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Sjónarsker

Quick Facts

Time Spent2 hours 25 minutes
Best Time to Visit?Midday
Distance3.4 Miles (Roundtrip)
Type of TrailLoop
Bathroom Available?Yes
Cost for Parking$9 / 1,000 ISK
Worth It?Must Go
Hiking DifficultyBeginner to Moderate
Seasonal?Year-Round

 Note: Always check trail status and weather conditions before visiting

Attraction Tips

Quick 15 minute detour off the trial

Sjónarsker offers 360 degree views and is found within Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park) and is a short walk from Svartifoss Waterfall.

Pictures don't do it justice

This is one of the best quick hiking detours we’ve ever taken and the sights from this viewing area are incredible. The pictures featured on this page are simply incapable of providing the full views that we were able to experience in person.

How to Get There & Parking

Parking: $9 / 1,000 ISK

The parking area is part of Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park). Before you leave your car, make sure to remember / write down your license plate number. When you pay inside the visitors center, you’ll need to put in the license plate number and you can pay with a credit card.

Attraction Details

Sjónarsker is an attraction that is found within Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park). To find more information and featured images related to this attraction, please visit the page linked above!

When you arrive, there is a parking lot with plenty of room to park, but not as big as other popular attractions we visited. The parking lot is about a 5 minute walk from the visitors center, which provides information about Skaftafell’s history and also has a well-maintained bathroom area. Make sure to enter the visitor area to pay for parking! Remember to write down or take a picture of your license plate number, since that is needed to identify your car and pay for parking.

As you leave the visitors center, walk to the right and follow the sidewalk to the trailhead – there are plenty of signs and it’s easy to find. About 15 minutes into the hike, you’ll spot your first waterfall that juts out through a cliff and cascades onto the rocks below. As you continue walking on the trail, there are signs that you follow up to the right to take you to the main attraction, Svartifoss Waterfall, which you will see about 40 minutes into the hike. You’ll know when you’re just about there when you reach a bridge and, instead of walking across initially, there is path up to the right that you’ll take to reach this majestic waterfall. We spent about 5-10 minutes admiring the falls and taking photos before moving on.

Once you get back to the bridge previously mentioned above, follow the path across the bridge and a slight climb up the rocks. After about 5 minutes or so, there is a trail marker that has a few different signage arrows on it (featured below) – this is where you will take the highly recommended 30 minute round trip detour up to Sjónarsker. This lookout area provides incredible 360 degree views that simply cannot be captured within a photograph. Even the ones we took don’t give this attraction the justice it deserves. We could not be happier that we took this 0.2 km side trail.

After you walk down to where the you originally left the trail marker, walk towards the right (i.e. where then arrow points toward the Visitors Centre and not the way you originally came) to begin the loop back to the parking lot. Just follow the trail and it’s a pretty leisurely walk back! Along the way there is a fast flowing river and a log that you can walk out on, which actually is what leads up to the first waterfall you saw on this hike. You will cross a bridge and find yourself in familiar territory, completing the trail loop! And from here, you will just walk down the original trail that brought you up and take you back to the parking lot. This is an awesome place to visit and we feel it’s worth spending some quality time at.

Attraction Details

Sjónarsker is an attraction that is found within Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park). To find more information and featured images related to this attraction, please visit the page linked above!

When you arrive, there is a parking lot with plenty of room to park, but not as big as other popular attractions we visited. The parking lot is about a 5 minute walk from the visitors center, which provides information about Skaftafell’s history and also has a well-maintained bathroom area. Make sure to enter the visitor area to pay for parking! Remember to write down or take a picture of your license plate number, since that is needed to identify your car and pay for parking.

As you leave the visitors center, walk to the right and follow the sidewalk to the trailhead – there are plenty of signs and it’s easy to find. About 15 minutes into the hike, you’ll spot your first waterfall that juts out through a cliff and cascades onto the rocks below. As you continue walking on the trail, there are signs that you follow up to the right to take you to the main attraction, Svartifoss Waterfall, which you will see about 40 minutes into the hike. You’ll know when you’re just about there when you reach a bridge and, instead of walking across initially, there is path up to the right that you’ll take to reach this majestic waterfall. We spent about 5-10 minutes admiring the falls and taking photos before moving on.

Once you get back to the bridge previously mentioned above, follow the path across the bridge and a slight climb up the rocks. After about 5 minutes or so, there is a trail marker that has a few different signage arrows on it (featured below) – this is where you will take the highly recommended 30 minute round trip detour up to Sjónarsker. This lookout area provides incredible 360 degree views that simply cannot be captured within a photograph. Even the ones we took don’t give this attraction the justice it deserves. We could not be happier that we took this 0.2 km side trail.

After you walk down to where the you originally left the trail marker, walk towards the right (i.e. where then arrow points toward the Visitors Centre and not the way you originally came) to begin the loop back to the parking lot. Just follow the trail and it’s a pretty leisurely walk back! Along the way there is a fast flowing river and a log that you can walk out on, which actually is what leads up to the first waterfall you saw on this hike. You will cross a bridge and find yourself in familiar territory, completing the trail loop! And from here, you will just walk down the original trail that brought you up and take you back to the parking lot. This is an awesome place to visit and we feel it’s worth spending some quality time at.

Featured Images

Sjónarsker Trail Marker
Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park) Sjónarsker Trail Sign
Sjónarsker
Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park) Sjónarsker Glacier Peak
Skaftafell (Vatnajokull National Park) Sjónarsker Peak

Featured Videos

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Sjónarsker is featured in the following itineraries:

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