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Discover the Best Glacier Hikes in Iceland

Climb these giants with professional guides for stunning views

|November 8, 2023
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Glacier hikes in Iceland offer a truly unique experience, supplying unusual landscapes and stunning views across icy terrain. Learn more about the best glacier hikes.


When it comes to glacier tours and hikes, there are numerous options to choose from. Deciding which to go for can be difficult, particularly when you’re not sure what you’re looking at. Make it the feature of your trip, or strap on your crampons as part of a combo tour. Why not combine it with ice climbing too? The options really are endless - and our range of glacier tours offers it all.

Man walking up a glacier with walking poles and crampons

What Glaciers Can You Hike on in Iceland?

The two main glaciers that tours embark on and around are Sólheimajökull and Vatnajökull. For those staying in Reykjavík, the most popular glacier to visit on a day tour is the former, just a couple of hours’ drive away from the capital. Its close proximity to some beautiful waterfalls makes it possible to stop off at some stunning locations before even reaching Sólheimajökull.

Vatnajökull lies about 4 hours from Reykjavík, with countless tongues and outlets. While it is further, the experience of walking on Europe’s largest glacier cannot be beaten. You can also combine your glacier hike with a number of other experiences, like kayaking in Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

Preparing for Your Glacier Hike

In terms of preparation, the guides will tell you everything you need to know before your glacier hike. However, it’s good to research what to wear to ensure you have the necessary items on standby. Your guides will carry all the required medical and safety equipment, which may include things like ice axes, to cut steps where necessary, and harnesses in case of emergency rescue during the glacier hike. In terms of equipment, you’ll be provided with the following specialized glacier gear:

  • Helmet: To protect your head from slips or falling debris while on the glacier.
  • Crampons: Sharp metal attachments to boots to provide grip on the ice. Our experienced guides will tell you how to walk in crampons.

When it comes to fitness, you might be surprised to learn that glacier hikes are not as strenuous as you may imagine. Steps are cut into steeper sections, so you’ll rarely be actually hiking. We offer glacier hikes of various levels of difficulty so you can choose the best option for you and your family. Our selection of tours caters to everyone, from the most adventurous to those just looking to tick something off their bucket lists.

Two people walking through ice walls on a glacier hike

What are the Best Glacier Hiking Tours?

Depending on your confidence, and how best these tours fit into your existing Iceland itineraries, the most suitable glacier hike will differ. Here are some of the most popular tours on offer from Arctic Adventures.

Glacier Experience

Sólheimajökull Glacier

For beginners or those who are a little nervous about glacier hiking in Iceland, Glacier Experience is the perfect day tour for you. Including optional pick-up from Reykjavík, this bestseller is an easy introduction to the world of Icelandic glaciers. As a small group experience, you’ll feel supported at all times by your experienced guide.

Group standing by Sólheimajökull glacier

Arctic Adventures guided glacier hike on Sólheimajökull glacier

Glacier Explorer

Falljökull Glacier

Now moving up a little in difficulty, the Glacier Explorer tour is a moderate hiking tour on the Falljökull Glacier, an outlet of the mighty Vatnajökull. Your knowledgeable guides will take you to the best places to see fascinating natural ice sculptures and features of the glacier. Learn about the retreat of Iceland’s glaciers too.

Blue Ice

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Blue Ice combines the wonder of a glacier hike with the adrenaline rush of ice climbing! Sólheimajökull is full of crevices, ridges and towering ice formations to explore, with all the necessary equipment provided, of course. Unique features like sinkholes, and black and blue ice make an ice climbing experience an incredible addition to your hike on the glacier.

Guided ice climbing tour on Sólheimajökull glacier

Blue Ice Cave & Glacier Hike

Vatnajökull Glacier

Another of our popular combination tours, the Blue Ice Cave & Glacier Hike tour also takes place on Europe’s largest glacier. The tour will take you far up the glacier to access the Blue Ice Cave, offering an incredible experience to stand inside beautiful Vatnajökull and witness crystal blue ice. Combining your hike with such a stunning endpoint can really enhance your day.

Interior of a dark blue ice cave with woman inside

Guided tour visiting blue ice cave in Vatnajökull glacier

Glacier Hike & Jökulsárlón Kayaking

Vatnajökull Glacier

The Glacier Hike & Kayaking package is a truly special way to spend a day in Iceland. With all equipment included, you can experience the Vatnajökull Glacier from all angles. Enjoy an exciting hike on the huge glacier and float among glistening icebergs, both offering fascinating natural ice formations.

You can also browse our multi-day Iceland tours to pack as much as you can into your time in Iceland. Many of our adventure tours include a day on Iceland’s glaciers, however you want to experience them.

 

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