Did you know that glaciers cover 11 % of Iceland’s surface? I guess it’s safe to say that Iceland is called Iceland for a reason. Furthermore, the island happens to be home to the biggest glacier in Europe: the mighty Vatnajökull (“Water Glacier,” the third largest glacier in the world), which is so large that it’s visible from space. For those of you who prefer to take a closer look, however, there are plenty of Glacier Hiking tours offered in Iceland. 

Given the overwhelming number of different tours available, you may ask yourself: Which glacier should I visit? Do I need a rental car? Can I bring my kids along? Is Ice-climbing only for experienced mountaineers? 

In this article, we will help guide you through the plethora of Glacier Hiking tours in Iceland and find one that suits you perfectly. 

Glacier hiking
Photo: Berglind Jóhanns

If you don’t have a car:

South Coast and Glacier Hiking 

Given that the closest glacier is about a two hours’ drive from Reykjavík, and there is no public transportation to take you there, signing up for a full-day guided tour is the best thing to do if you don’t have a rental car.

It’s also a great choice because it offers an action-packed day along the South Coast, where you will not only get to hike on the blue ice of the Sólheimajökull glacier, watch the waves crash over the basalt rock formations at the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, marvel at the power of the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, and learn all about the fiery and destructive geology of Iceland at the Lava Volcano Centre. This tour suits everybody who is fit and healthy, and children from 10 years can join, as well. 

  • Level: Moderate
  • Minimum Age: 10 years
  • Duration: 11-12 hours 
  • On the Ice: 1.5 hours
  • Guide ratio: 12:1
  • Included: Glacier Hike with all safety gear, pick up and drop off in Reykjavík, admission to the Lava Centre exhibition
Book this tour here!
Glacier hiking
Photo: Berglind Jóhanns

If you have a rental car:

Glacier Discovery 

Glacier Discovery is the perfect glacier hiking tour for those who have rented a car but don’t want to drive too far from the capital region. Like the tours above, it takes place on the Sólheimajökull glacier (“home-of-the-sun-glacier”), but it is a meet-on-location tour: the point of departure being the parking lot by the foot of the glacier (about 2.5 hours from Reykjavík).

This glacier hike is safe and easy, and children from the age of eight years old are allowed to participate. If you are staying in Reykjavík, you can stop to see the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss on the way to the glacier, as well as the black sand beach Reynisfjara, which is just another 25-minute drive from the glacier. 

  • Level: Easy
  • Minimum Age: 8 years
  • Duration: 2 – 2,5 hours
  • On the ice: 1,5 hours
  • Guide ratio: >10:1
  • Included: Glacier gear and safety equipment
Book this tour here!
Glacier Hiking in Iceland – Everything You Need to Know

Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing

This tour is the perfect choice for thrill-seekers. I am not saying that a Glacier hike alone isn’t an adventure already, but if hanging off a wall of ice on a rope and two ice axes sounds appealing to you, this is the tour for you. Don’t worry though: It isn’t as dangerous as it sounds – it’s more of a fun introduction to ice climbing tailored to each participant’s fitness level.

With only six guests per guide, everybody’s safety is ensured, and, of course, all glacier gear and necessary glacier equipment are provided, as well. The Glacier Walk and Ice Climbing tour takes place on the Sólheimajökull glacier as well.

  • Level: Moderate
  • Minimum Age: 12 years
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • On the ice: 3 hours
  • Guide ratio: 6:1
  • Included: Glacier Hike and Introduction to Ice climbing with all safety gear
Book this tour here!

The Blue Ice Experience

For those who don’t mind a longer drive, or are driving the Ring Road around Iceland, this glacier hiking tour takes you to one of the most breathtaking outlet glaciers projecting from Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. The meeting location is the Skaftafell national park, which is a hiker’s paradise (approx. 5-hour drive from Reykjavík). 

  • Level: Easy
  • Minimum age: 8 years
  • Duration: 3 – 3.5 hours
  • On the Ice: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Guide ratio: >10:1
  • Included: Glacier gear and safety equipment
Book this tour here!
Glacier hiking in Iceland
Photo: Berglind Jóhanns

Please note: For all glacier hiking tours, appropriate dress and hiking boots are required. In most instances, rain gear and hiking boots can also be rented from the operator. As mentioned before, there are plenty of different tours on the market, and the purpose of this article is to provide a selection of tours, where hopefully everybody can find the one that suits them.

If you would like more options to choose from, or have any further questions, please contact us

What's On locations in downtown Reykjavík

  • Laugavegur 5 (Main Office)
  • Laugavegur 54 (Trip)

Opening Hours:

  • Main office (Laugavegur 5) - open every day 8:30 - 22:00
    Laugavegur 54 - Mon-Fri 9:00-18:00, Sat 9:00-14:00

Contact What's On

The official source for safe adventure in Iceland is safetravel. It’s located in our Laugavegur 54 location.