Skaftafellsjökull

South East Coast, Iceland
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Location

An amazing sight to behold. The icefall stretches 20 kilometres from the slopes of Vatnajökull glacier down to a small lagoon below. The stunning icefall is a natural wonder that has been formed by the movement of the glacier. The towering walls and enormous crevasses have been sculpted by wind and water over thousands of years and are constantly changing as the glacier moves, creating new shapes and patters in this powerful scenery.

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  • Climate

    Climate

    Get location climate information which includes temperature, wind speed, amount of rain, snowfall and ice coverage through the year.
  • Lighting conditions

    Lighting conditions

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  • Accessibility, services and permits

    Accessibility, services and permits

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  • Visitors and risk factors

    Visitors and risk factors

    Find out if location is frequently visited, if there is any danger in the location area and how to stay safe.

Accessibility

From route no 1, you drive 2 kilometres to the Skaftafell Service Centre and from there it is a 2 km easy hike towards the lagoon. The trail is paved half of the way, with the latter half a comfortable gravel road, suitable for 4-wheelers. There is an old service road that you could, with permission, use, that will take you more than half of the way to the lagoon with equipment.
Public transportation unavailable
There is no public transportation available in this area
Car recommended
Unchallenging terrain accessible by car
Good phone coverage
Generally good phone coverage without any major interruptions

Services nearby

There are many hotels and lodgings options within 50 kilometres from this location. Nearest hospital is in Höfn, 136 kilometres away.
Accommodation
< 30 km
Gas station
< 30 km
Hospital or emergency room
More than 50 km away
Parking
< 1 km
Restaurants
< 30 km
Shopping
More than 50 km away

Permits

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You need a two-way permit. Skaftafellsjökull is a part of Vatnajökull National Park.
Shooting requires both the permission from the property owner and the local government permit

Basecamp and facilities

Skaftafell Service Centre is at the start of the trail that leads to the glacier tongue. There is a canteen and basic facilities. Phone coverage is good.

Risk factors

Icefall glaciers are constantly moving from the pressure above, they are also covered in crevasses, deep and narrow. Ice blocks can collapse without warning and the temperature is cooler than elsewhere with a risk of hypothermia. Climbing the glacier should not be attempted without climbing guides and a safety team. The lagoons tend to be deep, and the water is cold and not suitable for swimming.

Visitors

Skaftafellsjökull is a popular area for tourists who often stop for a day or two to explore everything that the national park has to offer. With a permit from the environmental agency and park rangers you could manage this location easily. There are tourist companies that take hiking tours to and upon the lower icefalls.

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