Before You Go: Plan your stay in Skaftafell National Park
How much time do you need in Skaftafell?
You will want to see other parts of Iceland, of course, so calculate the amount of time you can afford to give to Skaftafell. You can easily spend two to three days in the park’s reserve without getting bored, but if you have more time, there’s enough to keep you occupied for many days.
Most visitors spend here at least one full day, which allows you to book a proper glacier tour: a glacier hike, ice cave or ice climbing tour, and go for a short independent hike to see the Svartifoss waterfall or one of the highlights of the park (see the trail options further bellow).
If you are very short on time, there is a superb Skaftafell taster; the three to four-hour Glacier Walk Express tour takes you to Falljökull on IMG’s glacier bus for an easy glacier walk that showcases a wonderland of sculpted ice.
Accommodation options in the Skaftafell area
Hotels near Skaftafell
There aren’t many accommodation options in the area, even though it’s one of the most visited regions of Iceland. It’s best to book your accommodation well in advance. You can choose between contemporary hotels, more modest guesthouses and the campsite at the heart of the hiking trails. Head over to booking.com or Airbnb to select your preferred option.
The elongated design of this chic, contemporary hotel means each room - from the back patio to the picture windows - takes full advantage of the wilderness outside, with dark basalt cliffs contrasting pure white glacial snow and ice.
Sitting below the glacier, Hotel Skaftafell is the ideal base for exploring the national park. Service is front and centre for the hotel. It provides packed lunches, and booking tours on your behalf, and staff are happy to help with route planning.
Adventure Hótel Hof
Vatnajökull National Park is a three-minute drive away from the hotel. The accommodation is rustic with basic levels of comfort—breakfast and dinner options.
This modern wood-clad hotel is pleasingly minimalist inside with splashes of colour. It’s 29 km from Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and 27 km from Svartifoss Waterfall in the national park.
Skaftafell campsite is located next to the visitor centre. With 400 pitches, just turn up and choose your spot. Showers, laundry and dish-washing facilities are located at the centre of the campsite.
Can I wild camp near Skaftafell National Park?
Wild camping with any motorised vehicle is strictly prohibited in Iceland. Tent camping outside designated campgrounds isn’t allowed in national parks or protected areas such as Skaftafell.
However, there is an exception for multi-day backpacking trips on foot, where a tent may be pitched for one night above 400m altitude. Please be respectful and set a good example by not promoting or engaging in wild camping in Iceland.