Information about Vatnajökull

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe covering 8% of the island of Iceland. Vatnajökull National Park - which encompasses the earlier national parks of Skaftafell and Jökulsárgljúfur - is the largest protected area in Europe and believed by many to be the most beautiful place on earth.

In this area you'll find some of the most stunning and diverse sights in Iceland. Among those are Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, its most active volcano, Grímsvötn, beautiful waterfalls such as Svartifoss by Skaftafell and Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, stunning canyons such as Jökulsargljúfur and Ásbyrgi, and the breathtaking Jökulsárlon, an ice-riddled glacier lagoon that is one of the most beautiful attractions in Iceland.

Vatnajokull glacier

The glacier itself covers a surface area of about 100 km2. The thickness of the ice is generally around 400-600 meters, at its thickest around 950 meters. Under the glacier are valleys, mountains and plateuas as well as active volcanoes, most notably Grimsvotn and Bardarbunga, both the largest and most active of these. Then there are Esjufjoll, a glorious volcanic mountain island, surrounded by the glacier on all sides.

Vatnajokull has over 30 outlets, some of the major ones being Dyngjujokull and Bruarjokull to the north and Breidamerkurjokull, Oraefajokull, Skeidararjokull and Sidujokull towards the south. On the west side from the north are smaller glaciers Eyjabakkajokull, Hofsjokull, Flaajokull Heinabergsjokull and Skalafellsjokull.

The highest peak of Iceland then lies to the south, Hvannadalshnjukur in the Oraefajokull outlet, reaching 2109 m, according to latest measurements.

Many rivers have their sources at Vatnajokull, including some of the greatest glacier rivers in the country. To the North are Jokulsa a Fjollum and Skjalfandafljot, to the Northeast are Jokulsa a Bru, and Jokulsa i Fljotsdal and to the south are Jokulsa i Loni, Hornafjardarfljot, Jokulsa a Breidamerkursandi, Skeidara, Nupsvotn, Hverfisfljot and Skafta. 

Vatnajokull National Park

The area around the glacier is highly varied. The highland plateu to the north is divided by glacier rivers which see massive floods in the summer. This is a highly volcanic region, where the volcanoes Askja, Herdubreid, Kverkfjoll and Snaefell tower over the scene. In this area is also the Jokulsargljufur preservation area with its magnificent canyon and the mighty glacier ricer Jokulsa a Fjollum where you'll find stunning waterfalls such as Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall. Further north are the Hljodaklettar echoing caves and the horse shoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon, among other incredible sights.

Broad wetlands lie near the glacier and in the vicinity of Snaefell, further east. Particularly notable is the Eyjabakkar oasis, one of the largest nesting places for pink feeted geese in the world and located north of the Eyjabakkajokull outlet. To the east is also the stunning Jokulsarlon.

South of Vatnajokull, majestic mountain ridges characterise the scene, with outlet glaciers lying between them and reaching onto the lowlands. The Skaftafell preservation area is located there, with its rich flora and home to the beautiful waterfalls Hundafoss and Skogafoss, the latter famed for its with its magnificent columnar basalt formations.

To the south lies the vast sand desert Skeidararsandur, reaching all the way to the sea. The glacier river Skeidara runs through it and the sand was indeed created by great glacier bursts from Skeidara, with its origins in volcanic activity at Grimsvotn.

To the west of Vatnajokull there is strong volcanic activity as well. Some of the world's greatest fissure and lava eruptions happened there, at the Eldgja volcanic chasm and the Lakagigar craters in the 18th century. Vonarskard pass, to the northwest is also worth checking out, a highly colourful geothermal area that connects the North and South of Iceland.

In popular culture

Fans of the James Bond films might recognize the glacier from A View to a Kill and the  stunning Jokulsarlon from Die Another Day, though the events of the former were supposed to take place in Siberia.

Scenes by the Wall in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones were also shot by Vatnajokull and further scenes were shot at lake Myvatn, another Iceland's major attractions.

Services near Vatnajökull

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Vatnajökull

Grímsvötn

  Grimsvotn refers to subglacial lakes and a volcano of the same name that lie in the western part of Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier,...

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Jökulsá á Fjöllum

Jokulsa a Fjollum is a glacier river at the east of the vast Odadahraun lava field in the north-east of Iceland. It is Iceland's second largest ri...

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Breiðamerkurjökull

Breiðamerkurjökull is the glacial tongue that extends from southern Vatnajökull and into the glacier lagoon Jökulsárló...

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Vestragil

Vestragil is a gully at Skaftafell in Vatnajokull National Park and a popular stop for hikers. Here you get the chance to soak weary feet in a hot sp...

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Bárðarbunga

The stratovolcano Bardarbunga is Iceland’s second-highest mountain and lies under the icecap of Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier. Ba...

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Hafrafell

Hafrafell is a small mountain south of Mosfellsbaer town, around 12 km from Reykjavik.  This mountain offers a great view from the top, as you&#...

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Fjallsjökull

Fjallsjokull is an outlet glacier of Oraefajokull and is located in Vatnajokull National Park, not far from Skaftafell. At this glacier you'll b...

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Öræfajökull

  Oraefajokull is a glacier volcano in South-East Iceland. On its north-western side is Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnjukur (2109 m). ...

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Hvannadalshnúkur

Hvannadalshnúkur or Hvannadalshnjúkur is the highest peak of Öræfajökull volcanic glacier in Vatnajökull National P...

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Skaftafell

Skaftafell is a nature preserve in Oraefasveit. It used to be a national park of its own but joined the larger Vatnajokull National Park in 2008. Ska...

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Skeiðarársandur

  Skeidararsandur is a vast sand plain, formed from alluvial deposits. It covers 1300 km², making it the largest sand in the world. There...

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Falljökull

  Falljokull ('Falling Glacier') is an outlet glacier from the Vatnajokull icecap.  Hiking on Falljokull means experiencing a dram...

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Virkisjökull

  Virkisjokull is a glacier situated near Skaftafell in Southeast Iceland. Virkisjokull is an outlet of Vatnajokull glacier and thus a part of...

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Þórbergssetur

Thorbergssetur, located in the remote region of Sudursveit in South-East Iceland, is a culture center and heritage museum dedicated to the history of ...

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Jökulsárlón

Jokulsarlon is a glacier lagoon in the south of Vatnajokull national park that is easily reached by the Ring Road. Covered in thick glacial ice unti...

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Hnappavellir

Hnappavellir is Iceland's most popular climbing area, as well as its largest. These are vertical cliffs situated near Skaftafell in Vatnajok...

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Lomagnupur

Mt. Lómagnúpur is, very arguably, one of Iceland’s most recognisable mountains, with its proud and dramatic cliff faces, flat, gar...

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Askja

  Askja volcano is a vast caldera in a remote part of the easterly central highlands of Iceland, located in the Dyngjufjoll mountains. These m...

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Nýidalur/Jökuldalur

Nyidalur (a.k.a. Jokuldalur) is a valley in the Icelandic highlands, south of the glacier Tungnafellsjokull and north of Hofsjokull glacier. It is a f...

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Dyngjufjöll

Dyngjufjoll is a volcanic mountain range in the lava field Odadahraun in the Icelandic highlands. The Askja caldera is situated in this mountain rang...

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Tours near Vatnajökull

Small Group Vatnajokull Glacier Hike & Glacier Lagoon Tour From Reykjavik

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Ice Climbing Adventure on Vatnajokull Glacier in a Small Group

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Glacier Hiking Tour on Falljokull

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Day Tour to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

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Blue Ice Experience in Skaftafell | Easy Difficulty

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Glacier Walk on Vatnajökull | Away from the Crowds | Medium Difficulty

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Around Iceland Photo Tour

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8 Day Escorted Iceland Hiking Tour | English Guidance

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8 Day Escorted Iceland Hiking Tour | German Guidance

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5 Day Winter Package | The Golden Circle, Ice Cave, Northern Lights & The Blue Lagoon - Winter Offer

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Ultimate 10 Day Adventure | Highlands in Winter & the Ice Cave - Winter Offer

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7 Day Winter Vacation|A Northern Lights & Ice Cave Treat - Winter Offer

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限时促销:十一黄金周 | 8天7夜 | 冰岛环岛中文导游精品团

9月下旬至10月初,冰岛进入金黄的秋季,日照逐渐变短,有了看极光的可能的同时,依然能环岛游览全部主要景区。这个8天7夜的冰岛环岛旅行团,最适合不想开车、英文交流能力有限、又想饱览冰岛名胜的朋友。......

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2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon with Blue Ice Cave & South Coast Waterfalls

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