Svartifoss waterfall is one of the most beautiful and unique waterfalls in Iceland. The waterfall 12 meters high and is located in Skaftafell, which belongs to Vatnajokull National Park and is one of the most popular sights in the park. Svartifoss is a very unique waterfall with black columnar basalt formations that frame the waterfall beautifully. The name “Svartifoss” means “Black Waterfall” and the name comes from the dark lava columns that surround the waterfall. You might have seen this columnar jointing formations throughout Iceland, for example in a small cave on the beach of Reynisfjara black sand beach. These basalt columns have also provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík.
Sjonarnipa viewing point
Sjonarnipa is a viewing point in Skaftafell National Park. Ones you reach Svartifoss waterfall you can choose to hike back down or keep on going to Sjonarnipa viewing point. I would definitely recommend that you keep on going to Sjonarnipa, it will be worth it! Ones you get there you will get breath taking views over the glacier, mountains and surrounding black sand beaches. You won‘t regret the hike when you see the views.
Most people only hike to Svartifoss waterfall and back down. It think the views from Sjonarnipa are even better than the waterfall and it will give you some amazing photo opportunities as well.
You can get information on how to get to Svartifoss waterfall at the Visitor center in Skaftafell. The Visitor center is open all year round.
You will have to take around 30-40 minute hike to get up to Svartifoss waterfall. The hike is not too hard and I think the hike makes the waterfall just more special because you can’t see it from the main road. You have to put in the work before you get the beautiful views of the waterfall.
The trail to Svartifoss starts next to Skaftafell Visitor Center and is well indicated. The first 250 meters go through the campground but the trail then turns right and uphill. Follow the signs until you arrive at a viewpoint above the waterfall. Continue down into the ravine, across the footbridge, and climb up the basalt column steps on the other side of the canyon. We definitely recommend that you continue on this trail to the viewpoint at Sjonarnipa. Follow that trail until you arrive at Sjónarnípa. Then continue back towards the visitor center via Austurbrekkur.
The hike to Svartifoss waterfall and Sjónarnípa viewing point takes about 2-2,5 hours.
How To Get To Svartifoss waterfall & Skaftafell National Park?
Ones you are driving on Road 1 (Þjóðvegur) from Reykjavik to Skaftafell National Park you will turn left on to road 998, called “Skaftafellsvegur”. You will drive on that road for about 3 minutes or 1,8 km until you reach Skaftafell National Park. You will find a large parking lot where you can park your car.
GPS of Skaftafell National Park: N64° 0′ 59.202″ W16° 58′ 0.734″
Map of Skaftafell National Park and the trails for Svartifoss waterfall
Things To Do Close By
- Glacier Hike in Skaftafell
- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
- Skaftafell Campsite
- Crystal Ice Caves
- Glacier Hike on Vatnajokull – the largest glacier in Europe
- Glacier Kayaking
- Glacier Hiking & Ice Climbing
Not renting a car?
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