Differences between the Skaftafell and the Sólheimajökull glacier, which one is better?

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If you travel to Iceland, the land of fire and ice, visiting Skaftafell Glacier and Sólheimajökull is a must. But, which are the differences? and which one is better?

We invite you to read on to find out the differences between the Skaftafell and the Sólheimajökull glacier, as well as which is the most recommended.

The famous Skaftafell glacier

Skaftafell Glacier is located in southeastern Iceland, near Europe’s largest iceberg, Vatnajökull, and the Svínafellsjökull Glacier.

If you hear around “Skaftafell National Park”, it means that inside you’ll find the impressive Skaftafell or Skaftafelljökull glacier that gives it its name.

Skaftafelljökull? Wasn’t it Skaftafell? That’s right, it can be called both ways, as the suffix -jökull means glacier in Icelandic. It seems that most of us are confused by the names of Icelandic glaciers 🙂 So, it is always useful to know some Icelandic words .

People on the Skaftafell trek

But not only that, Skaftafell National Park is full of protected landscapes. To enjoy these protected spots in the best way, you can do the Skaftafell hike, where you can experience the Skaftafell Glacier and Falljökull up close.

And you can also visit the Skaftafell Glacier.

In addition, you can visit Svartifoss waterfall or the black waterfall and Mount Kristínartindar. No one can deny that… There is nothing better than discovering Iceland!

Svartifoss Waterfall in Skaftafell

But what about Europe’s largest iceberg? This glacier gives its name to the Vatnajökull National Park (12,000 km2), which includes the Skaftafell and Svínafellsjökull glaciers , along with their natural sites.

Right now you may be a little confused, and understandably so. Here’s the situation: the Vatnajökull National Park is formed by the Skaftafell National Park, where the Skaftafell Glacier is located.

 Icebergs Vatnajökull National Park

If you already read our post about the effect of climate change on the glaciers of Iceland, you will already know that their dimensions are decreasing. However, Vatnajökull still occupies 8% of the country’s total area.It’s gigantic!

That’s why taking a Vatnajökull glacier hike is the perfect way to discover this wonder. In addition, you will find spectacular corners such as the Blue Ice Cave or the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You will be left with your mouth open!

Person in Blue Ice Cave

In short, the Skaftafell glacier offers you a dream landscape and a thousand activities that will make your trip a unique experience.

You can enjoy the landscapes of the largest glacier in Europe, the impressive waterfalls and hike on the Skaftafell glacier ice itself.

The amazing Solheimajökull glacier

Solheimajökull is actually part of a much larger iceberg, Mýrdalsjökull, southwest of Iceland. It can also be defined as a glacier tongue or the perfect place for ice climbing, hiking, and living in the moment to the fullest!

Mýrdalsjökull is the fourth largest glacier in Iceland and at its foot is the volcano Katla. Katla? Indeed, if you’ve already read our post on Iceland’s volcanoes you’ll already know some of its curiosities.

Solheimajökull glacier crevasse

Solheimajökull is special because of its huge ice cracks. In addition, it is easy to access, as it is very well connected to the ring road.

That’s why we recommend the climbing, the glacier trek in Sólheimajökull and complete the moment by visiting the waterfalls of the South Coast such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss in one day.

The Solheimajökull iceberg may not be the largest in Iceland but it has nothing to envy, as it is the favorite one of travelers for climbing and hiking through its immense ice crevasses.

Differences between Skaftafell and Sólheimajökull

The main difference between the two glaciers is the location and composition of the ice. These factors determine the type of activities that can be performed, the views of the landscape, and the possibility of visiting more or less magical surroundings.

Skaftafell Sólheimajökull
Location Southeast Southwest
Surroundings Vatnajökull Glacier and Svartifoss waterfall Mýrdalsjökull Glacier and Katla volcano
Physical characteristics Large surface Huge ice crevasses
Activities Hikes: Skaftafell, Vatnajökull, Blue Ice Cave, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Svartifoss waterfall Trekking along Sólheimajökull Glacier and the South Coast

Now that you know the differences between Skaftafell Glacier and Sólheimajökull, which one do you want to discover first?

Which one do you want to discover first?

We find it impossible to decide because both offer unbeatable views and different activities.


Lucia's life motto is "go with the flow". She lets herself go with the flow and joins any plan.

She has been lucky enough to travel to many different places, but her perfect trip is any place with sun, sand and sea. Indecisive by nature, she would not know how to choose between the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands in Spain, or between Mexican and Peruvian food. Maybe that's why she will never say no to a trip... She has to find answers!

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