Vatnajökull National Park becomes the next Iceland UNESCO site
July 2019 sets a milestone as Vatnajökull National Park becomes the third site in Iceland to join the UNESCO World Heritage List. Along with Þingvellir National Park and the volcanic island of Surtsey, this latest addition now accounts for more than 14% of Iceland’s territory being a part of the World Heritage List.
What are the key facts about Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland?
- Vatnajökull National Park is 14,967 square kilometers (as of September 2021) of unique landscapes featuring breathtaking natural phenomena.
- Stretching from Iceland's southeastern shores, the national park reaches all the way to the north of the country.
- The vastness of the biggest ice cap in Iceland – Vatnajökull glacier – dominates the national park and offers unparalleled panoramas of glacier tongues, glacial lagoons and icy peaks. When the volcanoes hiding under the ice wake up, it’s a show of its own.
What can you do in Vatnajökull National Park?
Shaped by the mighty forces of the Icelandic nature, the area offers opportunities to explore the greatness of the Icelandic highlands, plus some of the newest lava formations, monumental mountains, thundering waterfalls and iconic canyons.
Icelandair's Vatnajökull plane
Locals and tourists have been attracted to this natural reserve throughout the years - it’s not a coincidence that one of our special livery aircraft depicts Vatnajökull glacier. In celebration of its 80th anniversary, Icelandair commissioned a flying glacier – a tribute to the beauty and grandeur of the Vatnajökull glacier. Using the technique of airbrushing it took a total of 24 days for a team of 25 to spraypaint by hand the image of the glacier, and the results are something to behold.
We at Icelandair applaud UNESCO's decision to recognize Vatnajökull National Park in an exclusive group of global cultural and natural heritage sites that are worthy of protection and preservation.
Banner image: Jökulsárlón. Photo by Giula Gartner
Upper image: Múlagljúfur. Photo by Björn Steinbekk
Lower image: Vatnajökull, special livery aircraft