Meet on location: Skaftafell

Skaftafell, part of Vatnajökull National Park, is home to stunning outlet glaciers. We operate year-round in Skaftafell and offer a variety of tours on the glacier with highly experienced and certified glacier guides. You can book tours online or at our sales lodge near the National Park Visitor Center. Meet us in Skaftafell for an adventure of a lifetime.

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Skaftafell - General Information

Skaftafell is located in the eastern part of the south coast, precisely 326 km east of Reykjavik or about a 4-hour drive. Skaftafell used to be a national park on its own but in 2008 it became a part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park. The area is preserved and contains some beautiful landscapes. The landscape is similar to some of the Alps but is more varied since it has formed over thousands of years by fire, glaciers, and water. In Vatnajökull National Park lies the vast glacier, Vatnajökull. Underneath the glacier are some volcanoes and when they erupt they cause glacial floods, the last large one happening in 1996. Skaftafell is definitely an ideal destination for those who enjoy outdoor activities in beautiful surroundings. That is because of the scenic landscapes, favorable weather conditions, and a wide selection of hiking trails. Short and easy trails lead to the waterfall Svartifoss and the glacier Skaftafellsjökull, which is a part of The bigger glacier Vatnajökull. For those who want to go further, the valley Morsárdalur and Kristínartindar mountain peaks are perfect in terms of distance and labour. Skaftfell is also the base camp for those who seek to climb Iceland‘s highest mountain peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur. Skaftafell has a great & large campground which has service from May 1st to September 30th. The area has really mild weather with an average temperature that is higher than in most of Iceland. The mild weather and beautiful landscape make the destination a perfect stop on your trip to Iceland.

Reflections of the Skaftafell mountains and Vatnajökull Glacier surrounded by autumn colors at Skaftafell National park
Björgvin Hilmarsson

Skaftafell - Climate/Flora/Fauna etc.

Skaftafell has a very mild and pleasant climate - compared to many south coast areas - often benefiting from the shelter of Öræfajökull. Trees, mostly birch and some rowans, cover the rich undergrowth of the lower slopes. The birch trees in Bæjarstaðarskógur also grow higher than most of the other native birches, probably because of better weather conditions. There are several plants distinctive to East Iceland which are common to see in Skaftafell. They are the harebell, the pyramidal saxifrage, and the yellow saxifrage. Ever since sheep stopped feeding on the grass in Skaftafell the vegetation has changed enormously. It is quickly making incursion on the glacial deposits in Skaftafell. Birch and willows are also starting to colonize the land.
Down in the woods in Skaftafell , the redwing, redpoll, and wren are common. However, the snipe, ptarmigan, golden plover, and meadow pipit seem to stay higher up in the slopes. Other birds seen frequently include the raven, merlin, wheatear, and snow bunting. Although the only wild mammals are the Arctic fox, mink, and field mouse, the local insect fauna is considered quite diverse compared to most of Iceland.

Group on a glacier walk with Hvannadalshnúkur in the background.

Check out all our Glacier Walks

We also offer Glacier Walks on Sólheimajökull in south Iceland and from Reykjavík