Iceland National Parks


About Iceland National Parks National Parks

Iceland’s national parks showcase the country’s stunning natural beauty, unique geology, and rich biodiversity. With three national parks covering diverse landscapes, from volcanic terrain to glacial valleys and coastal cliffs, Iceland offers visitors unparalleled opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Each national park is characterized by its distinctive features, including dramatic waterfalls, geothermal areas, and rugged coastlines. From the iconic Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its historical significance and geological wonders, to the vast Vatnajökull National Park, which encompasses Europe’s largest glacier and numerous volcanic formations, Iceland’s national parks are a testament to the country’s dynamic natural heritage.

Visitors can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, glacier tours, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting, while immersing themselves in Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

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Iceland National Parks's National Parks

Vatnajokull National Park Selfoss Waterfall with sunset

Vatnajokull National Park

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1. How many national parks are there in Iceland?

There are three national parks in Iceland. They are:

  1. Vatnajökull National Park
  2. Þingvellir National Park
  3. Snæfellsjökull National Park

2. What is the largest national park in Iceland?

The largest national park in Iceland is Vatnajökull National Park (Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður). It covers a vast area of approximately 14,141 square kilometers (about 5,460 square miles). Vatnajökull National Park is located in the southeastern part of Iceland and is named after Vatnajökull,

Europe’s largest glacier, which dominates much of the park’s landscape. The park encompasses diverse natural features, including glaciers, ice caps, volcanoes, lava fields, rivers, and waterfalls. It also includes several sub-glacial volcanoes and the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

Vatnajökull National Park was established in 2008 by merging several existing protected areas, and it is recognized for its outstanding natural beauty, geological significance, and ecological importance.

3. What is the smallest national park in Iceland?

The smallest national park in Iceland is Snæfellsjökull National Park (Snæfellsjökulsþjóðgarður). It covers an area of approximately 170 square kilometers (about 65 square miles). Snæfellsjökull National Park is located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland and is named after Snæfellsjökull, a glacier-capped stratovolcano that is the park’s most prominent feature.

The park encompasses diverse landscapes, including volcanic peaks, lava fields, coastal cliffs, and sandy beaches. It is renowned for its scenic beauty, rich geological formations, and cultural significance, as it is believed to be one of Earth’s spiritual centers in Icelandic folklore and literature.

Snæfellsjökull National Park offers visitors opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and exploring its unique geological features, including lava tubes and sea caves.

4. What was the first national park in Iceland?

The first national park established in Iceland was Þingvellir National Park (Þingvellir þjóðgarður). It was founded in 1930, making it the oldest national park in Iceland. Located in southwestern Iceland, Þingvellir National Park is renowned for its historical, cultural, and geological significance.

It encompasses an area of approximately 237 square kilometers (about 91 square miles) and is known for its dramatic rift valley, formed by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Additionally, Þingvellir is the site of Iceland’s first Parliament, the Alþingi, established in AD 930, making it one of the world’s oldest parliaments.

The park’s unique geological features and historical importance led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Þingvellir National Park attracts visitors with its stunning landscapes, hiking trails, and cultural heritage sites.