Iceland is all about rugged natural beauty. And the best landscapes exist in its vast national parks that offer a diverse range of activities. These national parks also offer stunning scenery, ethereal lava fields, beautiful waterfalls, vast glaciers, giant canyons, black sand beaches, and more.
There are three main national parks in Iceland: Vatnajokull is the largest, Thingvellir is the oldest, and Snaefellsjokull is picturesque.
National Parks in Iceland – Vatnajokull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is also the largest of Iceland’s National Parks. Vatnajokull National Park was established in 2008 and has slowly grown to include more areas. This national park now includes Skaftafell Reserve and Jökulsárgljúfur Park within its region. It covers about 14% of the Icelandic territory. Yes, Vatnajokull National Park is definitely large! So here are some of the best activities you can try in the two park areas within Vatnajokull.
Best Things to Do in Skaftafell Reserve
Skaftafell is now a part of Vatnajokull National Park and is in South Iceland. You can easily visit this even if you only have 5 days in Iceland. Skaftafell has a large visitor center with all possible facilities including an on-site restaurant, shower and toilet facilities, as well as a car park. Most tours within Vatnajokull National Park start at the Skaftafell visitor center. Here are some of the top things to do in Skaftafell Reserve.
1. Glacier hiking
Vatnajokull is the largest glacier in all of Europe. One of the best tours to take from Skaftafell is to hike a part of this glacier. You are taken by a bus or a super jeep closer to the glacier. The guide gives you some information about Vatnajokull, why the ice is blue in some parts, dangers to avoid, and explains how to use equipment like crampons and an ice pick. You then start the ascent on the glacier in a single file.
For the more fit and adventurous, you can combine the glacier hike with an ice climbing tour. This would take you much deeper into the glacier. You will have more equipment to deal with.
2. Boat tour to Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon
Jokulsarlon is a lake that is filled with water from the Vatnajokull glacier. It also has icebergs that break away from the glacier and float in the lake. One of the beautiful experiences on Iceland’s south coast is to take a boat tour to Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon.
The fit and adventurous can opt for a…