As shown once again in 2011, the subglacial volcano Grímsvötn is the country's most active volcano, and is also famous for the huge jökulhlaups or glacial floods that originate from it. Enter a world of ice and snow: discover the wonder of Iceland's mesmerising blue ice cave and hike over the enormous Vatnajökull Glacier. Here you’ll find stunning glaciers, interspersed with lush areas, waterfalls and ice caves. On 7 June 2008, it became a part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park.[1]. One of them, Sel, was abandoned in 1946 but has since been restored by the National Museum and made accessible for visitors. A web site on the geology of Skaftafell (skaftafell.org) describes the varied rock types of the area. In the summertime, park rangers offer guided walks and various additional events are also offered, such as lectures and children's activities. This is a grand tour on Europe's largest glacier. Already at 6.30 o’clock today we set off on the 180 km long way to the ice caves of Vatnajökull in the Skaftafell National Park. Follow Ring Road nr. Due to the size of the cave we will be having a special offer on this tour for now. It has quite thin layers of ice allowing natural light to shine through – unique and magical! Your tour starts in Skaftafell before heading to the Falljökull glacier tongue. 30 m Water equivalent: 15x the mean annual precipitation on all of Iceland, or 1.7 billion typical swimming pools Distance from west to east: 143 km (Tungnaárjökull – Öxarfellsjökull) People that walk to the glacier have to keep in mind that the surrounding next to the glacier can be dangerous, because of loose rocks falling down the hillsides. Book. There are many hiking trails crossing the area. Before its inclusion into Vatnajökull National Park, it measured about 4807 km2 (2884 mi2), making it Iceland's second largest national park. It is hardly surprising that many visitors to Iceland are keen to see some ice and there can be no better way of really getting up close and personal than by exploring some of the area’s ice caves. This cave is not the biggest, but it is extremely blue and far away from the larger groups, you can watch the video below to get an idea of the size of the cave. Even so, in 2009 Skeiðará stopped flowing where it had been bridged, running instead westwards directly in front of the glacier to the river Gígjukvísl, so that the river under the long Skeiðará bridge to the east carries very little water compared to before. 13 reviews. In the Middle Ages there were a number of large farms in this area, but they were abandoned after two volcanic eruptions and the ensuing glacier runs. The various glacial tongues are flanked by jagged mountains, with the glacier-topped peak of Hvannadalshnjúkur rising highest. Compared to many south coast areas, Skaftafell has a mild, pleasant climate, often benefiting from the towering shelter of Öræfajökull. The day started off well, with an incredible sunrise and a bit of blue sky appearing through the clouds as we started the journey from Vík to Skaftafell. Skaftafell National Park was a national park, situated between Kirkjubæjarklaustur, typically referred to as Klaustur, and Höfn in the south of Iceland. If you’re coming from Reykavik, this is an all-day excursion with a 9-hour drive back and forth to Jökulsárlón. The oldest rocks in Skaftafell are about 5 million years old. Marvel at a wonderland of ice on this short and easy Glacier Walk in Vatnajökull National Park. Road Conditions & Weather near Skaftafell Skaftafell National Park is a must-visit destination in southeast Iceland. Natural Ice Caves are only found during the wintertime when the glacial rivers retract and the water freezes. Each winter the weather cools and conditions change. Soon after Iceland was settled, Skaftafell became a major farm, and area meetings (þing) were held on its land. Ice caves form naturally each year and are shaped by flowing water which enters the glacier from cracks and crevasses and over time they get bigger by erosion and melting. In some countries, you have almost the same ice caves year after year as the temperature there is constant. Official Partner Skaftafell National Park is an attraction not to be missed. It was once a major farm, later being named a national park. The surrounding by Skaftafellsjökull glacier is beautiful with steep mountains and the glacier Öræfajökull and Vatnajökull in the background. Note (Oct. 2020): The ice cave gods have been unkind to us for the winter 2020-2021. Skaftafell is a preservation area in Öræfi, southeast Iceland. Their locations, shapes and sizes constantly vary, making them a characteristic and a unique sight to behold. The rivers running from it have flowed back and forth over the lowlands, depositing the material that forms the wide sands of Skeiðarársandur. Refer to our Privacy Policy for details. The Skaftafell vicinity has experienced considerable volcanic activity, with the 1362 Öræfajökull eruption producing the most ash of any Icelandic volcano since the settlement and another, smaller Öræfajökull eruption occurring in 1727. 20 reviews. Skaftafellsjökull is an outlet glacier next to Skaftafell mountain, the glacier ice runs down a deep valley from the north part of Öræfajökull glacier the glacier is about 10 km long and about 2 km wide. Marvel at a naturally-formed, blue ice cave and learn how glaciers are formed. $129.57 per adult. Quick View. This website uses cookies to provide full user experience. When Vatnajökull National Park was founded in the summer of 2008, the former Skaftafell National Park became part of it. The DW and I did the ice cave trip from Skaftafell this past Thursday ($380 usd for 2). Hátún 6a105 ReykjavíkIceland+354 855 9080. 8.80 / 10 20 reviews. Explore breathtaking ice formations and glacier mills. Official Website of Vatnajökull National Park, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Skaftafell&oldid=967562878, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2016, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 14 July 2020, at 00:30. 50 Shades of Blue: Skaftafell glacier hike and ice cave tour Finding myself in the ice cave, surrounded by ice on all sides, with the clear ice mixed in with different shades of blue. Katla Ice Cave. Volcanic eruptions under the ice-cap can give rise to jökulhlaups (glacial floods) which swell the Skeiðará river massively. It is available at the Skaftafell national park visitor center as well as in book stores in Reykjavik. From the time of the first sagas, this ice has variously advanced or retreated, reaching farthest around 1890, since when it has retreated. In total, the trip is 2 hours and 30 minutes from Jökulsárlón and our group had about one hour in the cave. Originally known as Skaftafell National Park, it was subsequently joined together with other nearby regions to form the larger Vatnajökull National Park. Skaftafell Blue Ice Cave Adventure & Glacier Hike. Other birds seen frequently include the raven, merlin, wheatear, and snow bunting. The waterfall Svartifoss (Black Fall) flows over a step of about 20 metres. The ice cave is located at the base of Breiðamerkurjökull (glacier). The sandy wasteland between the glacier and the sea caused by jökulhlaups is called Skeiðarársandur, and is a typical outwash plain known locally as a sandur. The bedrock geology of Skaftafell has been mapped in detail and a bedrock map of the area was published in 2007. Each year, new ice caves form in different locations, providing unique opportunities for ice caving. Ice caves are also a spectacular phenomenon. The most recognizable cave, located in the favorite Skaftafell National … Make sure to follow the instructions on the warning signs before going closer to the glacier and make sure not to enter the glacier without a professional guide. This meltwater drains downwards through crevasses in the ice or into sinkholes and moulins. Note: Ice caves only form in winter, when the glacial rivers retract and the water freezes. While the campground only stays open from 1 May to 30 September, camping in other seasons is possible after obtaining permission from park personnel. In earlier times, however, the farmers had supplemented sheep farming by trips to the coast, where they hunted seals and collected eggs. The drive from Reykjavík is about 4 hours (319km) to the visitor center at Skaftafell. [citation needed]. This tour is highly dependent on conditions (including temperature, safety and accessibility). Originally known as Skaftafell National Park, it was subsequently joined together with other nearby regions to form the larger Vatnajökull National Park. Tho oldest tillite in the area is about 4 million years old. 1 and then turn on road nr. 1 did not become a complete circle around the country until 1974, when the last of the rivers barring transportation, the Skeiðará, was finally bridged. 3-Day Golden Circle and Glacier Lagoon Small-Group tour from Reykjavik. Road No. Skaftafell. Birch and willows are also starting to colonise land. Skaftafellsjokull glacier, which gives its name to Skaftafell National Park, is also a great place to begin an ice cave tour in Iceland. Admire the beauty of the natural landmarks with its blue walls and ice formations as you venture inside the cave with your guide and ice picking equipment. We met at 8:30 am on a cold (20 degree) winter morning. Skaftafell and many other farms were soon re-established, but at that time the climate was also starting to cool down, making it increasingly difficult to live from farming. US$ 112.10. Although the sole wild mammals are the Arctic fox, mink and field mouse, the local insect fauna is considered quite diverse compared to most of Iceland. After meeting your highly trained and certified glacier guide in Skaftafell, you will be fitted with the required glacier gear, like an ice axe, ice spikes, and a helmet. The ice cave season is generally November-March. The disastrous Öræfajökull eruption of 1362 wiped out the entire local community and the district has been named Öræfi, the "wasteland", ever since. Receive our latest deals. Explore Ice Caves in Style In Skaftafell National Park in southeastern Iceland, the ice cave in the Svínafellsjökull glacier absorbs almost all visible light, reflecting only brilliant blue to the human eye.Outfitter Luxury Adventures equips visitors with axes, crampons, and helmets to explore the cave, but only in winter, when temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius freeze the ice safely solid. We had happened to see some pictures of the caves on the internet (The Most Breathtaking Natural Places In The World) and were so excited about it that we really wanted to see it. Katla Ice Cave is a geological wonder … Since sheep stopped grazing at Skaftafell, the vegetation has undergone great changes and is quickly making inroads on the glacial deposits in front of Skaftafellsjökull and in Morsárdalur valley. The only cave that is easily accessible by foot in the Skaftafell region is a small little cave that received the fitting name “The Blueberry”. Head out on a thrilling ice adventure to the Skaftafell Ice Cave from Hofn. The landscape is very similar to some of the Alps, but it has been formed over thousands of years by different influences of fire (volcanic eruptions of Öræfajökull) and water (the glaciers Skeiðarájökull and Skaftafellsjökull), the rivers Skeiðará, Morsá und Skaftafellsá. $950.88 per adult. The park offers plenty of activities, such as hiking, glacier hiking, exploring ice caves, or admiring waterfalls, therefore it is an essential stop on your itinerary. 998. Also in winter the glacier lagoon can be covered with ice and snow so it can be hard to see if you are walking on ground or a frozen lake. This particular cave is located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland. Traverse Europe’s largest glacier, and Iceland’s highest mountain range, to reach the entrance of the ice cave. They look amazingly beautiful from the inside. The one that has opened this year is larger than in previous years, and such an intensely vivid blue that it defies the imagination. The temperature must be well below the freezing point for an ice cave to be considered safe to visit. Display boards at the Centre describe the intertwined history of people and nature at Skaftafell. 3 Day Adventure Tour:Snorkeling, Glacier hike, … The most famous lagoon in Iceland is Jökulsárlón. Skaftafell has emerged as one of the most popular locations for glacier tourism with most tours run on the nearby Svínafellsjökull (pre-2018) and Falljökull (post-2018). At the end of some glacier tongues is a lagoon because the icebergs break away from the glaciers and melt into a lagoon. Skaftafell Ice Cave Tour & Glacier Hike. In the heart of the Vatnajökull National Park in south-east Iceland, the Skaftafell Crystal Cave plunges us into a fantastic and almost unreal atmosphere. Season: All-year. Around the Jokulsarlon area, many ice caves exist running beneath the Vatnajokull glacier which is Europe’s largest glacier. As of mid-2018, four large and several smaller organisations were running tours on the glaciers. The ice caves, only accessible in winter, open up for exploration when the meltwater underneath the glacier freezes over and leaves behind these ice tunnels. On this approximately 5 hour glacier tour, we go far away from the crowds until we end up at the stunningly blue ice cave/tunnel known as the Blue Fox Cave. The last large jökulhlaup occurred in 1996. The scenery around Skaftafell is full of stark contrasts. From Vatnajokull around 30 outlet glaciers flow from the ice cap. We visit a naturally formed ice cave during this tour. New unique caves are formed in different locations each year. Photo from Skaftafell Blue Ice Cave Adventure & Glacier Hike Iceland both has ice caves, such as the lava cave Lofthellir that's filled year-round with magnificent ice sculptures and accessible during the summertime (from May to October), and natural glacier caves that can … Your guide will choose the safest ice cave at the time of your visit. Experience ice caving and glacier hiking at Vatnajokull glacier, departing from Skaftafell. Skaftafell is renowned in Iceland for its agreeable climate and the sunny days in summer, uncommon in the south of Iceland. The frequent Grímsvötn eruptions triggered jökulhlaups which flooded over hayfields, covering them with ash and sand. Down in the Skaftafell woods, the redwing, redpoll, and wren are common, while the snipe, ptarmigan, golden plover, and meadow pipit, appear more frequently higher up the slopes. Plan your Skaftafell National Park trip with our travel g Skaftafell strata display well the frequent shifts between glacial and inter-glacial conditions. Skaftafellsjökull is an outlet glacier next to Skaftafell mountain, the glacier ice runs down a deep valley from the north part of Öræfajökull glacier the glacier is about 10 km long and about 2 km wide. Quick View. Formed from centuries-old ice from the slopes of Öræfajökull that has transformed into highly pressurized glacier ice containing hardly any air bubbles, the ice caves are almost transparent, except that it is filtered by the blue fraction of light visibl to the naked eye. It was founded on September 15, 1967, and enlarged twice afterwards. The access to the glacier has been getting worse for the past years because of the melting of the glacier. Outlet glaciers are channels of ice that flow out from the ice cap but are constrained on the sides with exposed bedrock. [citation needed] The park has also an information centre and a campground. Its name comes from the black basalt columns behind it. Skaftafell offers diverse and stunning terrain, including: glaciers, ice caves, peaks, valleys, lakes and more. Stranded ships provided excellent material for making various items, and some of the Skaftafell farmers became well known for their crafting talents. Open all year, the Skaftafell Visitor Centre serves the Southern Territory of Vatnajökull National Park and provides information on the park and its environs, trails, nature and history, as well as on other recreation and services. Skaftafell (Icelandic: [ˈskaftaˌfɛtl] (listen)) is a preservation area in Öræfi, southeast Iceland. Location: Kötlujökull Glacier. The round-trip is about 3,7 km long and takes about 1-1,5 hours, fairly easy. More info. 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