Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Western Europe and therefore one will have all the right reasons to plan a trip here. Covering 13% of the land of Iceland, this national park is known for its unique features which capture the reciprocity between the fire and ice. As you explore this region, you will see crystalline white glaciers descending down to the black sands, the hot streams are seen erupting from the frozen ice banks.
Step on the land where the ice stretches to the point where sky meets the sea and in the lap of which dwells phenomenal landscapes, picturesque sceneries, awe-inspiring sun glinting mountains, and gushing rivers that make their way through the land. Vatnajökull National Park is also a home to the largest glaciers, highest mountain, and most powerful waterfalls of the entire Europe.
About Vatnajökull National Park
This park was opened in 2008 and is one of the three national parks in Iceland which is spread over an area of 12,000 km sq. It encompasses picturesque landscapes which were created by the river and glacial ice as well as the natural phenomenon like volcanic and geothermal activity. This park features long canyons, breathtaking waterfalls, and wilderness.
The whole park is divided into four territories, each of which has distinct features as well as qualities. The park’s highland areas provide educational services as well. Overall, the whole park is beautified with towering ice caps, soft black sand beaches, glacial landscapes, enormous active volcanoes, and hilly terrains.
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Best Time To Visit The Park
Provided the weather conditions of Iceland, the best time to visit this park is in summers. During summers, the days are long and less chilly. You get to explore more places and do more outdoor activities which you are possibly not allowed to do in winters. Trails are in their best condition so that you can go hiking and even go for boat tours.
Where To Stay
A right place of stay is a necessity in a place like that. To make your exploration hassle-free, it is crucial to plan your stay somewhere close to this national park. If you are not one of those who’ll go for Vatnajökull National Park camping, then check out these hotels located nearby that may suit your accommodation preferences!
1. Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon
This is an amazing hotel in Iceland located near the Vatnajökull National Park. It is a luxury four-star hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms. The rooms are well equipped and fully furnished. This is a non-smoking hotel. Also, they provide free wifi and free parking.
They even provide free breakfast which is quite commendable. There’s an in-house bar as well as lounge and a classic restaurant where you can try all of their local delicacies.
2. Hotel Skaftafell
This hotel too is located near the park and is a great accommodation option. This is a 3-star hotel. The rooms are comfortable and cozy. The place is always clean and well maintained. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. Free WiFi and breakfast add to the convenience. There’s also a bar, lounge, and a restaurant in the property.
Places To Visit
The national park infused with awe-striking sites that are frequented by the tourists. To have a better idea of these locations, referring to the Vatnajökull National Park map would be a great idea. Check out these places and make sure you add them in your itinerary!
This is a glacial lagoon that borders Vatnajökull National Park. This land looks more like a snowy world with huge icebergs surrounding the entire area. The lagoons flow into the Atlantic sea through the short waterways.
The still clean blue water adds a bewitching contrast to the picturesque view of the entire region. You can get a glimpse of several fresh water fishes and the adorable seals as well!
This is one of the most talked about places in the Vatnajökull National Park. This is basically an enormous waterfall right amidst the park that adds a hundred times more beauty to this place.
Tourists especially come to Vatnajökull National Park to visit this place. Surrounded by the dark lava columns, the waterfall creates a scenic view that leaves the onlookers mesmerized.
It is a complex caldera which is surrounded by the Dyngjufjöll Mountains. This is one of those nested calderas that you can find everywhere in Iceland. Tourists flock around this place frequently due to the awe-striking scenic views.
The breathtaking landscapes make it a perfect photographic location where you can get insta-worthy pictures.
This place is basically an outlet of the larger glacier called Vatnajökull located in the southeastern part of the park. It emerges at the end of Vatnajökull and gushes down in a small lagoon. This whole place looks like it has been specially designed and engineered by nature itself.
The landscapes of this place are so unique that they create a beautiful scenery. The nature lovers should definitely whenever they come to this park.
This place too is located in the southeastern part of Vatnajökull National Park. It is an enormous volcano which is mostly covered with ice. It is also the highest peak in Iceland and gives you several reasons to make a visit.
This ice-capped volcano shines as it reflects the sun rays, thus creating a soothing view that leaves the beholders completely spellbound.
Also, this place is so peaceful and serene that you might as well lose the track of time as you explore the ravishing beauty of the awe-inspiring landscape.
Things To Do
To spend your time in this park productively, indulging yourself in some thrilling activities will be the perfect thing. Listed below are some of the activities that most of the people love engaging themselves in!
1. Explore Black Sand Dunes
One of the specialties about Vatnajökull National Park is the black sand dunes that stretch to a long range. The enormous glaciers descending down to the black sand create a perfect contrast, making for a striking view.
As you explore the area, you will find a variety of wildlife species. You will mostly find different species of birds that migrate here every year.
This is one of the must-try things when you visit this park. As you sail through the icebergs, you will witness the picturesque views of the ice-capped mountains glinting the sunrays and the gushing rivers making their way down the hilly terrains.
The whole experience is so serene and peaceful that you will feel yourselves completely lost in the vibrant aura of this place.
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This could be a dream come true for all the thrill seekers out there. As you drive through the glaciers, you may come across some nerve-chilling experience while passing through some slippery uneven areas. You will also get to witness some of the most awe-inspiring sights of the park.
Overall, it is a fun experience which is also challenging at the same time. If you are someone who likes to try something different, then you can go for it! Also, if you don’t want to drive by yourself but still want to undergo this experience, then you can rent a car with a professional driver.
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For all the adventure enthusiasts out there, Vatnajökull National Park hiking is one of those things that you surely cannot miss on your visit. Hiking on the hilly terrains of the Vatnajökull National Park, that too amidst the largest glaciers of Europe is a totally different kind of an experience and you should definitely try this out.
5. Skidooing And Dog Sledding
These activities are rather more on the fun side and are less frightening. This is one of those thrilling activities that anyone can try. This is one of the popular outdoor activities that most of the tourists who come to this park try out.
There are many places where you can try out these two activities. Also, since all of these activities are done under the supervision of professionals, it is totally safe.
How To Reach
You may have to take two different transport facilities to get to the park. Taking a flight and going via the road are considered to be the two best options to reach here. -15
First, you have to board a flight to Keflavik International Airport. Then, you have to go through a security screening at the Keflavík port so that you can finally make your way to Iceland.
2. Road Transport
Now, once you have reached Iceland, head over to Reykjavik. From here, you can avail any of the road transport facilities to finally reach the national park. You can either rent a car or book a cab if you don’t want to drive.
Also, you can take a bus or go for an organized tour for the same. The time it takes to reach Vatnajökull National Park from Reykjavik is approx 4 hours.
Thus, if you ever go for Iceland tour, make sure you visit this beautiful national park. The place is full of natural wonders and is surely going to take your breath away. So what’s holding you back? Come visit this place and witness the most awe-inspiring creations of God in Vatnajökull National Park.
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