Vatnajokull Glacier Hike
Take a walk on the largest icecap of the land of ice and fire with us in this tour of Vatnajokull glacier. Whisking you away from the flat land on to the top of the largest glacier in the whole of Europe, this glorious hiking tour of the Vatnajokull glacier could easily be the highlight of your vacation in the country. Away from the crowd of the city and the hordes of tourists, this exceptional tour will have you travel the depths of Vatnajokull glacier and will help add an unforgettable journey to your travels.
Know About the Tour
The first thing you will do is gear up for the hike. Apart from the windproof and waterproof jacket and pants, you will also need good insulated inner layers to keep yourself warm and a pair of sturdy hiking boots. Make sure that you bring a good pair with you. If you somehow forget to pack the right pair of boots, they are available for rent as well. When you are suited up with all the essential gear, you will be provided with the rest of the equipment that you will need for the hike. It includes crampons, harness, ice axes, and helmet.
You will take a super jeep ride to the foot of the glacier where you will wear the equipment and start the hike. An experienced tour guide will teach you how to attach crampons to your hiking boots so that you do not slip when walking on ice. Your guide will provide you with the necessary information about safety rules that you need to follow when hiking. Always make sure that you stay with the group and do not stray away.
Next comes exploring the mighty glacier. You will walk through beautiful ice sculptures that can be found in on the glacier, deep ridges, and crevasses. If the season allows, you may even get to see moulins. Moulins are like ice caves but in a vertical position. Moulins are made when the glacier’s ice melts and seeps into the cracks and then draining the melting water through a stream or a waterfall. Another formation you are likely to find is dirt cones. Dirt cone is formed when ashes from the volcanoes beneath the ice caps form a conical shape.
The tour not only brings you the natural beauty of the glacier but also helps you get to know some interesting facts and figures. The guide that will accompany you is well-read about the making and formation of the glacier and will continuously tell you some interesting tidbits about it.
This one-of-a-kind tour will have you come across everything that a magnificent glacier-like Vatnajokull has to offer. The best part is that the glacier and its formations keep changing so you are sure to encounter something or other different than what you have already seen in pictures or heard.
Things You Need to Take Care of
Hiking equipment will be provided by your tour guide before you start the tour but you need to make sure that you have dressed well for the occasion. Weather up on the glaciers can be cruel so wear proper 3 layers to keep yourself safe from the clod. Top of your insulated jacket with a wind sheeter jacket and similar pants. Hats and gloves are also recommended for the trip. You will also need a camera to commemorate your journey.
Hali will be your pick up point for this tour. Make sure that you reach the spot 20 minutes before your boarding time to initiate a smooth boarding process. You can also choose to come over to Hali a night before the tour and stay in any of the available accommodation options.
What to bring
Hiking boots – possible to rent on location
Waterproof clothing (second layer)
Warm clothing (first layer)
Hat & Glvoes
Good to know
- This tour is operated in small groups – maximum 12 persons on the tour.
- This tour doesn’t require prior experience. It is perfect for beginners as well as those who have been glacier hiking before.
- The duration of the tour is between 3,5 and 4 hours. You will be spending around 1,5 hours on the glacier.
- This tour is suitable for both single travelers, groups and families.
- Please be at our meeting point 20 minutes before departure time.
- The duration of the tour is 3 hours in total including gearing up and a bus ride to the glacier. You will be spending around 1,5 hours on the ice.
- You can find useful information about the weather at www.vedur.is and the road conditions at www.road.is
Most frequent questions and answers
The meeting point is at Hali Country Hotel – 15 minutes drive east from Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
We will see you at our meeting point 20 minutes before the departure time stated on your ticket. Please note that if you arrive after departure time, your place on the tour can’t be guaranteed or refunded.
Driving time from Reykjavik to the meeting point is around 5 hours in good road conditions.
Höfn is the closest village to Hali Coutnry Hotel. The driving time from Höfn to the meeting point of the tour is around 55 minutes in good road conditions.
If you are going on a morning tour, we recommend you to stay somewhere close to Hali – the meeting location for the tour.
Hali Country Hotel, Skyrhúsið Guesthouse & Gerði Guesthouse are all located few minutes from the meeting point and are great options.
We encourage bringing hiking boots for glacier tours. They have to hard on the sole and tight around the ankle. If you don’t have them, we have them for rent in all sizes in Skaftafell or Sólheimajökull. You can add them to your reservation at the time of booking or rent them on location pay with cash or card. The price is ISK 1,500 per pair. For ice climbing tours, boots are included in the price.
Weather in Iceland is very unpredictable. For tours during winter: warm clothing as first layer, waterproof jacket with a hoodie, hiking boots with ankle protection and hard sole, a hat and gloves are ideal. For tours during summer, bringing a light rain jacket or a soft shell with a hoodie is in most cases enough protection. Icelanders often say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes”. Jeans are not recommended for the tour as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when they get wet.
It rains a lot in Iceland, but we do not let rain stop us from going out and enjoy nature. All we need to do is choose our clothing wisely, which is why we recommend wearing waterproof clothing as the second layer. Of course, safety is our #1 priority. In case of extreme weather conditions, we will cancel our tours and do our best to reschedule. In these cases, you’ll receive a full refund.
This glacier hike is listed as moderate in difficulty. That means that it is suitable for those in good condition who are able to walk for about 4 hours at a low or moderate pace. Trails are generally in good condition, glacier travel partly on uneven ground.
Unfortunately this tour is only available as a self driving tour. We recommend that you rent a car in Reykjavik or at Keflavik airport and drive along the south coast to the glacier. There are many beautiful stops that you can take on the way.
If you are staying in Reykjavik and would like to join a glacier hike, you can also take a look at South Coast & Glacier Hike – a day tour from Reykjavik – or 2 & 3 day tours that will take you glacier hiking and sightseeing.