The Vatnajokull National Park is Europe’s biggest national park and one of the largest in the world. It is one of the main tourist draws in Iceland, thanks to its diverse features.
The park is in south Iceland and covers an area of 12,000 sq km. It includes Jokulssrgljufur National Park and the Skaftafell National Park. The Vatnajokull glacier is also a part of it.
What to See
The most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, is situated in the park. You will also find the biggest glacier in Iceland here (Vatnajokull) and the tallest mountain (Hvannadalshnukur). The Vatnajokull National Park is a true nature lovers dream. There are quiet brooks, several scenic waterfalls and hills of varying sizes.
There are also several mountains, black sand, rivers and lowlands.
Campsites are available from May to September. It can get quite busy in the area during summertime.
There are also several glacier guides in the site. They will offer ice climbing, ice walks and tours. About 5 km to the eastern side is an eatery. There is also a small supermarket where you can buy many things including soap and tea.
The park was created on June 7, 2008. The size of the park is such that it covers nearly 13% of the whole country. The Skaftafell hill was where the farmers went to escape the flooding. Today, the hill is used for hiking.
It provides different vistas of the area. From being a farmers hill, it is now used for obtaining different views of the waterfalls and fauna. There are plans to build more visitor centers in the park. These are scheduled to be finished in 2012.
The cost of visiting the park depends on the type of travel package you select. The standard tour of the site along with side trips to nearby attractions will have starting costs of 43 ISK.
When hiking up the Skaftafell, you will come across the Svartifoss (Black Falls). The Falls are composed of black basalt columns. There is also an access road so the disabled can get near the top.
Make sure that you get only the certified mountain guides. Do not go into the glacier without a guide. You could get into a serious accident.
If you visit the Vatnajokull National Park around January to March, you can go skiing at Hvannadalshnukur. The period from January to March is also great for hiking.