Solheimajokull Glacier has a wealth of dramatic ice formations including crevasses, rugged ridges and sinkholes. Sólheimajökull is a glacier tongue of Mýrdalsjökull – the 4th largest glacier in Iceland. Check out the mighty Katla Volcano lurking ominously beneath its ice cap!
The rugged and constantly changing face of the Sólheimajökull glacier will reveal to you the power of nature in a stark, rugged and totally phenomenal way. The marks of climate change can be seen very clearly here – the glacier has retreated about a kilometer over the last decade.
Many different glacier tongues stretch out from potent mother glacier Mýrdalsjökull including Kötlujökull (also known as Höfðabrekkujökull), Öldufellsjökull, Sandfellsjökull and last but not least the one we are covering, Sólheimajökull.
The river Jökulsá runs down from Sólheimajökull filled with glacial meltwater, which is rich with smelly sulphuric acid from the subglacial areas. The river has sometimes been called the “stinky river” due to this fact – But, this isn’t the only nicknamed known to the area.
In the 1930’s Sólheimajökull, which had up until then been growing, suddenly started retreating and today it is hard to pinpoint its exact size. This is why the glacier is often nicknamed “The Shrinking Glacier” and many travelers visit the glacier due to the fact that in a few centuries it might not still be there.
Sólheimajökull is one of the two glaciers closest to the capital, Langjökull being the other one. It is easily accessible and glacier tours are operated on the glacier all year round multiple times a day.
Why not try a Solheimajokull glacier hike with an experienced and qualified guide? Give yourself a once in a lifetime experience that will be a treasured memory for years to come. Learn so much more about the unique world of the glacier from our passionate specialist glacier guides.
When you visit the land of Ice and Fire, a glacier exploration is simply a must on your bucket list!
Sólheimajökull is 158 km south of Reykjavík. From an easterly direction, Höfn is 302 km, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is 233 km and the Skaftafell Visitor Center is 170 km.
GPS coordinates of Sólheimajökull: 63.5569° N, 19.3028° W
There are a few different ways of going about getting to the majestic Sólheimajökull. The two easiest are joining a tour that picks you up in Reykjavík and takes you there for an epic adventure on the glacier OR getting a rental car and driving there yourself.
Driving to Sólheimajökull is relatively easy, you follow Ring Road 1 along the South Coast, through the towns Hveragerði, Selfoss, Hella, and Hvolsvöllur. Continue past the water wonders of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss into the black beach paradise of Sólheimasandur.
There you will start to spot the first sighting of the mother glacier, Mýrdalsjökull and next up is the pleasant ice mass appearing in the deserted no man’s land of Mýrdalssandur beach.
Parking is free at the Sólheimajökull parking lot. Make sure to stay within the marked parking areas and be mindful of other drivers.
The weather would best be described in three sentences:
Surrounding the glacier is somewhat of a mountain fortress which gives shelter to the glacier and makes the weather milder than you would think but that is not to say that if the wind gets forceful it will reach the glacier.
When this happens it isn’t safe to walk the glacier and your tours will get rescheduled, notifying you via text. Still, most of the time the weather is great – after all, there is a reason for its name, Home to the Sun Glacier.
If you wish to follow the forecast yourself you can do so at the Icelandic weather forecast webpage.
Glaciers can be dangerous. As they rapidly glide forward, their surface cracks. This results in many constantly-changing deep crevasses and fissures. To top it off, Iceland has hundreds of small earthquakes every day and many subglacial volcanoes.
Regardless how experienced a hiker you are, no one should attempt to venture out on a glacier without being accompanied by a local glacier guide who knows the terrain and is properly trained and equipped for these special circumstances.
The difficulty of the hike depends on the walking distance and the route. If the main goal is simply to get to know the glacier, we recommend choosing a beginner-friendly hike. If you’re looking for a real adventure, you can try glacier hiking and ice climbing experience. In any case, it is not recommended to engage in the Sólheimajökull self-walk – an experienced glacier guide knows the way around the glacier and can ensure your safety at all times.
Hiking on a glacier with a big group might be a bit uncomfortable as not everyone has the same physical level of preparation. The guide needs to distribute his attention between more people, and the experience might not feel as intimate. That is why we organize our glacier hiking tours in small groups to ensure the best comfort for each participant. The ratio for our glacier hiking tour in Solheimajokull is 1:15 maximum.
The duration of the hike depends on the tour you choose. It also depends if you choose a tour option with a pick-up or not. For example, the Glacier Experience hike lasts for about 2.5 hours, but with a pickup and drop-off to Reykjavik, it takes the whole day, around 11-12 hours. Glacier Hike and Ice Climbing tour is around 4.5 hours, the same as the eco-friendly Glacier Adventure tour. Pick-up from Reykjavik usually is between 8-9 AM and drop-off around 7-8 PM.
There’s a beautiful glacier lagoon right next to the glacier where you might want to spend time before stepping onto the glacier. Your glacier guide will tell you all about how this lagoon was formed, and here you’ll get the best Solheimajokull viewpoint of the blue and black ice columns at the entrance of the glacier.
A short but stunning glacier hike on Sólheimajökull, the whole experience is only about 3 hours once you are there. Still, perfectly enough time to see the beauty of the glacier.
This tour is a fabulous combination of the South Coast, volcanic views and the famous Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfall with an added Glacier Experience walking tour. The perfect day on the South Coast!
One of our most popular tours of all time. Glacier hiking and ice climbing on the crystal blue Sólheimajökull. This is one for those looking to adventure – and get a good story (or an impressive photo ) to share back home!
With the retreating of the glacier came a glacier lagoon and yet another chance to go kayaking around icebergs. A fabulous 2.5-hour excursion to take. Only available as a meet on location tour.
This eco-friendly glacier tour will take you through the glacier history and let you experience a thrilling glacier hike altogether! Learn about melting glaciers and how it’s been affected by climate change firsthand in this glacier-friendly tour.
Besides Solheimajokull, other popular glaciers to visit are Vatnajökull, Langjökull, and Snæfellsjökull. Vatnajökull, covering the ground of 8100 sq m, is Europe’s biggest glacier, with numerous smaller glacier tongues to explore. Vatnajokull covers an astonishing 8 percent of the total country’s area. The most popular ways to explore this magnificent glacier are by glacier hiking and ice caving.
Langjökull is Iceland’s second-largest glacier located in the Western Highlands. The glacier isn’t that wide, but it is very long. Hence its name translates to “long glacier.” Langjokull is perfect for various adventure activities, such as snowmobiling, Super Jeep rides, and visiting mesmerizing ice caves!
Snæfellsjökull is a famous stratovolcano located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, West Iceland. This glacier-capped volcano became world-famous when author Jules Verne featured it in his novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Since then, the picturesque volcano has been featured in a number of movies and TV series. Explore Snaefellsjokull by glacier hiking or combine it with Northern Lights watching or sightseeing.
A glacier rightly sounds like a chilly place to hang out. Those doing a glacier walking and a glacier climbing tour will need to keep in mind that you get warm when you move. Dress in layers so you can easily take off and your waterproofs, a coat or a sweater.
The shoes you choose to wear need to have a sturdy and thick sole so you will not feel the crampons provided on the tour through the sole. Trust us, that isn’t comfortable!
The add-ons, what is left to wear are finger gloves, a hat or a buff and preferably warm socks with some ventilation.
You have the options at Vík the nearest town to Sólheimajökull Glacier:
There are plenty of hotel and accommodation options to choose from nearby. We’ve selected a few most worth looking at:
Guesthouse, B&B and Farmstays
Facilities include toilets, electricity, waste disposal for mobile homes,
Open: All year round
Facilities include toilets, showers, WIFI, running hot and cold water, dining facilities, washers, dryers, and electricity.
Open: 15th of May to 31st of October
Please note that wild camping is forbidden along the entire South Coast. Campers of all types are obliged to use designated campsites.
Combine a visit to Solheimajokull with other famous attractions. These are the main places of interest near Solheimajokull: