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Traverse the national park for a spectacular view of a canyon, before climbing to snowy peaks and getting soaked in the spray of waterfalls.

The small town of Skinnastadur is an ideal base to explore a picturesque national park famous for its waterfalls. See the large glacier from which stem rivers decorated by glorious chutes.

Explore the snowy peaks of Vatnajokull National Park and the glacier after which it is named. Discover the various rivers and volcanic terrain spread around the park. Hike to the snowy Hvannadalshnúkur peak of the Öraefajökull Mountain. The national park is among the largest in Europe, covering 14 percent of Iceland.

Park rangers give daily guided walks at the scenic canyon of Ásbyrgi. Stroll along the Eyjan rock formation that rises above the canopy of vegetation and offers excellent views of the trees below. Trek through the extensive woodland of willow and birch. Many types of waterfowl live around Botnstjorn Lake.

Among the highlights of the region are the mesmerizing waterfalls along the rivers that carve up the landscape. Marvel at the horseshoe shape of the vast Godafoss, known as the “Waterfall of the Gods.” Learn about the religious history at this site, depicted in a window display at the Akureyri Church.

Note the the extraordinary power of Dettifoss, which lies on the Jokulsa River. Hear the roar of the forceful chute flowing over the rocky landscape. Hike along the scenic paths along the river to discover other falls, such as Selfoss. The water flows from the melted ice of the national park’s glacier.

Dine at one of the restaurants in the area specializing in lamb and root vegetables. Saltfiskur and Harðfiskur fish dishes are also popular. Order the mondlukaka almond cake for dessert.

The varying elevations in the national park cause a range of weather throughout the area. It is generally mild in summer with cold winters, when snow caps the peaks.

The town is 334 miles (538 kilometers) east of Reykjavik, a journey that should take 6 or 7 hours by car. The intriguing geological terrain and lava fields surrounding Mývatn are about 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the south.

Enjoy meditative walks on the countless trails past ice caps and waterfalls around Skinnastadur.


Guide to Exploring Skinnastadur


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