Svartifoss is one of the most unique waterfalls we’ve ever seen. Located in Skatafell, part of Vatnajökull National park, it stands at 20 metres tall, elegantly cascading over black basalt columns. Svartifoss literally stands for ‘black waterfall’ and is worth the hike when visiting Iceland’s south coast.
We left our hotel just before sunrise and headed directly to the carpark where the hike begins. The sunrise was stunning as we started walking up the mountain along the very slippery, icy path!
The hike is approximately 5.5km and isn’t too strenuous. It’s enough to raise your heatrate and maybe break a bit of a sweat, but it definitely is do-able! We recommend wearing boots or good walking shoes as the path is quite muddy and icy in certain places. It’s a very scenic walk as you cross multiple streams, past other waterfalls and admire the stunning surrounding landscape.
It wasn’t long before we had a glimpse of the magnificent Svartifoss in the distance, complete with snowy mountains in the distance.
There’s a viewing platform near the base of the falls which gives you an incredible view of the waterfall.
The dramatic shape of the basalt columns inspired Iceland’s state architect, Guðjón Samúelsson in his design of Hallgrímskirkja church in Reyjkavik.
It’s definitely magical and it was even more special to have it all to ourselves. I think probably because no one else was silly enough to tackle it on a freezing morning in the middle of winter!
Svartifoss is spectacular! My favourite photo from our visit was this panorama which I took on my iPhone. I feel it really captures just how impressive the waterfall and surrounding basalt columns are.
It was time to then head back down to our trusty SADCars Suzuki! Our car was honestly the best car ever (so much so that my mum upgraded her car when we got home to THE EXACT SAME CAR)!
The scenery along the drive was stunning as we drove past lakes, rivers, glaciers and snow capped mountains. The day was clear and crisp, and the temperature never rose over -1°C, making the roads quite icy at times!
Our drive towards Reyjkavik continued across snow covered mountains. It was a big day of driving for Dan all the way from Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon to Reyjkavik and he definitely deserved the beers we had on arrival!
Svartifoss is a beautiful waterfall, and if you’re lucky like us – you may have it all to yourself! A lot of the other waterfalls in Iceland are really accesible, so much so that you can see them from the Ring Road! While the hike to Svartifoss requires a bit more effort and energy, the views are worth every step!