The second-largest Icelandic glacier, Langjökull, is located in west Iceland. The name Langjökull means “long glacier”, and it is truly a long glacier. It is 50 km long and 20 km wide, occupying an area of 953 square kilometers. The mighty glacier depicts a dreamy snow-white canvas, travelers can’t get enough of it in one visit. Concealing at least two active volcanic systems, the glacier feeds Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir hot springs, Silfra Fissure, Hraunfossar waterfalls and offers some wonderful ice caves to explore. It is a must-visit for outdoor adventure lovers.
Langjökull lies almost parallel to the active volcanic zone of the country. The mighty glacier was formed when woolly mammoths roamed around this area. Its highest peak Péturshorn is 1355 meters high, making it on par with other Icelandic mountains such as Fjallkirkja and Þursaborg. Tucking away two volcanoes, the most famous of them, Hveravellir lies just east of the glacier. Langjökull used to have a glacier-brother named Okjokull. Unfortunately, Okjokull became the victim of global warming, and melted away in 2014.
Glacier Ice Caves
Iceland is endowed with some wonderful breath-taking landscapes, and Langjökull is a testimony of that. Explore the frozen world burrowed under ice and snow, their shapes and colors and sound of cracking ice, Langjökull glacier caves are just mesmerizing to see. The natural ice caves in Langjokull are constantly changing its appearance because glaciers are always slowly moving. When exploring the ice caves you need to book a guided tour with an glacier expert.
Man-Made Ice Tunnel
This is simply a must-see! The world’s largest man-made ice tunnel called “Into the Glacier” is nothing like you’ve seen before. The tunnel is 1260 meters above sea level that leads as deep as 500 meters into the Langjökull glacier. It is possible to join the tours into the glacier with a pick up from Reykjavik or as a self driving activity. The self driving tours start from Húsafell in west Iceland. You will be taken up to the glacier in a Monster Truck.
See the open ice-covered landscapes while riding a snowmobile or jeep. It is one of the favorite sports of adventurer souls. The glacier offers a perfect firm playground for all kinds of ice-adventures including skiing and hiking. All seasons are ideal to visit Langjökull, but it’s the winters when the glacier comes into its full glory. If you are lucky, you can also see the magical Northern Lights which occurs during the winter time in Iceland.
Monster Truck Tours
You can’t drive around the snow-filled surface of Langjökull by a regular vehicle. For that, you will need super trucks designed to run on the icy roads. Get your hair-rising on a Monster Truck tour.
Golden Circle and Langjökull
The iconic Golden Circle tour wouldn’t have existed if Langjökull wasn’t there. The glacier is an important water source for major attractions on the Golden circle. For instance, the powerful Gullfoss waterfall gets water from Hvítá Glacial River, and the river originates from Langjökull. The glacier also feeds the hot springs at the Great Geysir Geothermal Area.
How to reach Langjökull?
You can read Langjökull from different locations. The most popular destinations are from west Iceland or the Golden Circle. The west access is nearby Húsafell. It is easy to drive to Húsafell and you will spot some beautiful locations on the way, like Deildartunguhver and Hraunfossar. Krauma Geothermal Spa is also located close by and it is the perfect place to relax after a day full of activities on the glacier. Into the glacier ice cave tours depart from Húsafell or Klaki base camp. In winter you need special trucks to drive on the roads leading to Langjökull Glacier so you can meet up with your guide in Húsafell and you will be taken on a shuttle up to the glaciers base camp.
Langjokull is roughly 150 km away from Reykjavik. While driving from the capital, take Route 1 north to Borgarnes. Then take Route 50 and continue driving until you reach Route 518. Route 518 will lead you to Húsafell. This route is mostly available in winters. In summers, the mountainous Route 550 road becomes driveable. While driving on Route 518, make a right turn to Route 550 which will lead you to Klaki base camp.
It is also possible to reach Langjökull glacier from the east. The road to the eastern part of Langjökull (Golden Circle) is known as Kjölur measuring 168 km on a highland road. The unpaved road will require a special truck to get to your destination. The road is situated between two glaciers, Langjökull and Hofsjökull. If you are going on a tour on Langjökull, you will meet your glacier guide at Gullfoss waterfall and he will drive you up to the glacier in a specially modified truck. There are many guided tours that start from Gullfoss and will take you up to the glacier for some glacier hiking, ice caves or snowmobile adventures.