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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell National Park


Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell
Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell

Svartifoss (The Black Falls) in the Skaftafell National Park is surrounded by black, hexagonal basalt columns. It falls 20 m into a beautiful ravine that is accessible along a trail starting at the Visitor's Centre. You can follow the trail to the bottom of the ravine, thus enjoying the fall and the walls up close. In the 20th century, the walls surrounding Svartifoss were an inspiration to various Icelandic architects. The impression of their extraordinary formations is quite apparent in Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, as well as in the ceiling of the Icelandic National Theatre. Svartifoss is also where the world-renowned sculptor Richard Serra drew his inspiration for his sculpture Milestones, located on Viðey Island, offshore from Reykjavik.


Svartifoss waterfall  is in the South Region on the Map of Iceland
Svartifoss waterfall is in the South Region on the Map of Iceland

The base of the ravine is quite remarkable. Apart from the small lake created by Svartifoss, it is strewn with sharp rocks that have broken away from the hexagonal columns, as new column sections break faster than the water wears down the edges.

The hike from the Visitor's Centre, or the Skaftafell camping site, only takes 30 minutes. But once by the fall, visitors tend to linger for quite some time, simply to admire nature's unique sense of beauty and harmony.


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