J Jul 07, 2008
Skaftafell National Park is situated between Kirkjubæjarklaustur, typically referred to as Klaustur, and Höfn in the south of Iceland.
This was one of the most beautiful and dramatic places we found in Iceland and worth while visiting.
It was founded on September 15, 1967, and enlarged twice afterwards. Today the park measures about 4.807 km2 (2884 mi²), making it Iceland's second largest national park. There you can find for example the valley Morsárdalur, the mountain Kristínartindar and the glacier Skaftafellsjökull (a spur of the Vatnajökull ice cap).
The landscape is very similar to some of the Alps, but it has been formed in 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.
Volcanic eruptions under the ice-cap can give rise to glacier runs (Icelandic:jökulhlaup) which swell the Skeiðará river massively. The sandy wasteland between the glacier and the sea caused by jökulhlaups is called the Sandur. The last jökulhlaup occurred in 1996.
Skaftafell is renowned in Iceland for its agreeable climate and the sunny days in summer, uncommon in the south of Iceland. There is a natural birch wood, Bæjarstaðarskógur, as well as many species of birds and arctic foxes.
The waterfall Svartifoss (Black Fall) flows over a step of about 12m. Its name comes from the black basalt columns behind it.
The park has an information centre just off the main road and a campground which we used. The park was busy but the amenities good with toilets showers and a well equipped information centre.
The view from the campsite up the Vatnajökull glacier has to be seen to be believed!
Plenty of local attractions too ... go there!!!
 See also
Part of the Nordic Expedition 2008 - Part 2 - Iceland travel blog
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