Skaftafell Things to Do

  • Jokulsarlon panorama
    Jokulsarlon panorama
    by Assenczo
  • The sky is the limit
    The sky is the limit
    by Assenczo
  • Things to Do
    by Assenczo

Most Recent Things to Do in Skaftafell

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    Lambhagi "Lamb pastures" in Skaftafell.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 27, 2014

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    The tree with its roots on land.
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    Now this is a beautiful spot in Skaftafell. In the olden days until 1900 ewes were milked by the farmers. Their lambs were kept here in Lambhagi overnight as the ewes were milked in the mornings. After the milking the ewes and the lambs were reunited.

    This is such a lovely spot and imagining it being crowded by lambs makes it even more special. The river flowing from Svartifoss waterfall and the other 3 waterfalls turns into a small still lake here with small fish in it, it is ever so peaceful. I recommend resting here for a while after visiting the waterfalls taking in the tranquility of this lovely place.

    There is a tree on a rock in the lake with interesting roots. They are above ground and the tree has found earth on the ground in Lambhagi. It looks like there are many trees but it is only one tree.

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    Svartifoss waterfall - the Black falls.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 27, 2014

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    Svartifoss is situated in Skaftafell in S-Iceland.

    At the Visitor centre you can get information on how to get to Svartifoss waterfall. It is 1,5 kilometres from the Visitor centre, uphill and on the way to Svartifoss you come across 2 other waterfalls Þjófafoss (Thieves' fall) and Hundafoss (Dogs´fall). The hike is ca 90 minutes back and forth with stops, and you can then walk down to Svartifoss to see it up-close. It is a breathtaking waterfall (mind you I love waterfalls) 12 meters high with black columnar basalt formations which beautifully frame the waterfall and give it its name.

    The hike is easy, you don't even notice that you are going upwards until you see the view from above. And it is so worth it. On your way back you can either return the same way or cross the river by Svartifoss and return back there. On that route you will get a closer look at Þjófafoss (see my next tip) and get to see the lovely Lambhagi - Lamb pastures (see my tip).

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    Skaftafellsjökull glacier.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 27, 2014

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    Skaftafellsjökull - glacier is located in Skaftafell national park.

    From the Visitor Centre at Skaftafell there is an hour's hike back and forth to the glacier. Dress warmly as the temperature drops when you get close to the glacier. Don't get too close though and never go on the glacier unaccompanied. In front of the glacier there used to be treacherous quick sands, so one couldn´t get too close to it, but that has been "fixed" so last time I visited I could walk almost straight up to the glacier.

    It is possible to get very close though and there is a lagoon in front of the glacier with chunks from the glacier.

    The trail leading to the glacier from the Visitor Centre is a good one (seeing that Skaftafell is a National park). It used to be by the rocky hill, but they have changed it as pieces of rocks were falling from it. When I was there in 2008 a large rock had just fallen from the hill on the trail.

    By the Visitor Centre there are two companies which offer trips on the glacier. I have never fancied going on a glacier, I know how dangerous they can be and I don't fancy snow that much. But I know these trips are very popular.

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    Everything is frozen solid.

    by Regina1965 Written Nov 27, 2013

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    If there is frost here in winter time everything will freeze solid. On my way to see Skaftafellsjökull glacier I encountered a totally frozen small waterfall.

    The water took on strange ice formations, so that the grass and plants by the waterfall were covered in ice. It is worth making a stop here just to admire these ice formations. Some of them were just amazing, others were strange.

    One has to crawl through a couple of trees there to get to the small waterfall.

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    Skaftafellsjökull glacier - in winter time.

    by Regina1965 Updated Nov 27, 2013

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    Visiting Skaftafellsjökull glacier in the winter time is a different experience from visiting it in the summer time.

    Walking up to Skaftafellsjökull glacier is always amazing, but when the sun is wery low on the sky it lits up the glacier in beautiful golden and pink colours. It totally transforms the glacier.

    Everything is totally frozen here in winter time. The lagoon by the glacier is frozen with chunks of ice stuck in it. It is not save walking on the lagoon though and one must be careful in this area. And given that the days are shorter one must be sure to be back to the Visitor Centre before the sun sets.

    It can get so cold here in winter time as can be seen from my photo - my face is all read from the cold.

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    The Skaftafell Visitor Centre.

    by Regina1965 Updated Nov 27, 2013

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    Skaftafellsstofa.
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    There is an Information Centre at Skaftafell called Skaftafellsstofa or Skaftafell Visitor Centre. It is open all year long. They have different opening hours almost every month, apart from the summer months when the opening hours are 8-21. I add their website for opening hours. I visited them in November 2013 and then they were open until 16 o´ clock. They are closed during Christmas and on New Year´s day.

    At the Information center one can buy a map of the hiking trails in Skaftafell and get general info on this lovely and rugged area. Here is also an exhibition on Skaftafell.

    Skaftafell is a true oasis here in this wilderness and Skaftafell Visitor Centre is a oasis per se, especially after the long drive through the sands - and of course there are toilets here, but on this route toilets are few and far between.

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    Landmannalaugar Voyage

    by Assenczo Updated Oct 15, 2012
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    Landmannalaugar is the location of a tiny campsite in the land behind the Myrdalsjokull glacier. It is technically in the interior of Iceland (not on the escarpment itself along the remote Kjolur or Sprengisandur routes) which in turn makes it one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. To traverse it, one has to have inclination for dangerous excitement and equipment in the shape of SUV for the modern explorers or a steely determination and a horse and lots of experience in the old days. Mind you, some heavy-duty fellas are doing it on bicycles and even specialized busses are not a rare occurrence. After some hydroelectric projects along the way from the fertile South comes the point of no return. Progress can be made only in 4wheel machines (as the sign points out) and preferably in tandem with others. In the peek and only season, the summer, this seems to be no problem since half of Reykjavik is streaming towards this direction in search of Nature in its most brute manifestation. The road is meandering along and across rivers and streams requiring exciting fording. The landscape changes practically at every turn. Stone deserts, multicoloured mounts, deeply-tinted lakes, outlandish formations, moss lines that go upside down, petrified lava flows, dainty flowers clinging to life on one side of a slope but not another and it goes on and on. By the time one has crossed all the way to “civilization” at the other end, there has been such a load of experiences that one feels that not a day but a year has passed speeding by. And the ”relief” is only temporary since in an hour or so the traveler is to face another forbidding monster of a place – Sandur; mighty glacial desert flanked by sea and mountains stretching as far as the horizon blurred by dusty storms into an enigma.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    The lesser evil

    by Assenczo Updated Oct 13, 2012

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    Skaftafelljokull has the easiest access point containing a nice “welcome” joint complete with a shop, cafeteria, exhibition hall and even a movie theater where the story of the area is being told through the most powerful media. Outside of this commercial haven one needs no intermediaries – the mountains and glaciers are in full view just a kilometer or so away. The distance is negligible and walking is the only option anyway. Along the path there are different points of interest such as a stone with markings by the Danish surveyors who indicated the extent of the glacier at the beginning of the 20th century – much further out than nowadays. Meanwhile, it is revealing to witness how the vegetation changes within meters – trees give way to bushes which in turn yield to shrubs till only the smallest flowers can hold on to the barren land. The immediate area around the lake is lifeless. The water of the lake is of a classical murky glacial quality since the crushing action of the moving ice brings stone debris and soil from the mountain. Considering this fact it is most amazing that the bigger lake at Jokulsarlon has the most beautiful crystal clear water despite its glacial origins. Maybe the lake is deep and large enough to have all the stone matter turn into sediment on the bottom. Whatever the case, the result is completely the opposite, thank God!

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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    Breathtaking scenery

    by Assenczo Updated Oct 11, 2012

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    Jokulsarlon panorama
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    It is not immediately clear what the impression is that Jokulsarlon produces on the poor souls visiting it during lousy weather. For the lucky folk attending the spectacle at its prime with beautiful blue sky, it is mesmerizing. There is a feeling of being if not on another planet than at least at its opposite end – Antarctica. Just the lack of penguins and the size of icebergs suggest that this is not the case. Strategically placed picnic tables allow for uninterrupted consumption of Nature in all of its forms through different channels. Fish on the menu solidifies the unity of Man and Nature and its endless cycles. The sensation of infinity is magnified by numerous icebergs waiting in line to enter the journey to yet another dimension of life –the sea. The individuals with a need to come closer are supplied with the means – boat rides to the bosom of the lake goddess. For the ones in need of reverie and contemplation of the deity, the rocky shores provide the perfect venue.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Kayaking

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    Lagerfljótsormurinn (Lagarfljot worm)

    by smirnofforiginal Written May 1, 2011

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    A little south of Egilsstadir is Lagarfljot. A glacial lake that is fed from Vatnajokull and flows out to the Arctic Ocean.

    Ever since Viking times a monster, the Lagerfljot worm, has been spotted. However, I was not lucky enough to spot it,,, despite my best attempts! Actually the worm has not been spotted since the 1980s... The Icelandics view the Lagerfljot worm in the same way as the Brits and the Scots view the Loch Ness Monster. Still,,,

    Even sans worm, the lake is pretty and there is rather a nice mountain/volcano backdrop.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    Reydarfjordur, Eastfjords & WWII

    by smirnofforiginal Written May 1, 2011

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    During the war there were aprox 3000 soldiers stationed here in Reydarfjordur. The Americans convinced the locals to help them build some hospitals here. There were never used for this purpose. No Icelanders actually faught in the war but many fisherman did get killed bringing their ships with fish to the UK.

    There is a war museum here, surrounded by mines and all sorts.
    During the winter months the museum is firmly closed, however you can still have a poke around the "hospitals" from the outside.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Eastfjords

    by smirnofforiginal Written May 1, 2011

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    Oh the Eastfjords are beautiful. Vast stretches of crystal clear water thinning into fingers that stretch into the shoreline upon which pretty, little villages sit with their brightly coloured rooftops and square, wooden churches. Small harours of gayly painted boats and snowy capped mountains and cliffs. Shy reindeer coyly grazing where the snow has melted in the winter sun that skip like little fairies across the waters.... and the vistas appear to go on, forever.

    I loved driving around and around the Eastfjords... first on this sie of the water.... then on that side of the water, then the road spliutting the waters... pretty waterfalls, pretty bridges, pebbles, stones, fishermen... picturesque.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    the road to Hofn

    by smirnofforiginal Written May 1, 2011

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    I hope the
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    The road to Hofn, from Jokulsárlon there are some gems to look out for, including the abandoned building with Banksy-esque style graffiti on it. I was happily whizzing along at 90kpm when I saw it, slammed on breaks and broke sharp right to stop - that woke the family up!!!

    Some beautiful abandoned buildings are along this stretch of road.

    The naturally formed landscape is rather pretty too!!!

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    • Road Trip

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    Hofn

    by smirnofforiginal Written May 1, 2011

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    Hofn means harbour which is name that suits this town!

    Having left Kirkjubaejarklaustur that morning, Hofn made for the ideal place to bed-down for the night. It was a good place to restock too.

    I was not particularly taken with Hofn. The harbour area was ok but otherwise I thought it was a bit drab and sprawling. As I said, though, it did make a good place to stay overnight.

    There is a shopping centre in the centre of town with a supermarket and a handful of other shops. Camera folk may be interested to know that there is an electrical/photography shop here. However, it was a small shop and they advised me the nearest place to get my camera fixed was back in Reykjavik
    Around the harbour there are shops that sell waterproofs and outdoor clothing etc... but especially aimed at the more "fisherman" among us!

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    Jokulsárlon

    by smirnofforiginal Written May 1, 2011

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    Blue, turquoise, aquamarine, white, green, grey and black are the colours trapped in ice of Gargantuas size and splendour, sprawling across the glacial lake. Frozen sculptures rise from the freezing waters. It is surreal, beautiful and, despite its hype, will not fail to leave you gaping and gawping.

    The lake is 17 square km,600m deep and only a mere 75 years in age. The icebergs carve and slice themself from the galcier, Breidamerkurjokull. Breidamerkurjokull is retreating and as it does so this lagoon is growing.

    The weather could not have been a lot more awfull when I visited in April but nothing could detract from this magnificent sight.

    The black shore strewn with varying grey-shades and sizes of pebble, rocks and stone. Lumps of ice, glistening and shining like beautiful, transparent diamonds lodged between the stones. A lake, cold, alluring and foreboding and then, of course, the icebergs, rearing out of the water...

    and in April I was here... alone. Magnificent and magical.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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