Top 5 Glacier Hiking Destinations in Iceland for A Captivating Adventure
Updated On: April 27, 2023
Iceland is one of the most bewitching countries in the world. It is the land of ice and fire for hosting some of the world’s most prominent glaciers and volcanoes. Hiking in such an icy land is a beguiling experience that you will never forget. The dominance of white and blue colors over the lands will stay in your memory for years to come.
Hiking is a favored activity by many tourists, but glacier hiking is a total different story. You can hike up several mountains and peaks around the world. However, glaciers are not everywhere to be found. Thus, it would be a great idea to get up close and personal with the Icelandic glaciers.
While glacier hiking is an accessible activity to many tourists, you should note that it still has some dangers. For that reason, it is forbidden to venture out on the glaciers without the guidance of highly-skilled professionals. That way, you will have a safe yet fun experience out on the icy landscapes.
This list will introduce you to the most prominent glacier hiking spots in Iceland. You will explore parts of the country you never knew existed. Not to mention that you will also be witnessing picturesque snowy landscapes.
Important Precautions to Take before Glacier Hiking
Needless to say, the significantly low temperatures call for extreme measures when it comes to attires. Iceland is known for its ever-changing weather, which makes the process a little more challenging. However, biting cold is inevitable in all conditions if you are glacier hiking in winter. Thus, here are some essentials to bring out with you before venturing onto the icy lands.
First of all, you need to be prepared with several layers of clothes, especially warm under-layers. They will play a vital role in banishing the frost and keep you quite warm. Secondly, put on ankle boots that are waterproof. Also, make sure you’re adding some thermal socks beneath to keep your toes snug.
When it comes to the top layers of clothes, you are going to need flexible pants that give some room for movement ranges. Don’t forget to top your upper layers with a waterproof jacket. Whether you’re visiting in winter or summer, Iceland has high chances of rainfall all year long.
Best 5 Glacier Hiking Destinations to Visit
Glacier hiking tours are very common among the locals; it’s also a great activity many tourists enjoy. Interestingly, most tour companies offer glacier hiking trips all year round, so you will always have the chance to take on this experience while in Iceland.
The following glacier hiking destinations offer different activities. Some of them are paired with ice caving if you are willing to take on the combo. On the other hand, some tours are all about glacier hiking. Thus, you get to choose whatever works best for you; you also pick up whether you want a long or a short tour.
Glacier hiking is suitable for total beginners as well as advanced hikers. You will always receive the needed guidance while on the tour.
Vatnajökull Glacier (Snæfellsjökull)
Vatnajökull Glacier is part of the Vatnajökull National Park that lies in the Northern Territory. It is deemed the largest glacier not only in Iceland but in all of Europe. The Vatnajökull Glacier is classified as an ice cap glacier; it has more water drain to the sea than other glaciers. Glacier hiking takes place in the Snæfellsjökull Glacier, which tongues out of the main Vatnajökull glacier.
Most of the hikes begin in Skaftafell, where it’s around a 4-hour drive away from Reykjavik. What makes this glacier, in particular, so unique is the dainty sights you see during the hikes. Volcanic ash layers and blue crystal ice are some of the exquisite elements that cover the region. It’s the hike of a lifetime, one you’ll never forget.
Sólheimajökull Glacier lies in the southern part of Iceland, neighboring the renowned waterfalls of Skógafoss. It sits between the volcanoes of Eyjafjallajökull and the Katla. The glacier is also only a two-hour drive from the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik. Its strategic location makes it very accessible to most visitors; thus, it’s also among the most popular glaciers.
Sólheimajökull is the most popular glacier hiking destination in Iceland. It is also part of the renowned Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Hiking in Sólheimajökull means observing the marvelous beauty of the Skógafoss Waterfalls and Vik Beach.
Most glaciers vent out of one another through channels that allow for glacier hiking spots. Skaftafellsjökull glacier stems out of the largest ice cap of Iceland, the Vatnajökull glacier. It also lies close to Skaftafell, from which most of the glacier hiking tours begin.
It is one of the most popular glacier hiking destinations as well, given the prominent features it offers. The region has splendid mountains surrounding it, creating a picturesque view that beautifully blends with the glacier. Moreover, vast plains of black sands, as well as sparkling ice chunks, are the main highlights of the Skaftafellsjökull glacier.
The Falljökull glacier is another small one that stems from the main Vatnajökull glacier, a small glacier located in Skaftafell, where most of the hiking tours start. It offers gentle glacier hiking tours while viewing scenes of icefall from below. The term “Falljökull” literally means the falling glacier, hence the occurrence of the actual ice falls.
It features dazzling highlights that make for a perfect glacier hiking tour. Beneath the glacier, you will find the black sands that span along the shores of the south coast. It’s a rare view that you can hardly find elsewhere. The blue and white coloring of the glacier creates a magnificent blend with the black sands below.
Langjökull glacier is the most popular and second-largest glacier in Iceland. It’s situated in the west of the Icelandic Highlands, where you can clearly view it from Haukadalur. You can reach this glacier through the Golden Circle, where you will be exploring a wide array of landmarks on the way.
Hiking, snowmobiling, and skiing are some of the most prominent activities to engage in. Since you pass through the Golden Circle Route, there will be so much to see and admire during your hiking journey. Taking a glacier hiking tour around this region will let you observe scenic icy landscapes.
Glacier hiking is a mystical experience in pure nature where you get to observe dazzling elements of nature. You should check this experience off your bucket list as soon as you step a foot onto the icy lands of Iceland.