Are you an outdoor enthusiast? If so, this is the article for you! Lay back and immerse yourself in the infinite beauty of Iceland’s national parks. In the country of fire and ice majestic glaciers meet rugged volcanoes and cascading waterfalls. One of the best ways to experience Iceland’s natural beauty is to visit its national parks. Here are some of the must-see national parks in Iceland that travelers should include in their itinerary.
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Iceland, covering an area of 12,000 square kilometers. The park is home to the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. It is also more than 1,000 years old. The glacier is a popular destination for ice caving and glacier hiking.
As the ice melts each year, new ice caves are created for visitors to explore on an ice cave tour. At the beginning of each winter season, cave explorers and ice climbers set out to discover incredible new frozen caves hidden in the remotest corners of Vatnajökull. The natural ice caves are usually only accessible between November and the end of March. However, some operators offer tours as early as mid-October.
The park also features volcanic landscapes, geothermal hot springs and the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón, a stunning turquoise lake filled with icebergs. In addition, you can visit Iceland’s highest peak with 2109 meters – the Hvannadalshnúkur.
Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park is located on the edge of the North Atlantic and Eurasian tectonic plates, just 40 kilometers away from Reykjavik. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the Almannagjá Rift, a huge crack in the earth’s crust. The park is also the site of Iceland’s first parliament in 930 AD, making it an important historical site. Visitors can explore the park’s rugged lava fields, deep canyons and crystal clear springs.
For Game of Thrones fans: The national park was a filming location for the popular series. Thingvellir appears in the series as the narrow path leading to the Eyrie and again as the place where Arya and Sandor Clegane travel. It appears for the third time when Brienne and the Hound have a bloody battle in Season 4.
Snæfellsjökull National Park
Located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in western Iceland, Snæfellsjökull National Park is a protected area. The park is home to the Snæfellsjökull glacier, made famous by Jules Verne’s novel „Journey to the Center of the Earth“. The park also has a rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs and black sand beaches. Visitors can hike to the top of the Snæfellsjökull glacier for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Snæfellsnes National Park
Known for its diverse landscape of volcanic craters, lava fields and snow-capped peaks, Snæfellsnes National Park is located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The park is also home to black sand beaches, seabird colonies and fishing villages. Visitors can hike to the top of the park’s mountains for breathtaking views.
Vatnajökull Glacier National Park
Vatnajökull Glacier National Park is located in southeastern Iceland and is home to some of the country’s most impressive glaciers. The park covers an area of 8,100 square kilometers and includes the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. Visitors can explore the park’s glaciers by glacier hiking, ice caving or snowmobiling.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is located in the northwest of Iceland and is one of the most remote and unspoiled areas in the country. The reserve is home to rugged mountains, deep fjords and unspoiled wilderness. Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the reserve’s coastline or hike through the park’s pristine wilderness.
In summary, national parks in Iceland offer visitors a chance to experience the country’s breathtaking natural beauty. From the majestic glaciers of Vatnajökull National Park to the historic sites of Þingvellir National Park, there is something for every traveler to explore. By adding these must-see national parks to their itinerary, visitors can experience Iceland’s unique landscape of fire and ice. Whether it’s hiking through canyons or admiring the power of waterfalls, Iceland’s national parks are a must for anyone looking to experience the country’s natural wonders.
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