BlogWaterfallsGuide to Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland
A stunning view of Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland illuminated by bright sunlight.

Guide to Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland

Svartifoss, or the 'Black Waterfall', is an exquisite natural wonder tucked away in the Vatnajökull National Park of Iceland. Known for its distinctive basalt columns and cascading water, this waterfall is a must-see for nature lovers and travelers.

Location of Svartifoss

Nestled in the southeastern region of Iceland, Svartifoss can be found near the small community of Skaftafell. The waterfall is easily accessible, being part of the national park, and provides a serene and picturesque escape from the bustle of city life.

The Black Waterfall

Svartifoss Waterfall is also known as “The Black Waterfall". Thanks to its impressive hexagonal black. basalt columns.

The columns were formed when volcanic eruptions rocked the country around one thousand years ago. The waterfall is narrow and stunning as it drops 65 feet or 20 meters from the black volcanic cliffs.

Svartifoss Waterfall, a natural wonder in Iceland, surrounded by basalt columns

These columns resemble pipe organs and have inspired Icelandic architects at the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík. The basalt columns on the side of the church hold a resemblance to Svartifoss Waterfall. The National Theatre of Iceland also features basalt rocks above its windows.

How To Get To Svartifoss Waterfall

Svartifoss Waterfall is located inside the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Which is a part of the massive Vatnajökull National Park. This national park is one of the most visited places in Iceland. So spend some time exploring the entire area!

Svartifoss Waterfall is easy to get to with your Iceland rental car. You will take Ring Road when coming from Reykjavik for 200 miles or about 4 and a half hours. Once you arrive you will see the Svartifoss Waterfall parking lot.

The road to the waterfall is paved and easily accessible by car. It is important to note that the road can be narrow in places.

Hiking to Svartifoss Waterfall

To find the waterfall, you have to take the hike from the parking lot. The Svartifoss hike is 1.5 miles or 2.5 kilometers. The trek is rated as moderate due to some of the sections being steep.

Hikers enjoying the scenic trail to Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland.

You can expect to hike for 40 minutes each way to complete your journey. But we would recommend blocking three to four hours to explore Svartifoss Waterfall. That way you can admire the stunning nature reserve for as long as you want.

You will be in a hiker's paradise when visiting Svartifoss waterfall! There are plenty of trails for you to explore here too. They will bring you to other Iceland waterfalls and even the infamous Skaftafellsjökull Glacier.

Is There A Fee to Visit Svartifoss Waterfall?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland. Fortunately, Iceland's National Parks are free of charge to visit. This means your entry is free!

It is important to give you a heads-up that there is a parking fee at Svartifoss Waterfall. The fee is $6 or 750 ISK as of 2023.

Best Time to Visit Svartifoss

Seasonal Differences at Svartifoss

Svartifoss offers different experiences throughout the year. During summer, you'll find a lush green landscape, while winter brings a snowy wonderland.

Suggested Times for the Best Views

For the best lighting and photography, the ideal times are early morning and late afternoon. The waterfall looks particularly enchanting during the golden hours.

Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland shines under the summer sun during July and August.

Best Vehicle For Exploring Svartifoss Waterfall

We have so many amazing vehicles for exploring Svartifoss Waterfall! But one of our top picks is the Suzuki Jimny.

A Suzuki Jimny rental car parked against the stunning backdrop of Iceland's natural beauty.

This 4x4 rental vehicle is infamous for exploring mountainous terrains with breathtaking landscapes. Thanks to its excellent off-road performance, it is rated as one of the best vehicles for outdoor lovers.

Renting a car is the easiest way to visit this gem in Iceland. We couldn’t think of a better vehicle to bring you to the Black Waterfall!

Our Fleet of Rental Vehicles

Don’t worry if the Suzuki Jimny doesn’t check all of our boxes. We have so many other types of rental cars for you to choose from.


Our small rental cars are making a great choice for couples or travelers coming to Iceland solo. We have so many different vehicles for you to choose from too. With each one providing comfort and reliability.

Read our guide on how you can choose the best standard rental car for your Iceland road trip.


If you are visiting Iceland with 3 or 4 people, renting a midsize vehicle may better suit you. These vehicles have more room for you and your group. You will also be able to fit more gear and luggage.

A white Renault Megane wagon rental car parked amidst the stunning landscapes of Iceland.

So pack your Midsize vehicle up and get ready to drive Ring Road or the Golden Circle. While also visiting all of the beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.


SUVs are our most popular type of rental vehicle. These vehicles can handle Iceland’s rough roads and unpredictable weather. You will also have plenty of room for your luggage, camping gear, and more.

Most SUVs fall into our 4X4 vehicle category. Which means you are legally allowed to drive Icealnd’s F-Roads. These roads are some of the country’s most beautiful and thrilling routes. One of our best Iceland travel tips is to drive as many of them as you can!

We have even written up a guide on why you should rent an SUV in Iceland.


Minivans are a fantastic option for those traveling with their entire family. Since they can fit anywhere from 7-9 people, you will have tons of room for everyone. This is also why Minivans are popular with group travel to Iceland.

These vehicles have been gaining popularity when renting in Iceland.

A white Mercedes Benz Vito rental car parked against the stunning landscapes of Iceland.


Svartifoss Waterfall, with its unique basalt columns and serene surroundings, is a spectacular site worth visiting. From the journey to the destination, every moment offers a glimpse into the magical landscapes of Iceland.


What is the height of Svartifoss Waterfall?

Svartifoss Waterfall is approximately 20 meters tall.

Is it possible to swim in the pool at the bottom of Svartifoss?

No, swimming is not allowed at Svartifoss to protect the natural environment.

Can I camp near Svartifoss?

Yes, there is a camping ground in the nearby Skaftafell area.

Is there an entrance fee for Svartifoss?

No, there is no entrance fee for the waterfall, but parking fees apply at the national park.

How much time should I allocate for the visit to Svartifoss?

On average, the round trip hike to Svartifoss and back takes about 2 hours, including time spent at the waterfall.

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