you started, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the wilderness area.

Other attractions near Skaftafell

The edge of the Vatnajökull glacier

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Vatnajökull Glacier & National Park

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Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon at sunrise with a pink sky

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Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

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The harbor at Höfn í Hornafirði

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Höfn í Hornafirði

Discover the charm of this fishing village in Vatnajökull National Park.

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Vik Church with Reynisdrangar sea stacks in the distance

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Vík í Mýrdal

Discover Iceland’s wild south coast from this charming village.

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FAQs about Skaftafell

You can find Skaftafell on the south coast of Iceland. It’s part of the country’s largest national park – Vatnajökull. The Skaftafell area is on the Reykjavík side of the national park, so it’s a great place to begin your adventures in Vatnajökull.

There’s plenty for you to see and do in Skaftafell! There’s something for you, whether you’re a keen hiker, nature lover, or just want to admire epic landscapes.

Check out these ideas for what you can do in Skaftafell:

  • Set out on a day hike or join a guided walking group for an unforgettable introduction to the area.
  • Spend time birdwatching during the summer months – just remember your binoculars.
  • Go on a guided glacier hike across one of the small outlet glaciers, such as Fallsjökull.
  • Marvel at Skaftafell’s many waterfalls. If you have to pick one, we recommend Svartifoss. It’s a 20-m (65ft) high waterfall surrounded by basalt columns - perfect for striking photos!
  • Stroll along one of the nearby black sand beaches that Iceland’s south coast is famous for.
  • Head to the Skaftafell visitor center, where you’ll get useful insights, including maps and guides in English.

This depends on what you want to see and do during your time here.

If you want to go on a hike, then make sure to plan ahead. Add some extra time to the estimate given at the Skaftafell visitor center to allow for lunch or snack breaks. The trails here vary in length, from around 1 hour to full-day outings.

Otherwise, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to explore a little and see a waterfall or two. We recommend about 2 to 4 hours minimum for a relaxed visit.

There is a parking charge for visiting Skaftafell. That said, it’s well worth it to see such a special slice of Iceland. How much you pay will depend on the size of your vehicle. You can find up-to-date prices on the Skaftafell website.

If you’re visiting on a bus tour then your entry fee will often be covered in the cost of your tour package.