Information about Katla Geopark

The landscape of Skaftafell within the Katla Global Geopark in South Iceland.

Katla Global Geopark is a project of UNESCO and the European Geoparks Network, with the aims of promoting sustainable development and protecting the natural environment within a designated space surrounding one of Iceland’s most active and known volcanoes, Katla. 

Explore this area while on a self drive tour in Iceland.

Katla Global Geopark is the first Geopark designated in Iceland. Its borders lie between the rivers Eystri Rangá and Núpsvötn in the south, and stratovolcano Bárðabunga underneath Vatnajökull glacier in the north. Within the park, you’ll find volcanoes, glaciers, black beaches, lava fields and waterfalls. With a strong emphasis on sustainable nature tourism, the park is set to introduce visitors to environmental values and local culture.



Geology and Nature

The nature of Katla Global Geopark is singular on a worldwide scale, due to glacial outbursts having created vast black sand plains, while the lowlands are cut through by glacier rivers. Underneath ice-capped mountains rest powerful volcanoes, including the world's largest volcanic canyon Eldgjá and the crater row Lakagígar, both of which have created the lava fields and pseudocraters that dot the area. 

Extraordinarily varied rock formations are also found everywhere within the park, as well as numerous waterfalls that have their sources in the park’s glaciers and glacial rivers. These include the famous South Coast falls of Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi. Besides from Katla volcano, Iceland’s most notorious volcanic ice cap Eyjafjallajökull―that last erupted in 2010 with massive effects on European air traffic―is also within the park.

History and Culture

The Geopark is characterised by a long history of active volcanism and glacial outbursts. Since the Settlement of Iceland, this interplay has greatly affected human life and cultivation in the area. The park includes many old buildings, historic farmsteads and ancient ruins, such as the turf chapel at Núpstaður and fishing village Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Services near Katla Geopark

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Katla Geopark

Þakgil

Photo from: Þakgil and Remundargil Canyons - Beautiful Hidden Gems in South-Iceland. Þakgil ('Roof Canyon') is a hidden canyon, found 20 km n...

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Hjörleifshöfði

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by, Axel Krisinsson.  Hjörleifshöfði is a 221 m (725 ft) high mountain in South Iceland, located on the Mý...

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Reynisfjall

Reynisfjall is a tuff mountain on the South Coast of Iceland. It is five kilometres (three miles) long, 800 metres (2625 ft) wide and 340 metres (1115...

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Vík í Mýrdal

Vík í Mýdral, or just Vík, is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located 186 kilometres (110 miles) from the capital Reykjavík. Of...

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South Coast

The South Coast of Iceland is one of the most popular parts of the country for travellers. South Iceland is lined with countless natural wonders incl...

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Myrdalssandur

Mýrdalssandur is an outwash plain located between the rivers of Kúðafljót, in the east, and Múlakvísl, in the west, both of which carry water down fro...

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Reynisdrangar

Reynisdrangar are impressive rock formations situated near the shore of Reynisfjara beach by the coastal village Vík on the South Coast of Iceland....

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Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal. Visits t...

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Dyrhólaey

The Dyrhólaey Peninsula is a 120-metre promenade famed for its staggering views of Iceland’s South Coast, as well as its historic lighthouse and wea...

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Katla

Katla is one of Iceland’s most explosive volcanoes, located underneath Iceland’s fourth largest ice cap, Mýrdalsjökull. Since settlement, it has eru...

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Mýrdalsjökull

Mýrdalsjökull is a glacier in the south of the Icelandic highlands. It is the country's fourth largest ice cap, covering nearly 600 square kilom...

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Iceland's Coasts

Almost everywhere where there is old lava by the Icelandic shores, there are also spectacular waves, particularly in the southwest parts of the coun...

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DC3 Plane Wreck

The DC Plane Wreck is a famous site located in South Iceland, its rusting shell laying on haunting black sands. The wreckage is a particularly belov...

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Sólheimasandur

Sólheimasandur is a vast area of sand and gravel along the South Coast of Iceland, between the cliffs of the interior and the modern shoreline. It...

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Sólheimajökull

Sólheimajökull is an outlet glacier of the mighty icecap of Mýrdalsjökull on the South Coast of Iceland. It is one of the most easily accessible gla...

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Kvernufoss

Photo by Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir. Kvernufoss is a waterfall with a drop of 30 metres (98 feet) in South Iceland. Considered a hidden gem, it rests...

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Skogar Museum - Skógarsafn

Skógar Museum is a cultural heritage museum in south Iceland. Photo from the Skógar Museum Skógar Museum and Skógafoss Located near one of the...

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Skógar

Skógar, in South Iceland, is a tiny village and popular stop for travellers. It has a population of about 20 people, features a regional museum and...

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Skógafoss

Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters (82 feet) and a drop of 60 meters (197 fee...

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Magni

Magni is one of the newest craters in Iceland, alongside its neighbour Móði. Explore this area while on a self drive tour in Iceland. Formation of...

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