There are an estimated 269 glaciers in Iceland of different shapes and sizes, covering 11% of the country with their icy mass. From the massive Vatnajökull glacier to the mystical Snæfellsjökull glacier, Iceland’s glaciers are a wonder to behold and experience up close on a glacier snowmobile tour, glacier hike, or glacier ice climbing tour. You can even venture inside Langjökull glacier’s manmade tunnel or the natural crystal caves that form on a number of Iceland’s glacial tongues. Book a glacier tour through What’s On.
How to Get to Iceland's Glaciers
Iceland’s glaciers may be closer than you think. While Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, is a good day’s journey away, several glaciers are a comfortable day trip from Reykjavík, allowing you to get out onto the ice for your adventure, but return to the comfort of your accommodations in the same day. Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest ice cap, is conveniently located near the Golden Circle. Several tour providers can either pick you up in Reykjavík and bring you to the glacier, or else offer pick up somewhere along the Golden Circle. Gullfoss café is a popular meeting spot for snowmobile glacier tours, and is just a 2-hour drive away from the capital. Other glaciers close to Reykjavík are Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjalljökull. Sólheimajökull is also a popular Icelandic glacier near Reykjavík, but it is technically a branch of the larger Mýrdalsjökull. but Tours to these glaciers, including ice cave tours, glacier walks, and snowmobile tours, can either offer pick up in Reykjavík at your hotel or a meeting place in Reykjavík. Some other tours also meet in Selfoss, a town on the south coast of Iceland, about an hour’s drive from Reykjavík.
Other glaciers are a bit further away from the capital region. Many glacier hikes and ice cave tours take place in Skaftafell, a part of the Vatnajökull National Park. Many larger glacier also have separately named branches. Vatnajökull, for instance, has an arm called Svínafellsjökull, which is also a very popular destination for glacier tours in Iceland. Jökulsárlon, the glacial lagoon, is also by Vatnajökull on the south coast of Iceland, about a 5-hour drive from Reykjavík. If you have questions about accommodations on your tour, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us! Jökulsárlon is also where the famous “Diamond Beach” of Iceland can be found, a beach where fragments of icebergs have washed up, glittering like jewels!
Glacier Hike Tours in Iceland
The Best Glacier Activities and Tours
So… what can you actually do on a glacier in Iceland? There’s a lot of great ways to experience this country’s many ice caps, but first of all, it’s worth saying that glaciers are the domain of expert guides! Under no circumstances should you explore a glacier by yourself. Glaciers are covered with hidden cracks and crevasses that are constantly shifting, and years of experience and the proper gear are needing to enjoy them safely and comfortably.
There are plenty of ways to keep busy on Iceland’s ice caps. With the expert guides we partner with, there are also a variety of adventure levels for your personal fitness and comfort levels too. Anyone, including the whole family, can enjoy a 1-hour glacier walk, but the more adventurous may be interested in something longer, or even ice climbing. Many ice cave tours are also suitable for the entire family. Snowmobiling also comes in many options that can be tailored to your desired experience. Some might want to putter around for an hour on one of Iceland’s glaciers, just to say that they’ve done it! But for more experience snowmobile drivers, there are also all-day long private tours where you won’t be held back as much as in a larger group tour.
Snowmobile Tours on Iceland’s Glaciers
Vatnajökull: Europe's Largest Ice Cap
Situated in South East Iceland, this massive ice cap is the second largest in Europe and covers approximately 8% of Iceland’s land area. Beneath the ice cap sits several volcanoes, and the glacier — which is surrounded by many smaller glaciers — overlooks the beautiful Jökulsárlón lagoon. This natural marvel did not actually begin to form until the 1950s, but it has become one of the most popular must-see tourist destinations in Iceland. Several guided tours are available to hike different parts of Vatnajökull glacier.