Where can I see glaciers in Iceland?
Glaciers cover large parts of Iceland and there are countless places where you can enjoy their beauty. The largest glacier in Iceland is Vatnajökull and it covers 8% of the whole country! Other notable glaciers are Mýrdalsjökull, Langjökull and Hofsjökull not to mention the infamous Eyjafjallajökull!
Always follow the local weather forecast closely if you plan on driving to a glacier in Iceland yourself and ask your car rental for advice on what kind of vehicle would suit your needs, especially if you plan to go into the highlands!
How can I best experience the glaciers in Iceland?
Quite a few tour operators offer hiking tours on top of glaciers which is perfect in good weather. If you are the hiking type we recommend this hiking and ice climbing tour on Sólheimajökull! You can read the full review we did of this tour right here. If stationed in Reykjavík this trip takes between 10-12 hours.
There are countless other possibilities of course, and one of our all time favourite way to experience the vastness of Icelandic glaciers is exploring them on a snow mobile! If you feel adventurous you can book a locally recommended tour here that includes a visit to an ice cave.
Can I go into a glacier?
If you are interested in the interior of glaciers a number of locally recommended tours offer a peek into a glacier! You can read this article or check out the video we made below to get a better sense of what it is like to visit the largest man made ice tunnel in the world! If you think it is an adventure you would want to experience you can book it following this link…
Another local tour we can recommend is the amazing Katla ice cave tour. Read all about our trip there in this review. If you think this trip would suit you better you can book it following this link…
What if the weather is too bad ?
Should the weather be too bad for a glacier tour there are some options to learn about glaciers by visiting the glacier exhibition at Wonders of Iceland in Perlan. It even features an indoor ice tunnel over 100m long!
The tunnel is in fact created from actual snow and made in the exact same way as glaciers are formed. They even included a few layers of volcanic ash so the inside of it would look identical to the inside of an actual glacier! You can read the review here and book your entrance right here.
What about glacier lagoons?
One of the biggest tourist attraction in Iceland is the famed Jökulsárlón (Glacier-river-lagoon) on the south east edge of Vatnajökull. This is where the glacier breaks up into enormous icebergs that float around in the lagoon before getting washed out to sea. You could drive there yourself (approx. 5 hours from Reykjavík) or use one of the recommended local tour operators for transport.
We recommend this tour from Reykjavík which includes a stop at famed Skógafoss waterfall as well as the nearby Diamond beach. You can read the review following this link if you want more details about the tour and you can book it right here if you think it suits your needs.
Another great way of experiencing the floating icebergs of the Glacier lagoon is observing them from a Kayak! You can read about our unforgettable experience here! If you think you would give it a go you can book your kayak tour here!
Other things to have in mind about Icelandic glaciers?
We do not recommend scaling or taking a hike onto a glacier without an experienced guide or without specialised equipment. Glaciers are a very difficult terrain to overcome without crampons. All the local tour operators we recommend will provide you with the right equipment to get the most out of your trip onto our icy glaciers.
The weather in Iceland can be very treacherous and especially so on glaciers. Low visibility can pose significant problems when ascending a glacier. You can quickly become disorientated by the “whiteness” of your surroundings and the danger of losing ones bearing is real and life threatening for people who are not familiar with their surroundings.
We also recommend a visit to the Safe Travel Iceland website for info on road conditions and alerts regarding travelling conditions on any given time.
Who are we?
We are your local experts from the Reykjavík Grapevine! We have been publishing travel articles and reviews since 2004. Our main goal is providing our readers with the best local recommendation available so they can enjoy Iceland as much as we enjoy it. Feel free to follow us on social media for Icelandic news, travel features and food reviews. You can also check out these articles on northern lights, whales and volcanos for advice and local recommendations!
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!