Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Svratifoss: The Gothic Waterfall [Part 9]

Svartifoss (Black Falls) is a waterfall in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park, and is one of the most popular sights in the park. It is surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name. There are also similar formations throughout Iceland, including a small cave on the beach of Reynisdrangar, which we visited later in the day. After our stay at the glacier lake, where moody skies greeted us, upon arrival at the parking for the Vatnajökull National Park the sun came out again. We had a somewhat steep hike up the mountains to get tho this Gothic jewel.

This is the location of the waterfall visited in this post:

The hike up was a bit hard, only because the sun came out and our heavy clothes made us too warm. Eventually we took some layers off, but still this was the only day in Iceland were we actually sweat. Wherever I turned my eyes I could see a sight worth making a painting of. From little wooden  bridges to lonely streams piercing their ways through the golden landscapes.

The hike to Svartifoss, starting from the Visitor Centre in Skaftafell, is about 1.5 kilometres or 45 minutes (one way). On the way to Svartifoss you come across three other waterfalls; Þjofafoss (Thieves' Fall), Hundafoss (Dogs' Fall) and Magnusarfoss (the Falls of Magnus). Once you get to Svartifoss there is a small bridge close to the waterfall that allows you to get closer. There trail leads slightly uphill, so although I would say that it is fairly easy overall, it does require a little bit of effort for those who are out of shape and/or not used to hiking.

The sights would change from mountain tops, to almost barren valleys. The Svratifoss waterfall could be seen in the distance. The river flowing underneath, creating more waterfalls on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

The base of this waterfall is noteworthy for its sharp rocks. New hexagonal column sections break off faster than the falling water wears down the edges. These basalt columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík, and also the National Theatre.

We eventually made our hike down to the valley and the Visitor's Center. We had three more sights all of which I will show you in the next post. Next up was another black beach, then two more waterfalls, and you could walk behind one of them. This was an eventful day!

End of Part Nine
To be continued...


  1. What incredible scenery and great photos! Looks like quite an adventure

    1. Yes, it really was an adventure. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Wonderful pictures. The waterfall looks awesome.

  3. Another amazing waterfall. I especially love your slow-shutter-speed shot of the falls. The trail looks very well maintained, even though it's steep. Those steps down to the bottom of the falls might have been a deterrent to me, after the long hike up the mountain; but I'm awfully glad that the steps didn't deter you!

  4. this waterfall is amazing!!!! as are all those steps and the path to get there. I could never so that, so thanks for the photos.

  5. What an incredible Falls! Just beautiful! The rock face is so fascinating. Lovely photos of your trip!

  6. That's fabulous!!! I just learnt about the deadly sneaker waves from a friend...Iceland is an AMAZING place.

  7. Worth the hike!! Beautiful! :)

  8. This has been a wonderful series...

  9. Love that waterfall! Great photos of the surrounding landscape.

  10. Wundervoll...danke dass du uns auf diesen Ausflug auch wieder so toll bebildert mitgenommen hast.

    Herzliche Grüsse


  11. Just Awesome. Loved the waterfall. Amazing pics.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  12. What gorgeous scenery!! That waterfall alone is worth the climb.



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