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Glacier activities

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Glacier activities

A glacier trek can be an unforgettable adventure but one should be mindful of the precautions to be taken while traversing this unfamiliar terrain. No one should attempt venturing upon a glacier without being accompanied by an experienced glacier guide. Several firms in the area provide glacier tours, more detailed information may be found on the internet, at tourist information centers and hotels. In South Iceland it is possible to do glacier walks, ice climbing, snowmobiling, ice cave tours and super jeep tours.

Ice Climbing

It is unlikely that anyone will ever forget the first time they tried ice climbing. Agencies in many parts of the country offer ice-climbing tours.

Jeep- & Glacier Tours

Many travel agencies specialize in different kinds of jeep exhibitions. A jeep tour on a glacier with breathtaking views is an unforgettable experience.

Snowmobile & Snowcat Tours

Many agencies offer snowmobile or ATV tours. They are suitable for anyone looking for a little excitement and adventure while on vacation.

Dogsledge Tours

Riding and guiding a dog sled is an adventure not soon forgotten.

Glacier access

The glaciers are a part of the powerful mother nature, they can be dangerous. Reasonable equipment and clothes should be a first priority before entering the glaciers. We strongly recommend that vistors contact local guides or tour operators for information before visiting the glaciers.  

About 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers that contain the equivalent of twenty years of rainfall for the entire country. The main characteristic of glaciers is that they move. As a glacier glides forward at a rapid pace, its surface cracks. This happens because the top layers of ice (about 20-30 meters deep) are brittle, resulting in many deep cavities and fissures. At lower depths the ice is more solid. Changes in the atmosphere affect the glaciers’ expansion and movement. Iceland has many sub glacial volcanoes. The melting ice from an eruption can cause devastating floods. Approximately one third of Iceland’s excess water, which is returned to the sea, is glacial water. The glaciers are generally accessible barring restrictions due to current conditions.

Langjökull is the countries second largest glacier. Its accessibility is as good as it gets, however no one should attempt driving up a´glacier on their own. Many agencies offer tours where they take you up the glacier in specially equipped vehicles with exsperienced glacier guides. You can choose from jeep excursions, glacier hiking and snowmobiling. Gígjökull is a sliding glacier which moves north from Eyjafjallajökull. After the eruption in 2010 there is not much left of the glacier and no organized trips. It can however be admired from a distance on the way to Þórsmörk. Sólheimajökull is a part of Mýrdalsjökull. It´s very accessible and reachable by normal car. Right at the glaciers edge there is a parking lot. Hiking tours are available year round. The glacier is reasonably easy to cross and suitable for most people over the age of ten. Svínafellsjökull is part of Skaftafell national park, which is also the departure point. Trips are available year round and should suit people aged eight and up. Fjallsárjökull is part of Vatnajökull. Trips are available and the departure point is at Skaftafell national park. The bus drives to Fjallsárlón and from there you hike up to the glacier. Jökulsárlón is right by the main ring road (highway one) and there you will also find a service center which is open year round. Boat tours on the lagoon are available from March to November. Fláajökull is one of the gliding glaciers which move south from Vatnajökull. It´s possible to walk up to Fláajökull from highway one. The Hike starts at Brunnhólsá and is about 6 km long. It is also possible to shorten the trip by driving up to Sandatún and walk from there. Heinabergsjökull is part of Vatnajökull. The Heinaberg area is located between Höfn in Hornafjörður and Skaftafell national park and is easily accessible by car. There is a parking lot by the glacier. Another part of Vatnajökull is Hofsfellsjökull and it is steadily decreasing in size. The depression left behind has filled with water and will, in time, turn into a lake. Hofsfellsjökull is close to Höfn and can be reached by four wheel drive jeeps.

A glacier trek can be an unforgettable adventure but one should be mindful of the precautions to be taken while traversing this unfamiliar terrain. No one should attempt venturing upon a glacier without being accompanied by an experienced glacier guide. Several firms in the area provide glacier tours, more detailed information may be found on the internet, at tourist information centers and hotels.

South Iceland

Towns & Villages

The south of Iceland has several towns and villages, each with its own style, charm and points of interest. Selfoss is the largest town and has a variety of shops, services, many restaurants and fast food places. Most towns are close to the main route, making them accessible and enjoyable.

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Map Höfn Kirkjubæjarklaustur Vík Vestmannaeyjar Hvolsvöllur Flúðir Laugarvatn Reykholt Laugarás Borg Brautarholt Hveragerði Árnes Selfoss Hella Stokkseyri Eyrarbakki Þykkvibær Þórlákshöfn